OVERVIEW ON THE INVESTMENT ENVIRONMENT IN VIETNAM
All investment activities in Vietnam are regulated by the Law on Enterprise (LOE) passed by the National Assembly dated 29 November 2005 and the Law on Investment (LOI) passed by the National Assembly dated 29 November 2005. Both laws became effective as of 1 July 2006.
The LOE addresses the types of companies and business establishments permitted to operate in Vietnam, their governance, liability and way of operation.
The LOI includes provisions on investment activities, rights and obligations of investors, the registration and evaluation of investment projects, investment incentives, investment guarantees and State management of investment. This Law replaces the old Law on Foreign Investment in Vietnam and the Law on Encouragement in Domestic Investment and is commonly applicable to both foreign and domestic investors.
Vietnam has signed and acceded to various bilateral and multilateral arrangements on investment, such as agreements for the promotion and protection of investments with 60 countries and territories, the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA), and ASEAN Free Trade Agreements with China, Korea, Australia – New Zealand, India and Japan, the BTA with the United States of America containing an investment charter, the Convention on the Establishment of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and other related international investment agreements.
Where the international agreements contain provisions inconsistent with the provisions of the legal instruments on FDI, the provisions of those international agreements shall be applied.
Vietnam officially joined the WTO on 7 November 2006 and put its commitments into force from 11 January 2007.
The accession of Vietnam to WTO has brought a positive impact to Vietnam’s market and economy, including:
|•||The considerable reduction of import duties on goods for domestic production as well as for private and government consumption|
|•||The liberalization of Vietnam’s services market. The services sub-sectors that used to be closed or restricted to foreign investment (such as distribution, transport, telecommunication, finance, etc.) is largely liberalized from the year 2009|
CONSULT IN APPLICATION FOR IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES
To visit Vietnam, nationals of most countries require a visa which must be obtained in advance from an overseas Vietnamese embassy or consulate. Visas are only issued on entry to the country in exceptional circumstances, such as natural calamity or departure from a country that does not have a Vietnamese consulate or diplomatic representative. A business or tourist visa for Vietnam can be obtained on submission of the relevant application form, photographs, passport (valid for at least six months) and an invitation letter or other documents indicating the purpose of the visit.
Citizens of the following countries do not require a Vietnamese entry visa for stays of specified periods, ranging from 15 to 30 days: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden; Japan, Korea (South); and ASEAN member countries (including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). Moreover, those entering Vietnam with diplomatic, official and special passports enjoy entry visa exemption for up to 90 days in accordance with bilateral treaties (to date, Vietnam has signed 54 bilateral treaties on entry visa exemption).
Single or multiple-entry visas are available for business and tourist visas. After entering Vietnam, individuals may obtain an extension to their current visa, allowing a maximum stay in the country of twelve months, after which a new visa must be obtained. The fee
Source: figures from Vietnam National Administration of Tourism
Under Ministry of Foreign Affairs Decision No. 808/2005/QD-BNG dated 13 April 2005.
Under Ministry of Foreign Affairs Decision No. 09/2004/QD-BNG dated 30 June 2004.
Extracted from the Summary of entry visas exemption in Vietnam issued by the Ministry of
Under Article 3 of Government Decree No. 21/2001/ND-CP dated 28 May 2001.
for obtaining a new visa and a visa extension in Vietnam is from US$25 to US$100. The residence permit costs from US$60 to US$100. Business visas require the sponsorship of an organization operating in Vietnam. Single visas, valid for 15 days, can be granted to those persons applying entry without any invitation or sponsorship.
Foreign investors or their assistants who enter Vietnam to implement licensed investment projects may be granted multiple-entry visas for one year. These may be renewed for an additional one year period in accordance with the term of the contract. Residence permits are available to long-term expatriates working and living in Vietnam.
All foreigners working in Vietnam and enterprises and organizations in Vietnam which employ foreign employees for more than three (3) months are required by law to obtain a work permit. This is in accordance with their Vietnamese labor contract or assignment letter, except for the following: those working for less than three months, owner of a one member limited liability company or a member of a limited liability company with two or more members, on
the Board of Management, entering Vietnam to offer services, entering Vietnam to work/resolve an emergency technical or technologically complex situations and foreign lawyers.
To obtain a work permit, a work permit application form must be submitted with the required documents attached (as listed on the application form). Work permit application forms can be obtained from the local Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA), which issues the work permits.
