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Here's what you need to bring to work in VN
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Ryno



Joined: 23 Jan 2005
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:42 am    Post subject: Here's what you need to bring to work in VN Reply with quote

What is needed are several items (which I'll explain below) in order to obtain a work permit. But please understand that this is not an individual requirement. It's not like the green card in America that foreign individuals carry which permits them to legally work anywhere. It's a requirement schools must have on file for every foreign teacher they employ. Therefore, every school you work for is required to have on file an original work permit for you. The bad part is that you'll have to do most of the foot work to get everything the school is required to have.

The criminal background check is only one part of what is needed for the work permit. It's not entirely true that not all schools require criminal background checks from their teachers. It's more true that many schools are not even obtaining the work permits required to legally employ their teachers which includes the criminal check. They've chosen to assume the risk of being fined for being caught employing without permits rather than going through the hassle of getting them done. Teachers are so scarce around here that many schools just don't want to drive them away by inconveniencing them with these issues. Then add to that the fact that permits aren't required for employment of less than three months and also that there is such a high turnover rate of teachers anyway that many times the permits prove to be unnecessary. Rest assured that you can start teaching legally without initially needing a permit.

Having said all of that, to be in legal compliance, there must be an original work permit on file at every school you work for. This means you'll need to bring as many notarized and authenticated copies of documents as the number of schools you plan to work for. There is some debate, however, as to whether or not the permits on file at schools must always be originals. My school has said that I can make a copy the work permit they have on file for me which other schools can use for their files if I were to gain other employment. But I'm not convinced that this is legal.

I went personally to the government labor office at 159 Pasteur Street, Dist 3, here in HCMC and verified that all schools I work for must have original work permits on file for me. This is the same office the HR at my school had to go to find out how to be in compliance with their work permits. I also bought a copy of the decree of detailed labor regulations and codes which was adopted in Hanoi on Sep 17, 2003. It's in both Vietnamese and English.

Here's exactly what's needed for work permits: completed work permit application; completed cirriculum vitae; completed local police record application and a completed Certification of Temporary Residence form (this involves the local police in whatever district you live in HCMC, not where you live overseas); three passport size color photos (without wearing glasses or a hat); medical exam certificate; copies of your degree and/or teaching certificate; properly authenticated criminal background check (I'll go into more detail about this below).

Don't panic about all the forms. Your school should provide all of these for you along with instructions. And there are places all around here to get passport size photos made. Even the medical exam is no big deal. You can get it done where you're at or over here. I recommend getting it done here for the convenience of obtaining certified copies any time without having to request them from overseas. I had mine done at a nice clean place here for $85 (you can find cheaper) and my school reimbursed me for $50 of it.

As far as notarizing your degree and/or certificate is concerned, I'll quote exactly what the regulation decrees say under Chapter 1, Article 5, Item (dd): "Copies of certificates of professional expertise and skills of the foreigner, comprising university graduation degree or equivalent higher certificate, or certificate of level of skills of the foreigner issued by the body authorized under the laws of such country." Therefore, according to the regulations, your degree and/or certificate only needs to be a copy and not notarized or certified in order for your school to obtain its permit. My school wanted notarized copies from me but I gave them plain copies right off the Xerox machine and they took them without uttering a peep. Don't be intimidated by schools as if they know so much and you know so little. They're fighting for table scraps over here during this teacher recession. Try just standing up to them for once. It seems the notarization is more of a school safeguard rather than a government requirement. But I would definitely advise getting them notarized anyway even if just for peace of mind, and you'll need to do it where you're at. I tried one time getting mine notarized at the US Embassy here in HCMC and they wouldn't do it. There are only certain kinds of documents they'll notarize and this isn't one of them. And by the way, the fee for it is about five-times what you'll pay for notaries there on the mainland.

