Why are so many expats leaving Vietnam?

With the outbreak of the Corona pandemic around the beginning of 2020, Vietnam was forced to close its borders, along with strictly manage visa extension activities for foreign citizens within the country. Recently, when the regulations on the issuance of work permits are tightened, as well as the elimination of establishments providing fake documents, foreigners are not allowed to stay anymore and are leaving Vietnam massively.

Leaving Vietnam because of strict visa policy

There is a regulation on visas that you may already know: To have a long-term visa in Vietnam, a foreigner must be sponsored to make a work permit, based on a work visa. Otherwise, you should be marrying a Vietnamese to legally stay in Vietnam for a long while.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, authorities have been adjusting visa policies for foreigners staying in Vietnam. This is making it more difficult to work in Vietnam if you do not have a work visa or a sponsor for making the necessary documents. In other words, if you are still working in Vietnam with a tourist visa or an illegal work permit, you are making money illegally in Vietnam.

This law has been passed before to prohibit foreigners from working against the law and not paying personal taxes in Vietnam. Those who want to work in Vietnam should look for legitimate companies to sponsor their visas, make sure the employers are doing the paperwork legally, and not violating any regulations. Some individuals have been found to have falsified documents, simply because without a guarantor to do the legal paperwork, the amount of money a person has to spend on them would be quite considerable.

The government also recently issued Decree 152 (choose the English mode to read) on work permits to implement new legal provisions for foreigners who want to work in Vietnam.

As per Decree 152, a foreign expert is defined as:

  • Having a bachelor’s degree or higher and having at least three years of experience working in the relevant field to the job position that the foreign employee has been hired for;
  • Have at least five years of experience with a practice certificate relevant to the job that the foreign employee has been hired for;
  • Special cases that fall under the discretion of the Prime Minister as per the MoLISA.

Leaving due to the delays in Vaccination

Vietnam, to put it quite frankly, is still a developing country, so, understandably, still has many restrictions on social regimes. At a time when the Covid epidemic is still heavily affecting the economy, it is very necessary to conduct a vaccination program for all the citizens in the country. However, since Vietnam is still unable to produce vaccines, they have to be purchased from other countries. This also means that the vaccination has to be held back until the vaccine demand in developed countries is met before it can be delivered to the people in other countries.

In addition, foreigners will not be given priority over domestic people when the Vietnamese government approves the vaccination list, so the possibility of receiving a vaccine is still nowhere in sight for expats.

Long-term and unannounced isolation

What makes the expats desperate is that the long quarantine period, along with the closure of schools, many expats are teachers who have lost their jobs or suffered a sharp decrease in income. The ban on gatherings and social distancing regulations make expats frustrated because they can’t stand staying inside the 4 walls forever. This is the reason many expats choose to return to their homeland, besides objective factors from the area they live in Vietnam, or the fact that visa fees are becoming more and more expensive.

When looking for a job in Vietnam, you must make sure your employer can guarantee you a work permit and ideally a TRC valid for 2 years. Complying with the new Decree 152 means increased requirements for experience and paperwork that you need to complete for your job in Vietnam. Make sure you take the initiative in preparing everything.


Gracie Nguyen

To have good luck is a skill Not knowing how to seize opportunities is also a form of incompetence.

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To have good luck is a skill Not knowing how to seize opportunities is also a form of incompetence.