employing foreign workers in Vietnam

The article was updated in April 2023.

Most foreign companies registered in Vietnam also want to hire foreign nationals. In this article, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about employing foreign workers in Vietnam and explain how to find the best candidates for you.

Which positions can foreign workers hold in Vietnam?

There are no regulations that specify the ratio of foreign to local employees in companies registered in Vietnam. However, foreigners cannot hold every position.

You can recruit foreign residents only for positions that require specific skills that you cannot find locally. As the need for foreign employees has to be justified, you cannot bring the workforce from abroad for positions that can be filled by locals.

It is required to prove that the company made effort to hire Vietnamese but could not find a suitable one. So, hiring a skilled employee is necessary. For example, having most of your clients from abroad would already be a sufficient reason for hiring an English-speaking foreigner.

What are the requirements for employing foreign workers in Vietnam?

As already mentioned, you need a reason for hiring a foreign national instead of a local employee.

Hiring foreign workers is justified if the position has some specific requirements that you cannot find in Vietnam. For example, when you need someone with:

  • certain language proficiency
  • skills that are not available in Vietnam (for example, in the IT field)
  • international experience

The submission of a foreign labor use report and a reason for hiring are enough when you want to hire foreign employees. No extra documents are required. However, note that you need to submit the report 30 days before the expected start of employment.

Emerhub can assist you in preparing the necessary paperwork and legalizing the documents issued abroad. Contact us at [email protected].

What kind of visas and permits foreign workers need?

Foreign nationals must have a business visa or resident card and a work permit to work and stay legally in Vietnam.

Business Visa

Work Permit

Temporary Resident Card


Up to 12 months

24 months

24 months


Sponsor company

  • Higher education
  • Three years of work experience for an expat.
  • No experience is required for a director.
  • Employer in Vietnam

Possession of a work permit

Business visa

You don’t have to acquire a work permit if your employment in Vietnam lasts less than three months. In that case, holding a business visa is enough.

However, sponsorship or an invitation letter from a business partner in Vietnam is required. It is a convenient option for staying in Vietnam for a few months. Emerhub can issue the invitation letter.

Work permit

You have to apply for a work permit if your employment in Vietnam is longer than three months. To get a work permit, you are required to have higher education and sufficient work experience in your field.

For a managerial position (C Level and above): Your name must appear on the BRC or Company Charter. Work experience is not required.

For a non-managerial position (expat): You must have Bachelor’s Degree or higher and at least 3-year work experience that is aligned with the opening job you applied for.

Often the problem is that candidates don’t have the documentation to prove their previous work experience. Your former employer must confirm your employment. A suitable document would be an employment record book or an experience letter.

Emerhub can help you draft the experience letter for the previous employer to sign and stamp.

Work permits are issued for 24 months, as stated in Article 10, Decree 152/2020/ND-CP. After the expiration of your work permit, you can apply for the renewal.

Residence permit

The acquisition of a work permit allows you to apply for a temporary resident card. You can request it after receiving the work permit, and it is valid for the same duration as the work permit.

How long does it take to get a work permit in Vietnam?

employing foreign workers in vietnam

What documents are required to apply for a work permit?

To apply for a work permit in Vietnam, you need to prepare the following documents:

  • Application
  • Medical examination certificate (validation in 12 months and must be legalized)
  • Criminal record certificate for the past six months
  • Work experience certificate (must be legalized; this is possible to obtain in Vietnam, depending on the Embassy/Consulate of Vietnam in your country. Contact our local expert for your permit.)
  • Certified copy of your passport

Keep in mind that you need to legalize all the required certificates in the country of issuance. Emerhub can assist you in preparing the application and collecting the documents in Vietnam.

Employment taxes and tax reporting in Vietnam

Each foreign national you hire needs to be registered immediately. Also, the Labor Use report and Foreign Labor Use report must be submitted twice a year for 1st-half of the year (by 5th July) and the full year (by 5th January of the following year) 

For foreigners who are residents of Vietnam, the income tax is progressive and varies from 5% to 35%.

Labor taxes on foreign employees have been lower than on local workers since foreign employees only have only received health insurance. Local employees are also eligible for social and unemployment insurance.

In 2014, however, Vietnam passed the Social Insurance Law according to which employers could also begin making social insurance payments for foreign employees starting from January 2018.

According to Decree 143/2018/ND-CP, foreign employees shall pay 8% of their monthly salary to the retirement and survivorship fund every month effective from 1 January 2022.

Therefore, the current employment taxes on foreign employees are:

Paid by the employer

Deducted from salary

3% Health Insurance

17.5% Social Insurance

2% Trade Union Fee

1.5% Health Insurance

8% Social Insurance

If you would like to know more, read our previous article about the changes in payroll management in Vietnam.

Outsourcing payroll and HR administration

Emerging markets such as Vietnam have myriads of regulations which also tend to change often. To help you focus on your core business while being sure that everything regarding compliance is under control, Emerhub can help you handle the HR administration, including:

  • Preparing contracts
  • Calculating salaries and making payments
  • Tax reporting and compliance

Hiring employees in Vietnam using employer of record service

Emerhub also provides an opportunity to employ staff on our payroll. Employer of record (EOR) enables you to hire employees without setting up a company in Vietnam.

It is easier to do than to recruit yourself and no legal presence in Vietnam is required. It also saves you from having to comply with local employment regulations and from dealing with any employment matters.

The process of company registration in Vietnam usually takes 1-3 months. Using an employer of record is also a convenient way to legally enter the market before you have settled the documents and licenses of your new company.

Once your company is set up, you can either transfer the employees to your payroll or continue using our service.

How to recruit foreign workers in Vietnam?

Emerhub has over seven years of experience in the business. We have developed channels through which we have recruited many skilled candidates for positions from entry to senior levels.

We can help you find a qualified workforce or hire specialists who will be on our payroll. You don’t even have to worry about selecting suitable candidates – we will shortlist the applicants for you.

employing foreign workers in Vietnam

Need assistance in getting a visa or a work permit, or want to find qualified employees in Vietnam? Contact us by filling in the form below, and our consultants will help you with the process.

Key tips and resources on expanding your company to the largest emerging markets in Asia