Companies complain about new academic requirements for foreign execs

By Vien Thong   April 24, 2021 | 05:30 am PT
Companies complain about new academic requirements for foreign execs
A Japanese expert (L) is seen at the construction site of the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien metro in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Many companies are unhappy with a new regulation that requires their foreign executives to have academic qualifications in their current line of work.

Since February 15, to get a work permit, they need to have at least a bachelor’s degree and three years of experience in their field or a practicing certificate and five years of experience.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Vietnam said these days a person could have a career unrelated to their education, and the regulation creates unnecessary difficulties by recognizing only overseas and not Vietnamese experience.

Human resource managers at foreign companies said the new regulation causes problems, with one of them citing the instance of a key chief officer who did not have a bachelor’s degree and so could not get a work permit.

There are also cases of expats in top positions in Vietnam for decades but unable to get that experience recognized by the law. They too are unable to get work permits.

At a recent meeting with the HCMC Department of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, members of the American Chamber of Commerce Vietnam said: "It is nearly impossible to have someone with the right education background for a certain job since a career path usually has shifts these days."

AmCham said its members are worried about the regulation, which could disrupt hiring, and called for equal recognition for work experience in Vietnam and abroad.

Most other foreign business groups and businesses also called for flexibility in approving educational backgrounds and experience for work permits.

Tran Le Thanh Truc of the city department said Vietnam wants more talented foreigners with great expertise and high academic levels.

"We will be flexible with the approval but it depends on the profile. We might not grant the permit right away if an applicant fails to meet the requirements, but we will send notifications to employers. They can then elaborate the reason for recruitment, and we will reconsider such cases."

According to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, there were around 68,500 foreign laborers in Vietnam in 2020.

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