[Vietnam] Pandemic entry procedures for foreign employees

6 AUG 2020

On March 22 Vietnam suspended the entry of all foreign visitors including those with visa exemption certificates in a bid to contain the?COVID-19?pandemic. Subsequently, it suspended all international flights by March 25, effectively locking out visitors and business professionals except for Vietnamese nationals returning on special repatriation flights.

Vietnam’s government, however, has allowed diplomats, officials, business experts, managers, highly skilled workers, and students to come to Vietnam provided they meet the necessary requirements. Vietnam Briefing breaks down the current entry procedures for foreign employees.

With Vietnam containing the pandemic better than most countries and recording zero deaths, the government has encouraged businesses to resume activities. While the entry ban on foreigners remains in effect the government has also asked the relevant authorities to facilitate the entry of investors, technical experts, high-skilled workers, managers, officials, and diplomats. Nevertheless, Vietnam remains closed to foreign tourists as of now. 

Up until July, several foreign experts, managers, and students have been to enter from South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and so on via special flights. Most recently, the government also announced plans on resuming select international flights on a bilateral basis to countries within Asia such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, Laos, and Cambodia, though no official date has been given. 

Foreign employees that want to enter Vietnam should ensure they have a sponsor who can assist the employee in obtaining the necessary paperwork and communicate any changes to them. 

Since the authorities have not specified any time limit for processing, employers should obtain all the necessary approvals and documents as far ahead as possible so that any delays are limited. 

Guidance for employers 

We highlight some of the important steps that employers can undertake to facilitate the arrival of their foreign employees: 

  • The employer is required to submit a letter to the local provincial people’s committee with specific details about the employee job details as well as their travel plans; 
  • The local provincial people’s committee is then expected to make a decision and then submit the request to Vietnam’s immigration department; and 
  • If the application is approved, the employer would also need to submit a letter and necessary documents to the immigration department including the local provincial people’s committee decision on the approval. 

Mandatory quarantine for incoming travellers 

It is important to note that anyone entering Vietnam is subject to a 14-day quarantine. The quarantine is typically at a centralized government facility or a designated hotel. Testing for COVID-19 is done at least twice during the quarantine period. After serving the mandatory quarantine, the individuals may be under medical surveillance for another 14 days. 

The government is keen to allow foreigners for business purposes to enter the country. As Vietnam slowly begins to ease travel restrictions, officials in?Ho Chi Minh City?have also proposed 10 hotels including Le Meridian Saigon, Sheraton, and Norfolk to serve as paid isolation zones. 

It is important to note that due to the pandemic, this is the first time that such strict travel restrictions have come into play and as such, there is no precedence for similar restrictions. 

We recommend that investors and businesses use a professional firm to navigate the intricacies and administrative procedures to help secure an entry permit for their foreign employees. 

Besides, with several countries easing travel restrictions, regulations are likely to change quickly. We, therefore, recommend that businesses follow us and check this space for any updates or changes to the current regulations. 

(Links via original reporting)

This article was first published by Vietnam Briefing, which is produced by?Dezan Shira?& Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in?China,?Hong Kong,?VietnamSingaporeIndia, and Russia. Readers may write to info@dezshira.com?for more support. ?