Legal briefing February, 2016

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I. Circular No. 20/2015/TT-BTP giving details and providing guidelines for implementation of a number of articles of the Decree 23/2015/ND-CP dated 16 February 2015 issuing copies from masters registers, certification of true copies from originals, authentication of signatures and contracts (Circular 20)

Sector: Administrative

Effective date: 15 February 2016

Highlights:

Circular 20 has provided the guidelines for implementation of a number of articles on certification of true copies from originals, authentication of signatures, notarization of contracts, transactions, in particular:

Decree 23 has simplified the procedure on notarization of contracts. However, due to the unfamiliarity with new administrative procedures, some of local authorities themselves invent additional provisions or require additional documents in the notarization dossier. The Circular 20 has addressed this shortcoming: in receipt and settlement of the notarization requests, the notary is not allowed to invent any additional step, or request for more documents other than those stipulated in the Decree 23. Circular 20 also regulates that if the notary fails to settle the notarization requests within 15 hours and fails in producing results within one day or having to extend the settlement schedule under Article 21, 33, 37 of Decree 23, a clear appointment letter is required to be sent to the requester.

Besides the cumbersome in notarization, Decree 23 has not also detailed the template of testimonies on document of legacy inheritance, document of legacy refusal.  Consequently, the competent authorities were confused and even refused to authenticate. Therefore, Circular 20 has given details for this matter in Article 3.1 and issued a template attached with the Circular. In addition, Circular 20 also attached a sample of authentication testimony of signatures to ensure the consistency of application of the Circular.

Comments/Impacts:

Circular 20 expectedly settles the problems arising from implementation of Decree 23 such as the lack of templates and inconsistency of required dossier.

II. Circular No. 59/2015/TT-BLDTBXH detailing and guiding the implementation of some articles of the Law on Social Insurance on compulsory social insurance (Circular 59)

Sector: Insurance

Effective date: 15 February 2016

Highlights: 

Circular 59 has various remarkable points as follows:

(i) Circular 59 supplements the provision on the payment of compulsory social insurance drawing from the monthly wage, allowances (from 1st January 2016 to 31th 2017), in which such allowances are the ones to offset the factors of working conditions, the complexity of work, activity conditions, level of labor attraction for which the agreed wage in labor contract is not calculated or incompletely calculated such as allowances of position, title, responsibility, heaviness, hazardousness, dangerousness, seniority, region, mobility, attraction and the like. Besides, the monthly wage paid for compulsory social insurance shall not include the other benefits and welfare, initiative bonus, meals between shifts, gasoline, telephone, travel, accommodation and child care allowances; assistance upon the death of employees’ relatives, the marriage of employees’ relatives, employees’ birthday, subsidy to the employees in difficult situation in case of work accident, occupational disease and other allowances and assistance recorded in separate items in the labor contract.

(ii) Circular 59 provides conditions to enjoy an one-time subsidy upon birth giving as follows: (a) In case only the father participates in the social insurance, the time of payment must be from full 06 months or more within the period of 12 months before birth giving; (b) For the husband of the mother requesting surrogacy, the social insurance payment must be from full 06 months or more within a period of 12 months to the time of child receipt.

(iii) Under Circular 59, when applying monthly pension, a rate of 2% of monthly pension shall be reduced for each year of retirement prior to the prescribed age, which is higher than the rate of 1% under Circular 03/2007//TT-BLDTBXH.

(iv) The rate of entitlement to enjoy one-time social insurance of the employees having the time of social insurance payment of less than 01 year is equal to 22% of the rates of monthly wage of social insurance payment; the maximum rate is equal to 02 months of the average monthly wage of social insurance payment.

Comments/Impacts:

Circular 59 has provided a means for realization of the Law on Social Insurance and Decree No. 115/2015/ND-CP. The Circular is expected to protect tens millions employees and financial resources of entities engaging in social insurance.

