Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam, the Vietnamese Government has imposed numerous measures to combat the spread of the disease. In response to the significant increase of positive cases in Vietnam, the Government has recently provided immediate instructions and measures on COVID-19 prevention regarding visas, entry bans and work permits as follows.
This alert is considered up to date based on information and resources publicly available up to 26 March 2020. With the situation quickly evolving on a daily basis, the application of these measures may also change quickly. We therefore urge individuals and companies to remain up to date with our alerts, so to stay abreast of the latest changes and updates.
1. Entry Ban
According to Notification No. 118/TB-VPCP dated 21 March 2020 of the Government Office, from 12 a.m. on 22 March 2020, the Vietnamese Government has approved an entry ban on all foreign nationals, and all overseas Vietnamese and their dependents granted with visa exemption certificates.
Those entering Vietnam for diplomatic or official duty purposes, or under special circumstances such as foreign nationals attending or participating in major foreign affair activities or those being experts, business managers, high skilled workers, can be considered for visa issuance if deemed necessary. However, they must comply with compulsory medical examination and declaration procedures in designated areas and be properly quarantined at their residence unit as per regulations.
2. Temporary Suspension of New Work Permit Issuance
According to Resolution No. 28/ NQ-CP dated 10 March 2020 of the Government, Vietnamese Government has directed the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs ("MOLISA") to temporarily suspend the issuance of new work permits to foreign employees from countries or territories infected by COVID-19. Though there is no official decision or guidance from the MOLISA on this, based on our informal discussions with various officials in the MOLISA and Departments of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA) in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, they are in practice undertaking this direction from the Government.
3. Renewal of Visas / Work Permits in special cases
According to Notification No. 118/TB-VPCP dated 21 March 2020 of the Government Office, renewal of expiring visas or work permits may still continue for foreigners who must stay in Vietnam for work and are unable to return to their country, or for foreign experts, business managers, high skilled workers etc. who (i) have obtained a medical certificate which proves negative for COVID-19 issued by a competent authority of the host country, and (ii) have been accepted for entry into Vietnam and placed under quarantine as per regulations.
For work permit renewals, based on our informal discussions with various officials in the DOLISAs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, they are requiring foreign employees to prove no exit from Vietnam since the date of epidemic announcement by the Prime Minister, which is 01 February 2020. There has not been any official decision or guidance on this requirement, and thus its enforcement and the local application may vary.
We will keep you posted of any further updates if there are any directives regarding this matter henceforth. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.