In an attempt to curtail the abuse of the Vietnamese immigration laws and regulations, the Immigration authorities are tightening the monitoring of foreign nationals working in Vietnam and are more strictly enforcing penalties for noncompliance.

Who will be affected?
All foreign nationals intending to work beyond a 90-day period on a business visa in Vietnam.

According to Decree 11/2016/ND-CP, dated 03 Feb 2016, Section 2, Article 7, Clause 2, Point e, foreign workers exempt from obtaining a work permit – “The workers enter Vietnam to hold the position of experts, managers, chief executive officers or technicians for a period of under 30 days and an accumulated working period of under 90 days per year”.

Immigration authorities are tightening up on the current abuse of the law and actively checking that all foreign nationals working in Vietnam are on the correct visa. If the intention is to continue working in Vietnam, even though the foreigner holds a Business Visa, then the worker must apply for the correct work permit allowing for legal work activities. This application must be made within 3 months of entering Vietnam.


Foreign nationals found working in contravention of the law will be deported based on the following criteria:

  • The foreigner is currently working on an incorrect work permit in accordance with the law, except for such cases not subject to the issuance of work permit.
  • The foreigner is currently working on an expired work permit.


A fine shall be imposed on employers who fail to notify the local labour authorities that foreign nationals are working in their organization and/or cannot provide sufficient information to the authorities according to the provisions of the law.

A fine shall be imposed on employers who allow foreign nationals to work in their organization without the correct work permit or without an exception certificate or employing a foreign worker with an expired work permit.

Actions Required: 

Immigration Authorities are actively applying this regulation, especially in cities with known large foreign worker populations such as Hanoi , HCM , Bac Ninh, Ha Nam, Ha Tinh.

Foreign nationals, Human Resource Specialists and Mobility Managers must be aware of the increased focus and enforcement of the regulation and provide the required documents to process a work permit application timeously so as not to fall foul of the timelines.

Santa Fe Analysis:

Santa Fe can support the assessment and application process, including any legalization of documents, which can take up to 12 weeks to complete.

If you require specific guidance on a particular set of circumstances, please contact Santa Fe to ensure a smooth process. For more information or assistance please contact:

Trang Nguyen
Immigration Manager – Vietnam

Santa Fe Relocation
D: +84 (0) 3933 0065

Soumeya Messadi
Head of Immigration – APAC, Middle East & Africa
Santa Fe Relocation
D: +65 6398 3520 (5630)
M: +65 9169 6061


To read more immigration updates, click here

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Our immigration services manage thousands of visa applications every year for a multitude of international companies. Our experienced immigration experts and migration agents handle the immigration process for you and provide simple reporting and guidance on immigration matters.

About us

Santa Fe Relocation is a global mobility company specialising in managing and delivering high-quality relocation services worldwide. Our core competence is providing services that help corporations and their employees relocate and settle in a new country, assisting them with immigration, home and school searches, language and cultural training, property rentals, and domestic and international household goods shipments. We provide these services to a consistently high standard, locally and globally. A key strength is our ability to manage these services through our own operations around the world. Santa Fe Relocation Services is wholly owned by the Santa Fe Group, which is listed on NASDAQ in Copenhagen, Denmark. For more information, visit us at

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