IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? A new work permit category in Ho Chi Minh City is available for managers, executive directors, experts and technical workers transferred to a Vietnamese office as an intra-company transferee, or ICT.

What does the change mean? The category eases several requirements compared with the regular ICT route, including counting prior work experience within the business group rather than just with the investor of the Vietnam-registered entity and accepting work-permit applications as intracompany transfers in such cases.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. Though there is no official notice of a new category, officials have confirmed its availability.
  • Visas/permits affected: ICT work permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign ICTs transferring to Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Impact on processing: ICTs may qualify for the new category rather than needing to apply for a local-hire work permit.
  • Business impact: The new category provides an avenue for multinational companies to transfer ICTs who would otherwise not qualify under the regular ICT route.

Background: The new classification applies to “managers, executive directors, experts and technical workers.” Among the eased requirements:

  • A local labor contract is not required.
  • Twelve months of experience is required, but tenure at entities within the business group is counted.
  • Although an assignment letter must be provided by the overseas entity listed in the Vietnamese license (the shareholder), the ICT may be transferred from another entity within the group of companies.
  • A working testimonial may come from an entity in the group of companies that is related to the entity listed on the Vietnamese license, but it must contain the same information as the assignment letter regarding the sending entity and the employee’s prior experience with the company.

Under the regular ICT route, the individual must have 12 months of experience with the sending entity, which must be the same entity that is listed on the Vietnamese business license; if an employee has worked for another entity within the same business group, it does not count toward the 12 months and the company must go through local-hire work permit procedures.

BAL Analysis: The new ICT category will benefit multinational companies transferring managers and other experts to Vietnam from a related overseas entity. However, it is currently only available in Ho Chi Minh City, and it is unclear whether other provinces will adopt it.