The procedures and regulations required to obtain a work permit in Vietnam contain so many stringent and unreasonable requirements that even the world renowned business magnates would not be able to obtain one, attendees complained at an economic forum on Thursday.
Fred Burke of the firm Baker & McKenzie told the Mid-term Vietnam Business Forum 2014 in Hanoi that one of his foreign employees has failed to get a work permit in Ho Chi Minh City, in spite of his three years of experience and an education from a top U.S. university.
As per the current regulation, foreign laborers are only granted a work permit if they have at least five years of work experience and four years of university education, he said.
Burke and many other attendees suggested that a worker should only meet one of these two requirements to be eligible to obtain a permit.
Even Steve Jobs or Bill Gates are not qualified for such requirements to legally work in Vietnam, Burke pointed out.
Another foreign businessman, Colin Blackwell, said a South Korean engineer whose role is crucial in the project could fail to get a work permit in Vietnam, simply because he has less than five years of experience.
The work permit applications of many foreign experts have been rejected by the Vietnamese side for the same reason, Blackwell said.
Other businesses suggested that foreigners who come to Vietnam to work as English teachers should have their internationally recognized language teaching certificates accepted, instead of the five years of experience and four years of university education.
Another issue that many multinational companies deem a shortcoming is that they are required to obtain work permits for their foreign employees, even when they only stay in Vietnam for a short time.
The foreign experts only stay in Vietnam for a couple of days or weeks to provide training or help the local workforce to check or install equipment, and it is unnecessary to ask them to follow complicated procedures to get a work permit.
The businesses suggest that foreign workers coming to Vietnam for a short term be exempt from applying for a work permit.
The Vietnam Business Forum is hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, functioning as a forum of ongoing policy dialogue between the Vietnamese government and the business community.