III. Circular No. 09/2015/TTLT-BCA-BYT-BTC guiding implementation of health care insurance applicable to employees, students, relations of solider of People’s Public Security of Vietnam (Circular 09)

Sector: Insurance

Effective date: 11 February 2016

Highlights:

Noticeably, Circular 09 details the scope of employees whose health insurance is contributed by the local Public Security and the employee themselves, and the ones whose health insurance is contributed by state budget. Accordingly, the relations of soldier, students of Public Security cultural school and foreign students who are granted scholarship at Public Security school shall enjoy the health insurance covered by the state budget.

Regarding the contribution responsibility in special cases, Circular 09 prescribes that within the time of sick leave from 14 days onward, in which the sick leave benefit is applicable, employees and their employers are not required to contribute into the health insurance while the health insurance benefit is still applicable.

Circular 09 provides that within the time of detention, in custody or temporarily suspended from their work before being investigated or judged guilty or not guilty of their offences, ratio applicable to health care insurance contribution shall be 4.5% of 50% of the monthly salary subject to social insurance contributions as stipulated by laws. The remaining contribution shall be contributed in case it is concluded that there is no violation accordingly.

Employees who are currently living and working abroad are not subject to health care insurance contribution within the period of being aboard. The period of being abroad shall be counted as uninterrupted in application of health care insurance contribution.

Comments/Impacts:

This Circular has come into effect from 11 February 2016. However, the provisions on contribution level, contribution liability, and contribution method in respect of health insurance have been effective since 1 January 2015.

IV. Decree No. 11/2016/ND-CP providing guidelines for implementation of Labor Code on foreigners working in Vietnam (Decree 11)

Sector: Labor

Effective date: 1 April 2016

Highlights:

The scope of foreigners who are exempted from work permit is extended to include experts, individuals being the chief executive officials or those holding management positions or technicians who work in Vietnam for less than 30 days per period and the total accumulated working day in Vietnam is no more than 90 days per year. Further, method for determination of an expert, a chief executive official and management positions is also detailed in this Decree.

Confirmation of demand for use of foreign employees by Chairman of provincial people’s committee is not required in particular cases, noticeably for foreign employees with abovementioned working period in Vietnam.

 

With respect to the application for obtaining work permit, in case a foreigner has been residing in Vietnam, only criminal record issued by competent authority in Vietnam is required. However, there is still no further clarification for applying this provision, i.e. how to determine that a foreigner has been residing in Vietnam. In addition, processing time for the issuance of work permit is shortened from 10 to 7 working days from full submission.

Comments/Impacts:

Decree 11 simplifies the process of work permit and facilitates favorable conditions for foreigners working in Vietnam.

V. Circular No. 36/2015/TT-NHNN on restructuring of credit institutions (Circular 36)

Sector: Banking and Finance

Effective date: 1 March 2016

Highlights:

Inheriting positive points of Circular 04 and being amended, supplemented to qualify requirements on restructuring of bank system and sustainable development of credit institutions system, Circular 36 has the following notable points:

  • The Circular 36 applies to credit institutions being commercial banks and finance companies only.
  • In addition to merger and consolidation, conversion of legal form of credit institutions is also be governed as one of restructuring form. Accordingly,
  • a commercial bank or finance company may convert from a limited liability company into a shareholding company, or vice versa; and a commercial bank or finance company may convert from a single member LLC into a multiple member LLC, or vice versa.
  • In case of conversion, the credit institution must have a conversion plan approved by its competent body and satisfy other requirements in accordance with laws.

It is strictly prohibited to disperse assets in any form.

Comments/Impacts:

Circular 36 is expected, by supplementing regulations regarding conversion of legal form of credit institution and improving regulations regarding merge and consolidation of credit institution, to create a bank system fully complying with current market principles.

By Vietnam Law Insight

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us at info@LNTpartners.com

Legal briefing October, 2015

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I. Decree number 84/2015/ND-CP on investment monitoring and evaluation (“Decree 84”)

Sector: Investment_ Enterprise

Effective date: 20 November 2015

Highlights:

Decree 84 clarifies implemented subjects and stipulates the principles of monitoring and evaluation of investment activities. In addition, Decree 78 expands its scope of application, including objects and sorts of monitored investment.

