Looking for work in Vietnam when you are a foreigner

Vietnam has widespread corruption that hinders foreign investment. A number of consumer-related companies such as Coca-Cola and Nike however, have a firm footing in the country because of the potential of 80 million consumers. It is difficult for foreigners to find employment in Vietnam since the country has an unemployment rate of 20% and they prefer to hire locals.

In spite of this, the continues growth in the industrial sector and expansion of the service sector, provide career opportunities for foreigners who are highly skilled and qualified since their population is still under qualified for many of the new positions.

Which industries offer the most opportunities?
Most of the growth takes place in the construction, mining, manufacturing, water generating programs, engineering, tourism, and IT industries. The senior positions are open to foreigners in these sectors, while Vietnamese citizens fill the lower levels.

English teaching in Vietnam
If you have a Bachelor's degree and a TEFL qualification, you may find employment in Vietnam through one of the teaching recruitment programs. The ILA in Vietnam offers the widest range of English teaching positions. You can apply at ilavietnam.com. The minimum requirements vary according to student programs. They remunerate on a slide scale from 1-5 according to qualifications and experience. Teachers get 4 weeks paid annual leave and have medical insurance.

Job sources
The Nguoi Vet newspaper runs job advertisements on Thursdays in it's English edition. The Internet is a good source for executive positions. Non-governmental organizations run several types of development programs in the country. You can get more information through sites that link the different member groups such as http://www.interaction.org/ If you are not highly qualified in one of the growing industries, it will be difficult to find employment in Vietnam.

Requirements for foreigners who want to work in the country:

  • Prospective employees must be over 18 and able to perform the tasks as set out in the job description.
  • Foreigners must have a work permit.
  • The worker must have a clean record - no criminal charges.
  • Must be qualified and exhibit higher skills and more experience in the specific job than the Vietnamese citizens.

Working conditions
The Vietnam Labor Code, which was passed in June 1994, regulates employment in Vietnam. It was amended in 2002. According to the code the minimum wage for unskilled foreign labor is D626 000 a month. Foreigners who earn D8 million or more a month are subject to taxes ranging from 10 to 50%, depending on the total income. Workers are entitled to overtime when the normal working hours exceeds 48 hours a week. This doesn't apply to managerial and executive positions. Social insurance of 5% of the total salary is deducted every month where the employment contract exceeds three months.

A maximum of 3% of employees in any company are allowed to be foreigners. The total number of foreigners in any one company is limited to 50 workers. This limits the possibilities for employment in Vietnam for foreigners.