Key Insights into Employment in Vietnam What You Need to Know

The Secrets of Working in Vietnam: What You Need to Know Before You Go

Huy Tran

Vietnam, with its rapidly growing economy and rich cultural heritage, offers a unique and exciting opportunity for professionals seeking employment abroad. However, understanding the nuances of the Vietnamese job market and adapting to its cultural norms are essential for a successful career in this Southeast Asian nation.

Overview of Vietnam’s Job Market

Vietnam is a developing country with a large and young population, a fast-growing economy, and a strategic location in Southeast Asia. The country has been attracting foreign investment and trade, especially in the manufacturing sector, which accounts for about 40% of its GDP.

The labor market in Vietnam is expected to undergo significant changes in the future due to various factors, such as technological innovation, demographic transition, urbanization, environmental sustainability, and regional integration. These factors will create new opportunities and challenges for employers and workers alike.

  • Technological innovation: Vietnam has been investing heavily in developing its digital infrastructure and capabilities, such as e-commerce platforms, online education services, fintech solutions, and artificial intelligence applications. These innovations will create new jobs and industries that require high levels of skills and creativity.
  • Demographic transition: Vietnam has one of the youngest populations in the world, with a median age of 32 years. This means that there is a large potential for human capital development and economic growth as more people enter the labor force and acquire education and training.
  • Urbanization: Vietnam has been experiencing rapid urbanization since its independence in 1954. More than half of its population lives in urban areas now, which offer more opportunities for employment and income generation than rural areas.
  • Environmental sustainability: Vietnam has been facing increasing environmental challenges due to climate change impacts such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, droughts, floods, landslides, and air pollution. These challenges require more efficient use of natural resources and energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity.
  • Regional integration: Vietnam has been actively participating in regional cooperation initiatives such as ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). These initiatives aim to enhance trade liberalization, connectivity, infrastructure development, investment attraction, and people-to-people exchanges among member countries.

To prepare for these changes, Vietnam needs to invest more in human capital development, improve labor market institutions and regulations, promote social protection and inclusion, and foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

What You Need To Know Before Working In Vietnam

Work Permits and Visas

Foreigners seeking employment in Vietnam are required to obtain a work permit and the appropriate visa. Understanding the process is vital for expatriates planning to work in Vietnam.

Obtaining a Work Permit

To work in Vietnam legally, foreigners need to apply for a work permit from the Department of Labor, Invalid and Social Affairs of their province. A work permit is an official certificate that authorizes its holder to engage in employment and receive compensation from a company or entity in Vietnam. A foreigner cannot apply for a work permit by themselves, but must be sponsored by their employer or a service center in Vietnam.

Key Insights into Employment in Vietnam What You Need to Know

The eligibility criteria for work permits depend on the type of job position, the level of education, the experience, and the skills of the foreigner. For example, foreign experts need to have a bachelor’s degree or higher or equivalent and at least three years of experience working in their field; technical workers need to have at least one year of training and three years of experience in their field; etc.

The application process for work permits involves submitting an online evaluation form, providing supporting documents, paying the application fee (usually 1-2 million VND), attending an interview at the labor office or service center, receiving a decision on approval or rejection within 15 days.

Visa Requirements

To enter Vietnam as a foreign worker, foreigners need to apply for a long-term visa (L visa) that allows them to stay in Vietnam for more than 90 days. There are different types of L visas depending on the purpose and duration of stay. For example:

  • LD visa: This is for foreign employees who work as managers, executive directors, experts, or representatives of foreign companies or organizations operating in Vietnam. The validity period is usually one year with multiple entries.
  • DN visa: This is for personnel employed by Vietnamese companies who have been granted permission by the Ministry of Labor to bring foreign workers into Vietnam. The validity period is usually one year with multiple entries.
  • DH visa: This is for students who enroll in Vietnamese universities or colleges under an international agreement. The validity period is usually one year with multiple entries.
  • LV1-LV2 visa: This is for people who are operating for the Vietnamese government such as diplomats, consular officers, military personnel, etc. The validity period varies depending on the type of operation.
Key Insights into Employment in Vietnam What You Need to Know

The visa application procedures vary depending on where foreigners apply from. Generally speaking:

  • Foreigners applying from outside Vietnam need to submit their application at a Vietnamese embassy or consulate in their country with supporting documents such as passport copy, photos, invitation letter from employer or service center in Vietnam (if applicable), health certificate (if applicable), etc., paying the visa fee (usually 30 USD), attending an interview if required (if applicable), receiving a decision on approval or rejection within 15 days.
  • Foreigners applying from inside Vietnam need to submit their application at a local immigration office with supporting documents such as passport copy (if not renewed), photos (if not expired), invitation letter from employer or service center in Vietnam (if applicable), health certificate (if applicable), etc., paying the visa fee (usually 30 USD), receiving a decision on approval or rejection within 15 days.