  • As of the effective date, not only investment projects, but also investment programs would be monitored and evaluated;
  • Various kinds of monitored and evaluated investment are supplemented, such as: PPP investment projects; a list of investment programs and projects using State capital- without limiting the minimum capital rate; the offshore direct investment and community evaluation now stipulated in this Decree;
  • The responsibilities of monitoring become an initial part beside the regulations on content of such activities, which are allocated to the investors, authorities and related specialized agencies; and
  • Separated chapters regarding cost and capability of organizations and individuals performing monitoring consultants in evaluation of investment projects are newly stipulated;

Comments/Impacts:

This Decree provides new and innovative detailed guidelines for monitoring and evaluating investment, in comparison to the old Decree No. 113/2009/ND-CP on investment monitoring and evaluation.

Such clearer regulations can practically increase the responsibilities of investors and relevant authorities; also guarantee the effectiveness of monitoring and evaluation activities.

II. Decree No. 83/2015/ND-CP on stipulation of outbound investment (Decree 83)

Sector: Investment_ Enterprise

Effective date: 25 September 2015

Highlights: 

Following the Law on Investment 2014, Decree 83 has been issued to provide detailed guidance for outbound investment activities as follows:

  • Each investment project is granted a project number, which shall be also outbound investment certificate number;
  • Appraisal process is removed. Project registration procedure is divided into 2 types: projects subject to outbound investment policy of the Prime Minister (PM) and projects not subject to outbound investment policy of the PM. Procedure for projects required outbound investment policy of the PM is similar to appraisal process under the Law on Investment 2005. Projects not subject to outbound investment policy shall require confirmation of SBV if their capitals transferring to foreign countries are: (i) in foreign currencies, and (ii) equal to 20 billion VND;
  • Investors are entitled to transfer money, assets to foreign countries to establish investment project before receiving Investment Registration Certificate. However, the value of such money and assets is restricted to be less than 5% of project capital or 300.000 USD (whichever is smaller); and
  • Investors have to report about the implementation of projects quarterly and to more authorities.

Comments/Impacts:

Procedure of registration is simplified and investors can transfer capital and assets to foreign countries before receiving IRC. This shall allow investment projects to be implemented more quickly and effectively.

However, investors are now obliged to frequently report the implementation of the project in writing as well as through online update. This might create more responsibilities for the investors.

III. Decree No. 78/2015/ND- CP dated 14 September 2015 on Enterprise Registration (Decree 78)

Sector: Investment_ Enterprise

Effective date: 1 November 2015

Highlights: 

Decree 78 provides guidelines for enterprise registration procedures under the Law on Enterprise 2014. Some notable points of the Decree are as follows:

  • Online registration is now available. As such, the entire procedures for registering the formation of an enterprise or the changes in enterprise information may be carried out at the National Business Registration Portal (https://dangkyquamang.dkkd.gov.vn).
  • The timeline for enterprise formation registration and for registration of changes in enterprise information is significantly reduced (from 5 to 3 working days).
  • The registrar agency must not request the enterprise to submit additional documents other than registration documents prescribed by laws.

Comments/Impacts:

Decree 78 is expected to significantly remove the administrative burdens from the backs of the investors and enterprises and improve the investment climate of Vietnam

IV. Decree No. 76/2015/ND-CP providing detailed regulations on the implementation of a number of articles of the law on real estate business (Decree 76)

Sector: Real estate

Effective date: 01 November 2015

Highlights: 

Below are some salient points of Decree 76:

  • Legal capital required for real estate trading is minimum VND20 billion for all types of projects. Financial statement or bank acknowledgement is no longer required to prove the financial capacity with respect to the fulfilment of legal capital;
  • Model contracts for key real estate transactions are enclosed in the Decree for the parties to follow; and
  • Regarding transfer of the entirety or part of the project, procedures and detailed forms for application dossier and timeline for the approval process are specified.