The work permit is separate from and in addition to the need for a valid visa. The employer is required to apply for a work permit; however, the employee is to provide all the necessary personal paperwork required for the work permit application dossier.
Once issued, the work permit remains the property of the employer and must be returned to the Labor Department when an employee ceases employment with the employer.
Work permit can be extended for a maximum duration of thirty six months for each extension The application to file for extension must be lodged with DOLISA at least thirty days prior to expiry date.
Temporary Residence permit/cards (TRC) are required for long-term foreigners living in Vietnam. To obtain a TRC, an individual must apply to the Police Department and establish that he or she is currently employed in Vietnam by producing a work permit.
The period of TRC will be depended on the length of time on the work permit. The TRC replaces the need for a visa.
Under Article 9 of Government Decree No. 34/2008/ND-CP dated 25 March 2008.
LIVING IN VIETNAM
Rent for houses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City ordinarily range from US$1,500 to US$6,000 per month, with many of the larger houses featuring gardens and swimming pools. Houses can be either furnished or unfurnished.
In addition, many serviced apartments have been built in the last few years, resulting in good quality accommodation being available from between US$500 to US$5,000 per month, depending on location and service facilities.
In general, accommodation in Hanoi is slightly more expensive than in Ho Chi Minh City.
Six months’ rent in advance may be required for some accommodation, but advance rent of one to three months is more common. Many foreigners choose to employ household staff, such as maids, cooks, drivers, or guards. Wages range from US$100 to US$400 per month, depending on the services performed.
As of end of 2011, Vietnam had 57/63 provinces/cities under central management met standards for popularizing primary education within right age group and 63/63
provinces and cities met standards for popularizing junior secondary education. Schools meeting national standard in 2010-2011 school-year rose 20.6% for pre-schooling level; 11.5% for primary schooling level; 22.3% for junior secondary schooling level and 24.3% for senior secondary schooling level from last school-year. The number of teachers for 2010-2011 school-year was 830,900, rose by 12,000 teachers from last school-year. The rate of teachers meeting national standard was 97.6% for primary schooling level; 97.4% junior secondary schooling level and 99.0% for senior secondary schooling level.
About occupational training: As of end of 2011, Vietnam had 128 occupational colleges; 308 intermediate vocational schools; 908 vocational centers and over 1,000 other vocational establishments. This year’s newly recruited apprentice students were 1,860,000 times of persons rose 6.4% from last year, of which occupational colleges and intermediate vocational schools recruited 420,000 times of persons; vocational primary schools recruited 1,440,000 times of persons.
Several privately run international schools are located in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for foreign children. These schools educate children of all nationalities from pre-school to high school and offer examinations under the International Baccalaureate program. Standard Aptitude Tests are also available at certain schools. Each school establishes its own curriculum, but the Australian, American and French education systems appear to be the most common. Annual tuition at these schools ranges from US$5,000 to US$20,000.
As of 2010, Vietnam had 13,467 state owned hospitals and clinics with 246,300 patient beds and over 61,400 doctors.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are home to international medical facilities and foreign doctors operating in private practice, providing a range of services from general medical advice and medical testing, to gynecology, obstetrics and dentistry. The doctors are internationally trained and come from various countries.
Clinics can arrange medical evacuation, if required, at a cost of upwards of US$30,000. As a result, foreigners living or traveling in Vietnam are advised to buy medical and medical-evacuation insurance.
Leisure and tourism
Vietnamese culture and civilization have existed for more than 4,000 years. Traditional farming methods as well as traditional clothing can still be seen in the countryside; while Vietnam’s lively urban Street life remains one of its most characteristic features.
Tourism is a booming sector in the economy. Vietnam has over 9,350 hotels with around 184,830 rooms, including 25 five-star hotels, 85 four-star hotels, and 166 three-star hotels.
As in much of developing Asia, the influence of Western culture is growing. Western compact discs and DVDs are available in local stores, and shopping malls and supermarkets continue to emerge. Sports popular in more developed countries, such as golf and tennis, are being played here. Cycling is a highly visible recreational pastime.
The Mekong River which flows for approximately 4,023 kilometers (2,500 miles) down through the Himalaya Mountains and the country’s 2,897 kilometers (1,800 miles) coast offers beautiful beaches and recreational opportunities. Vietnam’s tourism infrastructure, including first-class hotels and resorts, has been extensively developed. Over the last few years, resorts have opened in Dalat, Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, Da Nang and Sapa and numerous first-class hotels have also opened in these cities.