Labor Laws and Regulations

Laws and Regulations in Vietnam play a crucial role in establishing and maintaining fair and equitable employment practices. These laws cover various aspects of employment, such as minimum wage requirements, working hour limits, holiday entitlements, and policies related to leave. It is vital for both employers and employees to have a good understanding of these regulations to ensure compliance and protect the rights and interests of all parties involved.

Labor Contract

A labor contract is a formal agreement between an employee and an employer that covers important aspects of their working relationship, such as job duties, salary, working conditions, and the rights and responsibilities of both parties. It serves as a legally binding document that ensures clarity and fairness in the employment arrangement.

Key Insights into Employment in Vietnam What You Need to Know

In Vietnam, it is required that a written labor contract be created in duplicate, with one copy for each party involved. However, it’s worth noting that a verbal labor contract can also be considered valid if it is applicable for a period of less than one month.

Some of the basic requirements that employers must follow when hiring employees in Vietnam are:

  • Employees must have a valid identity card or passport.
  • Employees must have a good health condition and no criminal record.
  • Employees must sign a written or electronic labor contract that specifies the scope of work, wages, job location, terms of the contract, occupational safety and hygiene conditions, social insurance contributions.
  • Employees must undergo a medical examination before starting work.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage paid to an employee. It is regarded as a basis to ensure that the salary of an employee who works for one hour does not lower than the minimum wage. In Vietnam, the minimum wage per hour varies depending on the region where the employee works.

According to Resolution No. 17/2022/UBTVQH156, which will expire on January 9th 2023, these are some examples of minimum wages per hour in different regions:

Region Minimum hourly wage
Region I VND 22,500/hour
Region II VND 20,000/hour
Region III VND 17,500/hour
Region IV VND 15,600/hour

Working Hours

The working hours are the time spent by an employee performing their duties under a labor contract. In Vietnam, there are some rules about working hours that employers and employees should follow:

  • Normal working hours cannot exceed eight hours per day or 48 hours per week.
  • Overtime hours cannot exceed 12 hours per day or 40 hours per month.
  • Night working hours are from 22:00 to 6:00.
  • Employees who work more than their normal working hours must be paid at least double their normal hourly wage.

Holidays and Leave

Holidays and leave are entitlements granted to employees by their employers based on their employment contracts or collective agreements.

In Vietnam, there are some public holidays that are observed by all workers regardless of their sector or occupation. These include:

Public Holiday Date
New Year Holiday January 1st (Monday)
Lunar New Year (Tet) Holidays February 10th (Thursday) to February 14th (Wednesday)
Hung Kings Commemoration Day April 18th (Thursday)
Victory Day April 30th (Tuesday)
International Labor Day May 1st (Wednesday)
National Day August 31st to September 3rd (Saturday to Tuesday)

In addition to public holidays, employees who have worked with an employer for over one year are entitled to fully paid annual leave as follows:

Type of Leave Number of Days
Normal Leave Up to four days per year
Sick Leave Up to three days per year

Finding Employment in Vietnam

Vietnam is a dynamic and growing economy that offers many opportunities for job seekers. However, finding a suitable job in Vietnam can be challenging, especially for foreigners who may face some legal and cultural barriers.

Therefore, it is important to have a strategic approach to navigate the job market in Vietnam. Here are some tips and resources to help you with your job search.

Job Search Strategies

Effective methods for job hunting

Key Insights into Employment in Vietnam What You Need to Know

To increase your chances of finding a good job in Vietnam, you need to have a clear idea of what kind of position you are looking for, what skills and qualifications you have, and what salary and benefits you expect. You also need to research the market demand and competition for your desired field and location. Some of the most common fields that offer jobs for foreigners in Vietnam are:

  • Education: Vietnam has a large population of young people who need quality education and training. There is a high demand for teachers, trainers, tutors, and language instructors in various levels and subjects.
  • Healthcare: Vietnam has a growing healthcare sector that needs professionals such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, therapists, and medical technicians.
  • IT: Vietnam has a booming IT industry that needs skilled developers, engineers, designers, analysts, testers, and project managers.
  • Tourism: Vietnam has a rich culture and natural beauty that attracts many tourists from around the world. There is a need for hospitality workers such as receptionists, guides, tour operators, translators, and customer service representatives.
  • Business: Vietnam has an emerging business sector that needs entrepreneurs, managers, marketers, accountants, lawyers, consultants, and salespeople.