Comments/Impacts:

Procedures for registration of the real estate business and project transfer are simplified and less time-consuming

The model contracts, while causing no restriction to freedom of contract, will help reduce disputes in the market.

V. Decree No. 82/2015/ND-CP dated 24 September 2015 regarding visa exemption for Vietnamese people residing overseas and foreigners who are spouses, children of Vietnamese people residing overseas or of Vietnamese citizens (Decree 82)

Sector: Civil

Effective date:15 November 2015

Highlights:

Decree 82 provides detailed guidance for procedures of issuance of visa exemption certificates and its conditions:

  • Regarding conditions for visa exemption, the applicant’s visa or equivalent document must be valid for at least one year;
  • Regarding the format of certificate, it shall be granted in the passport or a detached certificate in some certain circumstances;
  • The competence and processing procedures of authorities are more detailed than before. For example, processing procedure of overseas authority is separated from the Immigration Administration; and
  • The duration of certificate of temporary residence for people using certificates of visa exemption is extended to 6 months.

Comments/Impacts:

Although the processing time stays the same as Decision 135/2007/QD-TTg on the promulgation of the regulation on visa exemption for Vietnamese residing overseas, the procedure is now much clearer for applicants to follow.

The extension of certificate of temporary residence from 90 days to 6 months is considered to be a big support for Vietnamese people residing overseas to come back home country.

VI. Decision No. 41/2015/QD-TTg on selling shares in blocks (Decision 41)

Sector: Governmental management/ Corporate

Effective date: 15 September 2015

Highlights: 

Decision 41 deals with withdrawal of state capital of unlisted public companies from joint-stock companies that have not been listed or registered on Upcom (Hanoi Stock Exchange), the ownership of which is represented by Ministries, ministerial agencies, Governmental agencies , People’s Committees of central-affiliated cities and provinces, state-owned corporations, and companies whose 100% charter capital is held by the State. The striking features of Decision 41 can be summarized as follow:

  • the sales of shares in blocks must be implemented via Stock Exchange by audit method with the following information: number and price of each block, status of investors attending audit, solutions in case of an unsuccessful audit. Each block must not be less than 5% of the company’s charter capital;
  • Starting price of the block, which is determined by a valuation organization, equals to the starting price of a share multiplied by the quantity of shares in a block; and
  • According to the Decision to approve the plan for selling shares in blocks issued by a competent authority and regulations on selling shares in blocks, the owner’s representative agency, the Chairperson of the Board of members, the President of the enterprise shall request the representative to cooperate with Stock Exchange in formulating the enterprise’s own statute on selling shares in blocks.

Comments/Impacts:

Decision 41 sets out a clear procedure and conditions for the withdrawal of the state in joint-stock companies, which is considered to be a concession of the Government in intervening into the market. As a result, a free market without control of the Government is constructed step-by-step.

VII. Decree 79/2015/ND-CP on  penalties for administrative violations against regulations on vocational training (Decree 79)

Sector: Administrative

Effective date: 01 November 2015

Highlights:

Decree 79 provides detailed regulations of administrative fines upon the violations related to: vocational school establishment; organization of vocational education quality control; vocational education organizations, student recruitment, program syllabus, class size, bridge programs and educational association in vocational education; test, examination; issue and utilization of certificates, degrees.

  • The limitation for the maximum fine is maintained at 75,000,000 VND for individuals, 150,000,000 VND for organizations;
  • There are not many changes in the rate of fines imposed on the violation of regulations, except for some certain violations in registration of vocational activities, maintenance of ratio of full-time teachers/ lecturers, and others; and
  • Beside a number actions which are newly added to the scope of administrative fine application, Decree 79 provides more remedial measures applicable to the violators, such as transferring illegal benefits obtained from the violations, cancellation of the decisions on admission, returning collected amounts to learners.

