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EuroCham, MOLISA seek to simplify foreign work permit issuance
Phi Nhat 16:06, 2023/05/27
The suggested solutions, if implemented, would greatly help to achieve this objective.

A workshop brings together the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) and the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) to seek practical solutions to streamline the work permit process.

 Delegates attend the dialogue workshop. Photos: EuroCham

The event, held on May 26 in Ho Chi Minh City, brought together policymakers and business community members to provide input on the revision of Decree 152, which governs foreign work permits and significantly impacts the day-to-day operations of international companies operating in Vietnam.

Gabor Flui, Chairman of EuroCham, said that the increasingly cumbersome issuance of work permits for foreign workers unintentionally hinders foreign direct investment, impedes the transfer of valuable skills and knowledge, undermines competitiveness, and stifles innovation, all of which have far-reaching effects on the national economy.

"We are grateful for Minister Dung's statements at the Vietnam Business Forum and the Prime Minister's Foreign Direct Investment Conference, which shed light on the Ministry's urgent focus on amending Decree 152," he said.

MOLISA Minister Dung has emphasized the importance of this amendment and looks forward to its implementation by the end of the third quarter," he added.

Trung Khuat, Co-Chair of EuroCham's Human Resources & Training Sector Committee, acknowledged the government's efforts to streamline work permit applications. However, he highlighted the increased stringency and cumbersome procedures faced by foreign workers since the expiration of Resolution 105 on December 31, 2022.

Throughout the morning, Khuat and other business representatives presented a series of proposals to amend Decree 152. A major focus of these recommendations revolved around aligning the required education and work experience requirements with practical expectations, thereby promoting a more pragmatic approach to the application process.

Another critical concern raised by several stakeholders was the urgent need to remove the existing limit on the number of work permit renewals. Under current regulations, only one renewal is allowed, forcing applicants to restart the application process when that permit expires.

In addition to these proposals, the business leaders urged local departments of labor, invalids and social affairs to adopt an official and standardized application form. This measure would not only streamline the entire process but also ensure nationwide compliance with the legal provisions governing the issuance of work permits to foreign workers.

Vu Trong Binh, Director General of MOLISA's Department of Employment, presented a report on the amendment to Decree 152. He provided valuable insights into the Government's perspective and priorities regarding the amendment process and highlighted their constraints in drafting the amended decree.

 Delegates share opinions at the panel discussion on work permit framework. Photo: EuroCham

During the panel discussion on work permit challenges for foreign workers, representatives from MOLISA and local departments of labor, invalids and social affairs engaged in a constructive dialogue with members of the foreign business community in attendance.

In his closing remarks, EuroCham Vice Chairman Jean-Jacques Bouflet highlighted the commitment of foreign investors to legal compliance and training of Vietnamese personnel, in line with Vietnam's vision to develop a skilled workforce.

Recognizing the continued demand for foreign professionals in high-value and high-tech sectors, Bouflet stressed the importance of upholding obligations under free trade agreements to facilitate the employment of foreign workers.

He also highlighted specific provisions in the Labor Code that exempt certain cases from the work permit requirement.

However, Bouflet stressed the need for streamlined procedures and a flexible interpretation of regulations to expedite and simplify the work permit application process for foreigners.

He emphasized that the timely issuance of work permits is crucial in attracting substantial investment to Vietnam and maintaining its appeal as a desirable destination for foreign investors.

EuroCham and the business community eagerly await the release of the draft amended decree in July 2023, a date MoLISA emphasized several times during the dialogue, Bouflet said.

Binh reiterated MOLISA's intention to actively seek conceptual and policy input from the foreign business community once the draft is available.

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