Question 4: May representative offices of foreign traders in Vietnam recruit Vietnamese Employees by themselves to work for them? If they are not allowed to do this, which state agencies must they contact? Must representative offices of foreign traders pay recruitment fees to these state agencies? If these state agencies cannot recruit the qualified Employees, may representative offices recruit Employees by themselves? How long does it take for state agencies to recruit the qualified Employees? If representative offices are allowed to recruit Employees, must they periodically report this issue to those state agencies?

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May representative offices of foreign traders in Vietnam recruit Vietnamese Employees by themselves to work for them? If they are not allowed to do this, which state agencies must they contact? Must representative offices of foreign traders pay recruitment fees to these state agencies? As prescribed by law[1], representative offices of foreign traders in Vietnam (“RO“) are not allowed to recruit Vietnamese Employees by themselves, but have to work with competent organisations which will recruit and manage Vietnamese Employees to work for foreign organisations and individuals. Accordingly, the recruitment, recommendation and management of Vietnamese Employees who work for ROs will be done by organisations which are authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For instance, in Ho Chi Minh City, the organisation that is authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is One-Member Limited Liability Service Company to Foreign Missions (FOSCO). Recruitment fees for this service are not prescribed by law specifically. In practice, the service fee charged by FOSCO for the recruitment and recommendation of Vietnamese Employees to ROs is 20-30% of the first-month salary for each Employee that they can recruit. Please note that this fee can be changed by FOSCO from time to time.
  • If these state agencies cannot recruit the qualified Employees, may representative offices recruit Employees by themselves? How long does it take for state agencies to recruit qualified Employees? If representative offices are allowed to recruit Employees, must they periodically report this issue to those state agencies?
Since the recruitment of Vietnamese Employees to work for ROs must be done through an organisation authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROs must comply with the following procedure when recruiting Vietnamese Employees[2]:
  • Step 1: When ROs need to use Vietnamese Employees, they must send a written request for recruiting Vietnamese Employees to the organisation competent in recruiting and managing Vietnamese Employees. In the written request, they must specify the positions, quantity, qualifications, professional duties, foreign languages, and the time limit of recruitment; the rights, benefits and obligations of Vietnamese Employees and ROs during the employment and upon termination of each position;
  • Step 2A: Within 15 working days from the date of receipt of the written request, the competent organisation is responsible for recruiting and recommending Vietnamese Employees at the request of ROs;
  • Step 2B: Upon the expiry of this time limit, if the competent organisation cannot recruit and recommend Vietnamese Employees to ROs, then ROs may recruit Employees by themselves; and
  • Step 3: Within 7 working days of the signing date of LCs with Vietnamese Employees, ROs must send a written notice together with the copies of the signed LCs to the organisation competent in recruiting and managing Vietnamese Employees.
As such, ROs may recruit Vietnamese Employees by themselves provided that they have sent the written request (Step 1) but the organisation competent in recruiting and managing Vietnamese Employees cannot recruit or recommend any Employees within 15 working days after the date of receipt of the written request. Furthermore, ROs must submit reports in the form provided every 6 months and annually (by June 10 and December 10) on the recruitment and use of Vietnamese Employees to the organisation competent in recruiting and managing Vietnamese Employees[3]. Therefore, even where ROs are allowed to recruit Employees as mentioned in Step 2B, they are still obliged to make periodic reports on the recruitment and use of Vietnamese Employees to the organisation authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [1] Articles 4.1 (a) and 4.2 (a) Decree 75/2014/ND-CP dated 28/7/2014 [2] Article 6 Decree 75/2014/NĐ-CP dated 28/7/2014. [3] Article 8.3 Decree 75/2014/NĐ-CP and Article 5.1 (a) Circular 16/2015/TT-BLĐTBXH