Comments/Impacts:

Financial penalties seem not to be strong enough to prevent individuals and organizations from violating regulations on vocational training. Hence, Decree 79 imposes more intensive preventative measures to violators to enhance the protection for the rights of learners as well as vocational education organization.

VIII. Circular No. 139/2015/ TT –  BTC providing guidance on guarantee for foreign loans on lent by the Government (Circular 139)

Sector: Banking and finance

Effective date: 01 November 2015

Highlights:

Circular 139 provides detailed guidance on the procedures for guarantee of loans, settlement of secured assets, and responsibilities of relevant Parties concerning the  foreign loans on-lent by the Government with the following remarkable regulations:

  • The execution of a guarantee contract depends on the involvement of the Ministry of Finance (MOF). If the MOF directly undertakes on-lending, a credit institution satisfying certain conditions set out by this Circular shall be nominated by the obligor to act on behalf of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to perform loan guarantee operations. Upon approval by the MOF, a Security Service Agreement shall be executed between the MOF, the obligor and the credit institution.  If the MOF authorizes an on-lending agency to perform on-lending, the loan guarantee contract shall be signed between such agency and the obligor under the scope of on-lending authorization between the MOF and the agency;
  • The total value of secured assets must be equivalent to 100% of the loan; and
  • A loan guarantee contract must be registered with competent authority by the obligor regardless of the secured assets not required to be registered by the laws. If the obligor fails to register, either the disbursement process might be suspended or the total loans might be immediately recovered before the due date.

Comments/Impacts:

Decree 78/2010/ND-CP on on-lending of the Government’s foreign loans took effect as of 2010 with only one article on the loan security causing numerous issues during its implementation. On the other hand, Circular 139 offers solutions for this issue by forming a detailed legal basis for guarantee for foreign loans on-lent by the Government.

IX. Circular No. 15/2015/TT-NHNN guiding foreign currency transactions on foreign currency market for credit institution permitted to make foreign currency transactions (Circular 15)

Sector: Banking and Finance

Effective date: 05 October 2015

Highlights:

Circular 15 replaces a numbers of decisions providing guidance on foreign exchange transaction to regulate the exchange rates, terms, means and documents of the transaction, form of the transacting agreement as well as the responsibility of the authorized credit institutions and departments belonging to the State Bank of Vietnam concerning the foreign exchange transactions.

The most important point of the new Circular is the stipulation on the latest payment date of foreign exchange transactions. Particularly, regarding the spot transaction in swap transaction, the parties could agree on the payment date which is subject to be within two days from the transacting date. Meanwhile, regarding the forward transaction in the swap transaction, the payment date must not be later than the last date of transacting term which lasts from 3 to 365 days from the transacting date.

Comments/Impacts:

Circular 15 shall deter the foreign exchange hoard in financial market.

X. Decree No. 85/2015/ND-CP providing detailed regulation on a number of articles of the Labor Code on policies for female employees (Decree 85)

Sector: Labor

Effective date: 15 November 2015

Highlights:

Decree 85 provides in details state policies on female employees, which requires employers employing multiple female employees to conduct necessary works with the purpose of improving the working conditions, healthcare and also supporting female employees in taking care of their children.

In return, employers may enjoy notable policies as follows:

  • Employers investing in building nurseries, kindergartens and healthcare facilities which meet statutory requirements may be entitled to enjoy incentives under the current policies encouraging socialization in education, occupational training and medical health as provided by the laws, e.g. exemption of land lease fees or corporate income tax incentives (tax rate, tax exemption and reduction);
  • Employers may also be entitled to incentives as stipulated in the Law on Residential Housing if investing in constructing residential housing for employees; and
  • Additional expenses for female employees may be included in deductible expenses for income tax purposes as provided by the laws.

Comments/Impacts:

Decree 85 shows the effort of the Government in encouraging employers to practically ensure and improve working conditions for female employees, through which employers may receive preferential support from the State of Vietnam, by ways of. tax incentives, upon satisfaction of certain conditions stipulated by the laws.

