While 2014 was a year of uncertainty around labour laws and immigration issues for foreign employees, it appears that 2015 may bring at least a little clarity. 

In 2014, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (the MOLISA) issued a circular which clarifies administrative procedures regarding the application for work visas for foreign nationals. It appears that these administrative procedures are already saving time and effort for both expatriate employees and their employers and we expect that to increase in 2015. 

In keeping with the same theme of providing clarity, the MOLISA also issued a circular on labour sub-lease services (e.g. dispatch workers). This circular provides detailed guidance on procedures and forms for obtaining licences, registration of changes as well as reporting obligations of labour sub-lease companies. This circular provides some very welcome clarity to the process, completes the legal system on labour sub-lease services in Vietnam and will hopefully help in boosting this sector for the upcoming time. 

A new Law on Social Insurance was also adopted on 20 November 2014, coming into effect on 1 January 2016. While this law focuses on reforming social insurance benefits of the employees, there are also some changes affecting the employers, including: (i) the increase of leave benefits of employees (e.g. a male employee is now entitled to at least 5 days off where his wife gives birth); and (ii) as from 1 January 2018, foreigners working in Vietnam and their employers will also be required to contribute to the social insurance funds to participate in the compulsory social insurance scheme in Vietnam. 

Currently, there are also certain draft implementing regulations being discussed (which deal with uncertainties under the Labour Code/the issued decrees such as form of labour contract, labour disciplinary, overtime, etc.). Overall, we are expecting a more productive year of 2015 from the labour authorities for the completion of the Vietnamese labour legal system.