Policies for foreigners come into effect in 2016 (Part 2)

A series of regulations on foreign workers, personal income tax exemptions for experts of UN, NGOs, number of apartments owned by foreigners, management of foreign construction contractors and foreign insurance business providing trans-border insurance services have taken into effect since the second half of 2016.

>>> Effective policies relating to foreign elements in 2016 (Part 1)

Regulations on foreign workers

Circular No. 40/2016/TT-BL?TBXH guiding the implementation of a number of articles of Decree No.11/2016/N?-CP detailing a number of articles of the labor code in respect of foreign workers in Viet Nam came into effect on December 12, 2016.

The Circular defines that the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs accepts the demand for using foreign laborers, identifies unlicensed foreign workers, reissues working licenses, revokes working licenses and proposes police deport unlicensed foreign laborers.

It handles these issues from the following agencies: State agencies, foreign non-governmental organizations, international organizations in Viet Nam, organizations specified in point a, b and c clause 1 Article 2 of the Decree No.55/2012/ND-CP, including public organizations under the ministries, ministerial-level agencies, organizations established by the Government and the PM, Ha Noi National University of Education and Viet Nam National University – Ho Chi Minh City, representative offices of foreign-invested projects or international organizations in Viet Nam and business associations established based on legal regulations.

The Circular stipulates that employers must send reports on demand for using foreign laborers to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs or Chairmen of provinces’ People’s Committees at least 30 days prior to the time of hiring foreign workers or changing the demand for hiring working laborers.

Personal income tax exemptions for experts of UN, NGOs

Circular No. 96/2016 / TT-BTC and Circular No. 97/2016 / TT-BTC in order to guide the procedure about personal income tax exemption for foreign experts in implementation of programs and aid projects of foreign Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Viet Nam and Vietnamese works at representative offices of international organizations of the United Nations (UN) in Viet Nam is valid from August 15, 2016.

Within 30 days of the foreign expert’s contract becoming valid, the governing body or the non-governmental aid abroad will provide exempt records to the Tax office.

Additionally, within 15 working days from the date of receipt of complete dossiers, the Tax office will issue a Confirmation of the personal income tax exemption for income from the implementation of programs and projects and non-governmental aid abroad.

Number of apartments owned by foreigners defined

Circular No.19/2016/TT-BXD guiding the implementation of the Housing Law and Decree No. 99/2015/ND-CP dated October 20, 2015 of the Government guiding the implementation of the 2014 Housing Law took effect from August 15, 2016.

Accordingly, the proportion of apartments owned by foreign organizations and individuals to the total number of apartments in all apartment buildings for sale or lease-purchase in a ward must not exceed 30%.

As for individual houses for sale or lease-purchase under commercial housing projects, the total foreign ownership must not exceed 10%.

As required by the Decree, in order to own property in Viet Nam, a foreigner must possess a valid visa stamped by the Vietnamese immigration authority.

Persons entitled to diplomatic privileges and immunities under the Ordinance on Privileges and Immunities for Diplomatic Representations, Foreign Consulates and Representative Offices of International Organizations in Viet Nam may not own apartments or individual houses in Viet Nam.

Foreign organizations and individuals doing business in Viet Nam may carry out property transactions if possessing valid investment registration certificates or relevant certificates granted by Vietnamese competent authorities.

Management of foreign construction contractors stipulated

Circular No.14/2016/TT-BXD on guiding procedures for the grant of contractor licenses and management of foreign construction contractors in Viet Nam became effective on August 15, 2016.

Foreign contractors are allowed to launch construction activities in Viet Nam only when they are granted with construction licenses by Vietnamese authorities.

Foreign contractors must follow Viet Nam’s laws and regulations and relevant Conventions Viet Nam has signed.

The granting of construction license will be realized based on Article No. 71 of Decree No. 59/2015/ND-CP dated June 18, 2015 of the Government on construction project management.

Foreign contractors are responsible for paying expenditures when receiving construction licenses or licenses to adjust construction activities.

Foreign contractors will have their construction licenses revoked in the cases that they do not surmount violations when asked by State management agencies or they are sanctioned for administrative violations more than twice.

Regulations on foreign insurance business providing trans-border insurance services

Decree No.73/2016/ND-CP guiding the implementation of the Vietnamese Law on Insurance defines that the objects of supplying insurance services and trans-border insurance brokers are foreign insurance businesses and insurance brokers located at nations signing international trade treaties with Viet Nam, including agreements on trans-border insurance service supply.

Accordingly, a foreign insurance business providing trans-border insurance services in Viet Nam is required to have a total asset worth US$2 billion.

The users of trans-border insurance service are enterprises which are established in Viet Nam with the foreign capital holdings more than 49% and foreigners.

The Decree stipulates that reinsurance services, international maritime insurance, international aviation insurance, international reinsurance brokers, consultancy service, calculation service, risk evaluation and compensation must be realized within the current legal regulations and rules.

Life insurance and health insurance are not applied in this case.

Foreign insurance businesses and brokers providing trans-border insurance service in Viet Nam have to meet demands on financial capacity and loss-absorbing capacity.

These businesses must be ranked at least “BBB” by the Standard & Poor’s or the Fitch or “B++” by the A.M.Best or the Moody’s.

The Decree is valid from July 1, 2016.


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