The most difficult part of the whole process (only for Americans since the US has no labor agreement with VN) is the criminal background check. It must go through the proper chain of authentication in order for it to be valid here in VN. Some of the local requirements vary by state (some will fingerprint you) but typically, you'll just need to walk into your local police station and have them print a letter stating there's nothing incriminating against you on record. The issuing clerk must then sign this in front of a notary. I would get at least three of them so you'll have a supply for future use. Next, the Secretary of State's office in your state must authenticate it which consists of a sheet they attach to it. Then you should overnight it with return postage to the US Dept of State Authentications Office at 518 23rd St., N.W., SA-1 Columbia Plaza, Washington, DC 20530 [ph 202-647-5002]. There is a fee of $6.00 for each one. Then you must overnight it with return postage to either the Vietnamese Embassy at 1233 20th Street, Suite 400, NW, Washington, DC 20036 [ph 202-861-0694] or to the Vietnamese Consulate General at 1700 California Street - 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94109 [ph 415-922-1577] to be authenticated and also translated into Vietnamese. Their website is www.vietnamembassy-usa.org

A lot of this you just can't find out overseas unless someone already here tells you. I'm learning from my mistakes all the time. This info is accurate to the best of my knowledge.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1214

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for this comprehnsive and informative post. I'm sure plenty of people will appreciate it. As you said, it is difficult to find info about this madness from outside the country.

My question is: why bother? Why go through all the trouble and expense simply to teach in Vietnam? Clearly we're not wanted or welcome there.

Anyway, best of luck.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Ryno


I've just linked this thread directly

to The Master Index Thailand

category: SE ASIA


Your contribution will help others who follow.


Last edited by Kent F. Kruhoeffer on Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:18 pm; edited 2 times in total
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laconic



Joined: 23 May 2005
Posts: 198
Location: "When the Lord made me he made a ramblin man."

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 5:26 am    Post subject: Not Really Reply with quote

Ryno wrote in his first two paragraphs:

"What is needed are several items (which I'll explain below) in order to obtain a work permit. But please understand that this is not an individual requirement. It's not like the green card in America that foreign individuals carry which permits them to legally work anywhere. It's a requirement schools must have on file for every foreign teacher they employ. Therefore, every school you work for is required to have on file an original work permit for you. The bad part is that you'll have to do most of the foot work to get everything the school is required to have.

The criminal background check is only one part of what is needed for the work permit. It's not entirely true that not all schools require criminal background checks from their teachers. It's more true that many schools are not even obtaining the work permits required to legally employ their teachers which includes the criminal check. They've chosen to assume the risk of being fined for being caught employing without permits rather than going through the hassle of getting them done. Teachers are so scarce around here that many schools just don't want to drive them away by inconveniencing them with these issues. Then add to that the fact that permits aren't required for employment of less than three months and also that there is such a high turnover rate of teachers anyway that many times the permits prove to be unnecessary. Rest assured that you can start teaching legally without initially needing a permit."

While your posting is very exhaustive, it causes one to come away with the idea that you really have to go through all what you wrote to work in Vietnam.

The truth is you don't.

What is your guess as to the number of teachers who have a work permit in Saigon? I would say the number is statistically insignificant.

I would also say that the key here goes back to what you wrote above:

"It's a requirement schools must have on file for every foreign teacher they employ."

Do you know of a single teacher who has gotten into any kind of difficulty with the authorities for not having a work permit? I don't, and I don't know anyone else who does.

This is because this entire effort is directed at the schools, not the teachers.

More than anything else, it seems to be that certain schools may have been targeted and told to get their act together. That these same schools then have begun to request this and that and more of this and that because they had too much this and not enough that.

The truth is probably 99.99999999999% of the teachers are operating as they have always operated. Perhaps, as you wrote, there is more of a demand for some documents but again, all these "requirements" are based on the school you choose to apply. Some seem to have been given a complete pass in this whole situation.

If you apply to a school that wants a whole lot of this and too much of that and you feel it is not worth your time, money or energy, look for one that doesn't. They are around. In fact, there are more of them then there are of the ones that are trying very hard to cross every "t" and dot every "i."

The time to get concerned will be when we start hearing documented stories of individual teachers getting hauled in by the authorities for not having this or that. When and if this happens, then it will be time to take a look at your personal situation.

Also, there are other ways of legally working in Vietnam without going through the work permit hassle.

It all has to do with your visa status, your employer and taxes being paid on income earned.

I kid you not.
Wink
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spycatcher reincarnated



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laconic wrote:

Quote:
What is your guess as to the number of teachers who have a work permit in Saigon? I would say the number is statistically insignificant.


