Foreigners employed in Vietnam are required to hold a work permit but as of December 2009, thousands of foreigners were working in Ho Chi Minh City without one.
Foreigners in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. (Filed photo)
There are an estimated 18,000 expatriates currently working in HCMC of which an estimated 2,000 do not have permits, according to the city People’s Committee.
Experts say the actual number of foreigners working without a license is likely much higher.
More than 16,000 foreigners are required to have work permits to continue working in the city, mostly from China, follow by Japan and Korea. Some, however, have been invited to work in Vietnam by the government and thus do not require a license.
To date, city authorities have granted work permits to more than 13,000 foreigners.
In 2009, inspectors from the city Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs investigated 171 enterprises employing foreigners and found that most were doing so illegally.
The department subsequently penalized 14 of the businesses.
HCMC’s devision of the Immigration Department under the Ministry of Public Security said that many unskilled foreigners have entered the country as tourists and stayed on to work.
City police last year recorded more than 52 crimes involving 127 foreigners. Sixteen of these involved drug trafficking while 16 others were related to swindling, and 12 involved robberies.