It was May of this year when Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) released a new policy that sent fears and confusion across Vietnam’s expat community, and in June, we reported how it made them rethink their future in the country.
After almost two years of living and working in Ho Chi Minh City as an English teacher, Daryl Ann Balataria has made sure she’s secured all the necessary documents to legally stay in the country. To her, having a work permit as well as a Temporary Residence Card gives her peace of mind especially when several cities including HCMC carry out strict movement restrictions, crippling all offices from operating like usual.
“Luckily, I have never encountered difficulties in renewing my legal documents,” she shared. However, some aren’t as compliant as Daryl. “Some of my colleagues and friends are having those kinds of difficulties due to their visas that are not renewable (Tourist Visa) and also not having the degree in Education which keeps them from landing a legit teaching job here. Some of my friends are currently having business visas which are renewable but they need to pay a lot of money in extending their visa.”
While the reports in the previous months threatened the foreign labor force, some even left the country for good, Daryl still sees herself staying in Vietnam to continue doing what she loves most — teaching.
Fortunately, the recent developments from the Vietnamese government are giving a sense of hope not only to its people but also to the nonnatives.
Last week, the Vietnamese government issued Resolution No. 105/NQ-CP supporting enterprises, co-operatives, and household businesses in the midst of the global pandemic. The resolution was broken down into four specific solutions that will help facilitate recovery.
Support for workers
To aid the foreign groups in the country, favorable conditions for laborers and experts will be provided. The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs directed localities to relax a number of regulations and conditions on granting, extending and certifying permits for foreign workers to work in the country.
It basically means MOLISA will ease granting and extending the work permit regulations.
This also includes research on allowing enterprises and cooperatives to negotiate with employees to increase overtime hours in accordance with the pandemic situation and in line with regulations.
Vaccine for all
The second solution stated in the resolution is the State will still carry out quality inspections, license, preserve and organize free vaccinations for all.
To allocate COVID-19 vaccines to priority groups, and eventually achieve herd immunity, the authorities have tasked the Ministry of Health to issue a document this month guiding the purchase of biological products and testing equipment to perform self-testing; study and develop mechanisms; and facilitate and encourage enterprises to import vaccines.
To support remote medical examinations and treatment at 100% for the district and commune levels; as well as disseminate an electronic handbook to guide the response to the pandemic, the Ministry of Information and Communications will cooperate with the MoH, the Ministry of Public Security and other ministries, branches and localities.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Science and Technology shall coordinate with the MoH and other ministries and sectors to develop a mechanism to promote research, technology transfer, and production of vaccines and drugs to treat COVID-19 in the country.
To prevent and control the pandemic, while maintaining stable production and safety, localities will direct and create favorable conditions for enterprises, cooperatives and business households.
No supply disruption
Resolution No. 105/NQ-CP requires ensuring stable production, smooth, efficient and safe circulation of goods, and overcoming supply chain disruptions. This means that the Ministry of Transport will guide localities to uniformly implement the "green channel" of road and waterway transport nationwide, inter-provincially and inter-regionally to transport goods smoothly, quickly and conveniently.
To ensure the circulation of goods, especially essential goods, both for daily life and production, no additional conditions or permits will be required.
In the same way, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will support businesses, cooperatives and business households in promoting trade, connecting supply and demand, and not disrupting production.
To allow enterprises, cooperatives and business households to submit scanned copies with digital signatures of documents that must be submitted in paper copies, notarized or authenticated, according to regulations of ministries and agencies to solve bottlenecks when clearing goods, the Ministry of Finance will direct the General Department of Customs.
Localities together with enterprises must research and agree on plans and conditions for production and business organization to adapt to local pandemic developments.
Aid for businesses
The resolution also asks to cut costs, as well as remove financial difficulties and cash flow for businesses, co-operatives and business households.
The MOLISA shall urgently submit to authorities and the National Assembly Standing Committee policies related to the reduction of contributions or support from the balance of short-term social insurance funds to timely support period employees rights.
In addition to that, to support airlines while under strict travel restrictions as well as publicly and transparently listing all types of transport fares to avoid unreasonable price increases, the Ministry of Transport has to consider the airline service price policy.
Other ministries, such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the State Bank of Vietnam, will consider policies on exemption and reduction on taxes, fees, charges, and support electricity and water bills, extension of payment for natural resources exploitation, and low interest rates for businesses.