I often say that most of what is written in the papers about the EFL industry in Vietnam is absolute trash, however, I would like to point out that a recent article said that there were 80 teachers with work permits in HCM City.

I would imagine this statastic would not include teachers working at international schools.
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laconic



Joined: 23 May 2005
Posts: 198
Location: "When the Lord made me he made a ramblin man."

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 7:37 am    Post subject: statistics Reply with quote

spycatcher reincarnated wrote:
Laconic wrote:

Quote:
What is your guess as to the number of teachers who have a work permit in Saigon? I would say the number is statistically insignificant.


I often say that most of what is written in the papers about the EFL industry in Vietnam is absolute trash, however, I would like to point out that a recent article said that there were 80 teachers with work permits in HCM City.

I would imagine this statastic would not include teachers working at international schools.


Even if we accept the figure as being accurate, it is a statistically insignificant number when compared to all the teachers in Saigon. It is probably also composed of teachers who work at schools that require them to obtain such work permits.

Again, this "push" seems directed at the schools and not the teachers.

From what I have experienced, heard and seen, some schools are not pushing this at all and seem to have been given a pass in this entire business.

Have you heard of one foreign teacher who has gotten jammed up with the authorities over the work permit thing?
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spycatcher reincarnated



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed this is a low number.

I think that this statistic was referring to all foreigners who are teaching at schools that teach such subjects as: foreign languages and IT training. Schools that fall under the Giao duc khong thuong xuyen banner.

It is difficult to guess how many foreigners that would fall in to this category in HCM City. A slightly educated guess would be about 1,000.

So this would make it about 8%.

I agree that so far it has been pushed at the schools and not at the teachers.

Laconic wrote:

Quote:
Have you heard of one foreign teacher who has gotten jammed up with the authorities over the work permit thing?


I have not heard of any teacher that this has been an issue for unless the government had other issues with them and used this as an excuse to get at them.
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Snaff



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 142

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edit

Last edited by Snaff on Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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infohigh



Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 8:12 pm    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

This is the greatest post ever!!!! OKay, maybe I tend to hyperbole. But couldn't someone mark this a sticky note, and keep it at the top all the time? Or add it to a FAQ some (or MULTIPLE) places?

Thanks so much, RYNO.
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Mr. Kalgukshi
Mod Team
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 6340
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 10:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks! Reply with quote

infohigh wrote:
This is the greatest post ever!!!! OKay, maybe I tend to hyperbole. But couldn't someone mark this a sticky note, and keep it at the top all the time? Or add it to a FAQ some (or MULTIPLE) places?

Thanks so much, RYNO.


Done.

This Sticky is not locked so as to permit continued input by members regarding this topic.
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Ryno



Joined: 23 Jan 2005
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All of your points above were well taken with me. I recognize and agree that the majority of teachers here are working without permits and it's of no consequence to them at all. This is something I think most people getting ready to come over have not fully understood. From some of the posts I've read here and elsewhere, there almost seems to be a panic among them that if they fail to bring just one item then they'll be unemployable and shipped back home.

I was simply trying to contribute a small part in answering some of the questions raised by those overseas who are understandably confused. It's a big step to leave everything behind and to come over here. What makes it even more difficult, because of the lack of information available, is that many times they must reluctantly put their faith in what is said in some informal posts on forums. I had to do that at one time too.

Just to clarify, us teachers could care less that most schools aren't getting their required permits on file. As long as payday comes, we don't care. Not much of anything really needs to be brought in order to work here. It's just advisable that serious teachers who plan to stay awhile should come prepared with the basic documents needed for work permits that some of the more reputable schools, to their credit, are finally starting to obtain.
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laconic



Joined: 23 May 2005
Posts: 198
Location: "When the Lord made me he made a ramblin man."

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:09 am    Post subject: Exactly Reply with quote

Ryno wrote:
All of your points above were well taken with me. I recognize and agree that the majority of teachers here are working without permits and it's of no consequence to them at all. This is something I think most people getting ready to come over have not fully understood. From some of the posts I've read here and elsewhere, there almost seems to be a panic among them that if they fail to bring just one item then they'll be unemployable and shipped back home.

I was simply trying to contribute a small part in answering some of the questions raised by those overseas who are understandably confused. It's a big step to leave everything behind and to come over here. What makes it even more difficult, because of the lack of information available, is that many times they must reluctantly put their faith in what is said in some informal posts on forums. I had to do that at one time too.

