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Vietnam is a country that attracts many foreigners due to the great economic growth is has been experiencing in recent years. It is a dream country for expatriates to find suitable English teaching jobs for living.
As the demands of studying English in Vietnam becomes higher, thousands of foreigners come here every year to be English teachers. In this article, we will tell you more about the difficulties in finding English teaching jobs in Vietnam and how to solve these problems, based on the experiences of many teachers who have been working in Vietnam’s education field.
1. Visa and Work-permit:
All of the visitors traveling to Vietnam for the first time will be required to have the correct types of visas before they arrive. And if you plan to get English teaching jobs in Vietnam in more than 3 months, you will need to have a work permit. This should ideally be applied 15 days by the employer with the provincial Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs before the foreign teacher commences their employment. Work permit processing times take up to 10 business days.
- You must own both Visa and Work-permit to be able to work legally. If you have broken any entry laws like overstaying previously, it is very unlikely you will ever get anything more than a tourist visa in the future.
- Your employer in Vietnam can and must apply for you before your arrival. If you can take a personal vacation as a tourist and be personally available to attend to the paperwork while on vacation, it can be very helpful.
- It is very troublesome to get these permits. So do try to get it done once and get it right the first time.
- They are expensive to get. So again, get it done right the first time.
- Because they are so difficult and expensive ($$$$) to get, foreigners should note that any contract less than 2 years is probably not worth considering to come all the way here in Vietnam.
2. Labour Contract
- Local labour laws consider all labour equal. Other than job specifications, social insurances and immigration requirements, foreigners are otherwise equally considered in the eyes of the Labour Code of Vietnam. There are English versions of it, so do spend time reading them.
- Given the complexity of immigration, work permits and costly efforts to get approval, you and your employer should enter into a contract no less than 2 years. Any lesser makes no sense for a career move from your home country, and take any risk with your new Vietnamese employer.
- Cultures, Local Practices and what you believe as “should, would or could” be are simply just your imagination unless you have them all written in both English and Vietnamese signed in equal authenticated copies. You should always negotiate terms of employment based on what you are giving up on your current employment and have those terms written in the contract. Never leave things in verbal mode. Shaking of hands in business does not mean agreement in Vietnam. “Ok” in Vietnam is never the same as an “Ok” in the rest of the world. Please forget about the secrecy of your contract. Nothing is that confidential in Vietnam at all. None whatsoever.
3. Check the background of your Employer
It is not an error. Check your Employer. Make sure the company is real, make sure the shareholders are real, make sure the address is real, make sure the company registration is real. Make sure the person talking to you is real.
- “Come on, it cannot be that bad.” Yes, it can be. It has happened badly before. You don’t get to read them openly online is due to the courtesy of expats to be politically correct, going with the flow with the local culture. So how to know?
- You can get into “closed” Facebook groups to find English teaching jobs by expats in Vietnam. Because in those closed groups, true useful info is shared without getting redacted. Open groups that you find commonly around in social media are often infiltrated by locals who need to whitewash their own tracks or libel people or slander company they dislike.
- You will want to get into a real closed group run by 100% expats. In these groups, you will find lists of employers/companies that are blacklisted for non-payment of salaries, defrauding expats, an obvious breach of business contracts and those that use your contracts/permits/visas against you as an expat. If you find your employer on that list for any reason at all, you should seriously reconsider the offer or demand more “cash” upfront terms as an expat employee to protect yourself.
- If you are an expat having more than 10 years of commercial experience, you will find discomfort to know that your employer (or the CEO/Gen Dir/MD/boss) is NOT the legal rep listed on the firm’s registration official papers. Many employers explain this practice as an excuse for “flexibility”. Flexible for what purpose? I leave it to your sensibility and wisdom to reach a logical conclusion the need for that kind of “flexibility”.
- Just remember, in Vietnam, the company legal rep is the recognized legal person to conduct transactions such as the signing of ALL contracts pertaining to the business. So as long as the signatory on the contract is not the legal rep on the VN business registration certificate, it should ring a loud alarm bell for you to relook into all the above points.
4. PAY / WAGES / SALARY & TAXES
It is fair to say everyone works for their wage and salaries. You must pay your taxes. It is common to have an employer do a withholding on your income tax due and settle it on your behalf. But I have seen the lack of experience in handling such matters by “HR managers” who are obviously none the wiser and could not be bothered. So please do know that there are things to note:
+ If your payment on the contract is stated as “Nett of Taxes & Social Insurances” then you can have that pay fully without further deductions. Your employer will deal with those tax payments and insurance contributions.
+ In the above event, YOU MUST ASK FOR THE ANNUAL FINALISATION RETURNS REPORT FOR YOUR INCOME TAXES. This is very important. Especially if you are at the end of your contract and returning home or even crossing to another employer. You should note that you may be asked to produce this document should your name be flagged up for tax problems at the customs & immigration both in Vn and your home country.
+ DOUBLE TAXATION filing, you will also need the above report to file in your home country to avoid a second round of tax on your income. It is still better to hold a paper official document that says you have been a compliant taxpayer than having none.
+ YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO A TAX REFUND. Laws and regulations in Vietnam change very often and it can happen in your favour depending on how transparent your employer is. If your employer withholds your tax payments at the highest tax brackets and contributes at the top tier of insurance contributions, then there is a chance of refund at finalization. Why ? this is due to a max cap of such contributions stated by law. And if there is such a refund, it will be done after the annual finalization tax report is completed.
+ You can don’t ask about this report and if allowed, this refund will be conveniently “overlooked” by employers or HR… if it does not get paid to you because you left the company then it has to go somewhere…that will be left to you to find out. Or not. It is your money after all.
+ Severance Benefit. YES, expats do get them. As long as the contract ends amicably without extension. You should be paid a severance allowance of 50% of your stated monthly salary for every 12 continuous months of work completed prior to departure. This is a mandated payment by law. It is still in force last be checked earlier this year. You can choose not to ask for it but it will still get paid out…to whom? It is still your money after all.
5. Where to apply for the right English Teaching jobs in Vietnam?
You do not have to go to Vietnam and apply directly before you start looking for your English teaching jobs. We recommend that you have a clear idea of your job before you go all the way there. To do this, you can check the prestigious job sites such as Vietnam Teaching Jobs. With many experiences in the educational industry, has provided thousands of teachers with a decent job. Moreover, is in partnership with many well-known and quality schools and English centers such as VUS, Apolla, ILA, Amslink, YOLA, EIV Education, etc.
You may also find English teaching offers on social networking sites like Facebook where you can join in groups dedicated to Vietnam. LinkedIn is also a professional social network that is also very useful for finding English teaching jobs.
Choosing Vietnam as a teaching place is a good decision for foreign teachers, not only because it is an easy-to-develop, low-challenging environment but also a place with many interesting things to explore such as literature, food diversification and diverse landscapes across the country.
If you are still wondering about a reliable address to apply for teaching, visit www.vietnamteachingjobs.com – a website specializes in providing English teaching jobs for foreign teachers in schools and prestigious centers in Vietnam. Or send information to email: firstname.lastname@example.org for the fastest support!