A short guide to living and working in Vietnam for foreigners will be shared in this article. During a recent visit to Thailand, I made friends with some people from UK, US and other English speaking countries. When asked what is their next destination country, many of my new acquaintances said they would go to Vietnam. They even expressed their wish to stay for longer time, looking for a job, living and settling down in Vietnam.
However, some were concerned about basic issues that all foreigners who have just come to Vietnam face here. In order to help new comers have a good start, I am sharing a short guide to you about what needs to be done starting from the moment you land in my country. I hope that you will find this short guide to living and working in Vietnam useful.
How to look for a job in Vietnam
Living and working in Vietnam either long term or short term is very wonderful experience as all my international friends shared. If you have been offered a job in Vietnam for shorter or longer term, it is advised that you research the offer carefully. Contact the employer to make sure all employment contract terms are clear and that you agree with them before you decide to take the job.
Perhaps you want to first explore living and working in Vietnam before you make your decision, and get to know the people and culture of Vietnam. It is always wise to consider your budget. Make sure you have enough savings to cover the cost of living while waiting for response from potential employers.
Let’s look at some potential jobs that you can find in Vietnam without needing fluent Vietnamese language skill
- Teaching English (or some other language)
Teaching is the most popular job. It is very easy to find job advertisements for native English speaking teachers from quite a few well known foreign language centres. If this is what you aim to do, it is advised to take some basic teaching certificates such as TEFL. It is an advantage if you already have some teaching experience. If your CV is qualified, you will be invited for a video or face-to-face interview. Some language centres require a trial where you will participate in teaching at their centre under observation in order to evaluate your capacity and experience. It is also possible to apply for teaching positions at vocational schools, universities or international universities if you have a degree or certificate in teaching, languages, literature, economics, etc.
Teaching English online is a new kind of job. It is very flexible and not tied to a particular place or 9 to 5 daily schedule. You can register to become online English language teacher with a center or website that provides online courses. The disadvantage of this approach is that it does not require many skills and experience, thus tending to be lower paid and irregular work. Becoming a tutor of English is also possible and the pay is often better.
The demand for native English speaking teachers in Vietnam is always high. However, there have also been more and more immigrants who want to find such jobs in Vietnam. Therefore competition exists. Owning relevant certificates and experience is always beneficial
- Others jobs
Besides teaching work, there is also demand for highly skilled professionals in fields such as IT, design, advertisement, e-commerce, working for embassies, etc. Professional fitness and yoga trainers are also needed.
Where to look for jobs in Vietnam?
Looking for jobs in Vietnam is not too difficult if you invest your time to do some research. Facebook is one popular social media channel where you can find groups for expats, jobs, etc. And there are always many job ads. Teaching job is the easiest one to find.
Some Facebook Groups are Hanoi Foreigner Group, English teaching job and accommodation, Vietnam ESL teacher, English teacher in Hanoi, etc.
In order to find a job in Vietnam, it is also possible to consult a hiring agency, use recruitment websites, or find job advertisements in local newspapers. Sometimes friends or relatives can also help you to find a job.
- Vietnam Works: This is the best job site in Vietnam if you want to look for professional jobs.
- Job Street: This website covers internet recruitment not only in Vietnam but in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Career Link: Lots of jobs can also be found here.
- Lao Dong: This one is local newspaper.
- Career Jet: They also have job search option for Vietnam.
- Learn4Good: You can also try to search jobs here.
Vietnam Working Visa
In order to accept a job offer, it is compulsory to have a work permit. Work permit application needs to be done within 90 days upon arrival to Vietnam.
Learning basic Vietnamese will be an advantage if you plan to settle down in Vietnam. It helps with getting to know your colleagues and local people, and also expands your career opportunities.
How to apply for Vietnam working permit?
Up to date information about applying for work permit in Vietnam can be found at official website of Vietnam immigration office. Here you will find information about:
- Application procedures, required documents, processing time, service fee for the work permit.
- Conditions to work in Vietnam without work permit.
- Changes to name of employer and job titles.
Accommodation in Vietnam
“Settle down and thrive” is one Vietnamese idiom, meaning that not until you have settled down can you thrive. Once you have been offered a job, it is very important that you find a place where it is convenient for you to live and commute to work.
There are many official websites where you can find information about living and working in Vietnam, such as expat.com.
Foreigners in Vietnam tend to live in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city – the biggest cities with most job opportunities.
If you are still unsure about your job search situation or you prefer to save money and stay social with shared housing, homestay and hostels are good choices. Agoda.com, hostelworld.com or booking.com are the most popular websites. Agoda is highly recommended if your rental period is long term because the registration is free and they have many other benefits.
Craiglist.com and expat.com provide information about studios/ apartments. If you have been offered a job, it is good to consider location carefully because of traffic jam problems in Vietnam. You will learn how to deal with traffic jam hours in Vietnam.
Last but not least, when you start living in Vietnam or any other country, quickly adapting to the local environment, culture and customs is very important. Differences in cultures can be a hindrance to your search for jobs and living here. Therefore, a general understanding of the culture, lifestyle, background of the local country is essential.
Hopefully this short guide to living and working in Vietnam helps and encourages you to start an interesting and unique adventure in this S-shaped country!