Working in Vietnam



With a spike of unemployment, a foreigner is surely to be taken back in finding work in Vietnam. For those who have high hopes to quickly land a job in Vietnam, be prepared to be disappointed - one can get a job, but it will take time.

Vietnam employers require that potential foreigner employees must be over 18 and able to perform the tasks as set out in the job description, have secured a work permit, a spotless record (meaning no criminal offense), and can manifest exceptional skills and strong work experience in the specific job better than the Vietnamese citizens. Accordingly, a maximum of 3% of employees in any company are permitted to be foreigners.

Despite the challenges that face foreigners seeking work in Vietnam, the country's industrial sector is growing in leaps and bounds. More so, the service sectors are expanding as well to provide career opportunities for foreigners who are highly skilled and qualified.

"Getting the initial visa and health insurance were very straightforward. From what I could tell, people who worked for businesses that hire foreigners regularly had an easy time with work permits."- Sarah Keithly, Expat in Hanoi, Vietnam

English teaching in Vietnam

Teaching in English is a Midas touch in Vietnam. Expats who are a degree holders and possess TEFL qualifications can easily find work in major cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, and even in small towns that have universities (although the pay is lower).

The ILA in Vietnam offers the widest range of English teaching positions. Government-run universities are also constantly on the lookout for foreign teachers.

English teachers wage is around US$5 to US$10 per hour, but it's the benefits such as free housing and unlimited visa renewals that make the job more attractive. Although the remuneration in the private sector is better, it lack the benefits government-run schools offer.

Furthermore, newly arrived foreigners are assured of a job in private language centers and home tutoring. Private tutoring is around US$10 to US$20 per hour. Language teachers of Japanese, German, Spanish and Korean languages are also in demand.

One rewarding thing about being a teacher in Vietnam is that the students are earnest and eager to learn. Vietnamese students have a high regard for their teachers.

Working conditions

The Vietnam Labor Code regulates employment in the country. The code stipulates that 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 pay, after exceeding normal work of 48 hours a week (not applicable to managerial and executive positions). Social insurance of 5% of the total salary is deducted every month where the employment contract exceeds three months.

Vietnamese are early risers. Even offices, museums and shops open as early 7am and 8am and close between 4pm and 5pm. Surprisingly, lunch is taken very seriously, and it's the time of the day when everything shuts down (12noon-1:30pm).

Job sources

Looking for employment is a matter of asking around, as employment opportunities are seldom advertised in print media; it's only once a week (Thursday) that job advertisements in English are run in The Nguoi Vet newspaper.

Most still depend on the Internet sites like as the main job source, especially for executive positions.

Key Industries

Major key players are 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.

With the country coming on its feet again and gaining ground it might be long road, especially for foreigners, to get a job, but like the Vietnamese people's innate resilience good things come to those who wait.



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