Government passes immigration law overhaul

21 Jul 14

VIET NAM

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Vietnam’s National Assembly has passed a new immigration law that takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.

What does the change mean? The law overhauls visa categories and validity periods, prohibits conversion of one visa type to another, and sets new entry and exit bans.

  • Implementation timeframe: Jan. 1, 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas and permits.
  • Who is affected: All foreign nationals.
  • Impact on processing times: Delays are likely after implementation during the transition to the new rules.
  • Business impact: The new law contains significant changes that impact foreign assignees.

Background: The new immigration law will restructure visas into 20 categories. The redefined foreign worker visa is valid for up to two years with temporary resident cards for the same period. Examples of specific visa categories include those that have been created for heads of representative offices, investors and foreign attorneys, and foreign nationals working with Vietnamese authorities. Visas for head of representative offices and temporary resident cards are proposed to be granted for up to three years. Visas and temporary residence cards for investors/foreign attorneys and foreign nationals working with Vietnamese authorities are proposed to be granted for up to five years.

An important change is that the new law prohibits foreign nationals from converting from one visa category to another while in Vietnam. The new law also adds several reasons why a foreign national will be denied entry or exit. For example, a person who has presented false information to obtain a permit or who has been deported within the previous three years will be denied entry. A person who has not met tax obligations or administrative sanctions will be denied exit for up to three years.

BAL Analysis: Companies and foreign assignees in Vietnam should prepare for the coming changes and submit applications for permits as soon as possible under existing law, wherever possible.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Vietnam. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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