Leveraging professional networks

Networking is one of the most effective ways to find jobs in Vietnam. By building relationships with people who work in your field or industry or who can refer you to potential employers or opportunities. You can use various platforms such as:

  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site in the world. You can create your profile showcase your skills and experience connect with other professionals join groups participate in discussions share content post jobs apply for jobs
  • Facebook: Facebook is the most popular social media platform in Vietnam. You can join groups related to your field or industry follow pages related to employers or opportunities message people directly send invitations request introductions

Networking Tips

Networking is one of the most effective ways to find jobs in Vietnam, as well as to learn more about the local culture and market. By building relationships with people who work in your field or industry, or who can refer you to potential employers or opportunities, you can increase your chances of success.

However, networking in Vietnam may require some different approaches and etiquette than in other countries. Here are some tips to help you network effectively in Vietnam:

  • Be respectful: Respect is very important in Vietnamese culture, especially when dealing with elders, superiors, or authorities. You should always greet them first, use formal titles, avoid direct eye contact, and bow slightly when shaking hands. You should also avoid criticizing, contradicting, or interrupting them in public, as this may cause them to lose face.
  • Be professional: Professionalism is also valued in Vietnamese business culture, especially in formal settings. You should dress appropriately, behave politely, communicate clearly, follow up promptly, and thank them sincerely. You should also avoid sensitive topics such as politics, religion, or personal matters, unless they initiate them.
  • Be genuine: Genuine interest and sincerity are also appreciated in Vietnamese culture, especially in informal settings. You should show interest in their culture, history, cuisine, and hobbies, ask questions, listen actively, share stories, and offer help. You should also avoid being too pushy, aggressive, or arrogant, as this may offend them.
  • Be flexible: Flexibility and adaptability are also essential in Vietnamese culture, especially in unpredictable situations. You should be open-minded, willing to learn, try new things, explore different options, and cope with changes. You should also avoid being too rigid, impatient, or demanding, as this may frustrate them.

Online Resources

In addition to networking offline you can also use online platforms and job portals to find jobs in Vietnam. Some of the most popular ones are:

  • GrabJobs: GrabJobs is one of the best job posting websites in Vietnam that connects employers with candidates across various categories such as full-time part-time remote tech management entry-level etc.
  • CareerBuilder: CareerBuilder is one of the leading global job boards that offers millions of jobs from thousands of companies worldwide including many based in Vietnam.
  • TopCV: TopCV is one of the largest online CV platforms that helps you create professional CVs, showcase your skills, experience achievements, apply for jobs, get feedback etc.
  • Indeed: Indeed is one of the most popular global job search engines that aggregates millions of jobs from thousands of sources including many based in Vietnam.
  • is one of the largest online classifieds sites in Vietnam that offers various categories such as jobs, real estate, cars services etc.
  • Vietnamworks: Vietnamworks is one of the largest online platforms for recruitment, employment, salary lookup and career advice in Vietnam.

Le & Tran Law: Your Trusted Advisor For Navigating Vietnam Employment

Employment law in Vietnam can be complex and challenging, especially for foreign employers and employees who may face some legal and cultural barriers. That is why you need a trusted advisor who can help you navigate the employment law landscape in Vietnam.

Le & Tran Law is a leading law firm in Vietnam that specializes in employment litigation, white-collar crimes, labor and employment and other corporate compliance services. We have a team of highly trained and experienced lawyers who can provide you with practical and effective solutions for your employment issues.

Le & Tran Law can assist you with various employment matters, such as:

  • Drafting, reviewing and negotiating labor contracts and collective bargaining agreements.
  • Advising on labor policies, procedures and regulations.
  • Representing and defending employers and employees in labor disputes, arbitration and litigation.
  • Advising on termination of employment, severance pay and job-loss allowance.
  • Advising on social insurance, health insurance and unemployment insurance.
  • And more.

If you are looking for a reliable and professional partner who can help you with your employment law needs in Vietnam, look no further than Le & Tran Law.

Contact us today at or call us at (+84 28) 36 22 77 29 to get started.

We look forward to hearing from you and working with you.