Just to clarify, us teachers could care less that most schools aren't getting their required permits on file. As long as payday comes, we don't care. Not much of anything really needs to be brought in order to work here. It's just advisable that serious teachers who plan to stay awhile should come prepared with the basic documents needed for work permits that some of the more reputable schools, to their credit, are finally starting to obtain.


Exactly.

Where I took exception was with the title of the thread.

It could have been a little clearer that all of this is only necessary to work in Vietnam if one is seeking a work permit because you want to work for a school that is requiring one.

While "more reputable schools" is obviously a subjective term, it should be pointed out that some "more reputable schools" are not pushing this and don't seem the least concerned by it.

As for bringing documents with you, absolutely.

The problem with the present situation in Vietnam is that if you are here, it may almost be impossile to get everything you need in country. Be prepared for additional costs, effort and frustration working your way through the process.

What you wrote will go a long way in helping people to arrive prepared for what they will have to provide if they seek a work permit.

The truth is, though, this all seems to be very much "a work in progress" and no one seems to know what tomorrow (or the next five minutes) will bring in terms of "requirements."

Whatever the case, excellent job on your part, and I am certain I am not the only one who thinks so.Very Happy
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laconic



Joined: 23 May 2005
Posts: 198
Location: "When the Lord made me he made a ramblin man."

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:12 am    Post subject: Disagree Reply with quote

Snaff wrote:
sigmoid wrote:
My question is: why bother? Why go through all the trouble and expense simply to teach in Vietnam? Clearly we're not wanted or welcome there.


I do agree with Sigmoid on this point.

I am happy in Saigon, but I do agree with Sigmoid.

I'm not saying I've been around, but I've lived in 4 countries for a minimum of one year, and here one should know their place and expected role as a foreigner.

I'm still happy though, for now. But I do know my place. I am fine with it, for a couple of years.


In part, I disagree.

I believe we are wanted and are made to feel welcome here.

I know I am, and I don't believe my situation is all that unique.

As an example, I feel more wanted here for my professional skills than I ever was in Thailand. I am paid far better and I have a lot more freedom in how I go about my teaching with almost none of the requirements so prevalent for foreign teachers in Thai schools.

Yes, Vietnam is not perfect. More than likely, no place is.

All in all, though, from what I've seen in many years in many countries, Vietnam has a lot to offer to those professionals interested in staying long term.

This has been my experience. Again, I do not believe I am unique.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Just to clarify, us [sic] teachers could care less that most schools aren't getting their required permits on file. As long as payday comes, we don't care. Not much of anything really needs to be brought in order to work here.


But isn't it obvious that that is exactly what the authorities want teachers to do? By making the regulations and requirements unclear and very difficult to comply with, it is easy to predict that most teachers won't bother or won't be able to fufill them even if they understand them.

Thus, the authorities are in a position to declare anyone teaching 'illegally' in violation of the law and subject to a fine and/or deportation.

Pretty clever, eh? Smile
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laconic



Joined: 23 May 2005
Posts: 198
Location: "When the Lord made me he made a ramblin man."

PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:07 pm    Post subject: Afar Reply with quote

sigmoid wrote:
Quote:
Just to clarify, us [sic] teachers could care less that most schools aren't getting their required permits on file. As long as payday comes, we don't care. Not much of anything really needs to be brought in order to work here.


But isn't it obvious that that is exactly what the authorities want teachers to do? By making the regulations and requirements unclear and very difficult to comply with, it is easy to predict that most teachers won't bother or won't be able to fufill them even if they understand them.

Thus, the authorities are in a position to declare anyone teaching 'illegally' in violation of the law and subject to a fine and/or deportation.

Pretty clever, eh? Smile


Yes, and the Thais could start doing the same thing were they to enforce their laws to the extent you seem to think the Vietnamese should enforce theirs.

Also, there are different ways to be legal here and not have to worry about jumping through all the hoops outlined above.

Finally, if the focus here ever shifts from the schools to the teachers, you'll probably hear it here first.

You seem to be worried about the situation here from afar. Whereas, to those of us here, it rarely causes the loss of a night's sleep. Wink
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