 

By Vietnam Law Insight

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us at info@LNTpartners.com

Regulations of Construction Contracts

Decree 37/2015/ND-CP dated 22 April 2015 on detailed regulations of construction contracts (“Decree 37”)

The Government issued Decree 37/2015/ND-CP dated 22 April 2015 on detailed regulations of construction contract (“Decree 37”). Decree 37 replaces Decree 48/2010/ND-CP dated 7 May 2010 on contracts in construction activities (as amended by Decree 207/2013/ND-CP dated 11 December 2013). Decree 37 will take effect on 15 June 2015.

Under Decree 37, there are many substantial changes that have been stipulated, these key changes include:

  • Supplementing some types of contracts in accordance with the nature of these contracts, and the subsequent relationships between parties and the contracts. Accordingly, with respect to their nature, contracts for supplying human resources, work machinery and equipment have been added. Depending on the relationship of the parties to the contracts, Decree 37 stipulates that construction contracts with four main contracts including a main contract, sub-contract, fixed rate contract and foreign construction contract.
  • Stipulating clearly the principles of signing contracts. The most important principle is that at the time of signing, the contractors must meet conditions for practice and performance qualification, as prescribed in the Law on Construction. This principle is aimed at making sure that the contracts are suitable for providing construction services and to limit risks associated with the quality of building construction undertaken by disqualified contractors.
  • Amendments to the rate of advances for construction contracts as follows: With respect to the consultancy contract, rates are divided in two levels, namely 20% of the contract value for a contract valued up to VND 10 billion and 15% of the contract value for a contract valued over VND 10 billion (instead of 25% of the contract value for every contract as stipulated in the previous decree).
  • Decree 37 requires the employers under construction contracts to provide payment guarantee in order to protect the rights and interests of contractors. Accordingly, the employers are responsible for proving their capabilities to perform payment obligations under the signed contract via such forms as approved by the capital arrangement plan, bank or credit organization guarantee and credit supply contract, or loan agreement with financial institutions.

By Vietnam Law Insight.

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com

New Regulation on Automobile Transportation Activities

Circular 10/2015/TT-BGTVT dated 15 April 2015 regulating on the responsibilities and handling of violations relating to automobile transportation activities. (Click here for the full Circular in Vietnamese)

Circular 10/2015/TT-BGTVT dated 15 April 2015 on stipulating the responsibilities and penalties with regard to the abovementioned; (“Circular 10”) is in replacement of Circular 55/2013/TT-BGTVT dated 26 December 2013 (“Circular 55”) on the same matter and will take effect on 01 June 2015.

In addition to the 4 main applicable subjects stipulated under Circular 55 including directorate applicable to the roads of Vietnam which are transport services of provinces and centrally-affiliated cities; transport business unit by vehicles, business units of bus station, freight car stations and rest stops, it appears that the commodity owners, longshoreman and establishments providing journey monitoring services are also governed under the jurisdiction of Circular 10.  Some certain noticeable points of Circular 10 are mentioned as follows:

Obligations of organizations engaging in the passenger transport business

By providing the specific responsibilities of organizations engaging in the passenger transport business, this Circular 10 is expected to help established businesses understand clearly how they must comply according to their responding scope of services. Of note, Circular 10 provides and explains the responsibilities of organizations providing equipment for journey monitoring which includes the requirement on the development of data explorer software under QCVN 31:2014/BGTVT.

With respect to establishments that are engaging in the passenger transport business under contracts or transport for tourists, it is required that such organisations are responsible for (i) signing one transport contract for each correlative journey; (ii) registering for and notifying the municipal Department of Transport of terms and provisions of transport contracts in case of using automobiles with the capacity of more than 10 (ten) passengers for transportation. Furthermore, the duties of organisations having business activities in bus stations, freight automobile stations, and rest stops are also stipulated in detail in Article 10, and favour the rights and interests of passengers.

Various types of penalties for different violations

With the principle suggesting that the penalties under Circular 10 only apply when organisations and individuals violate the responsibilities of the organisation, the management of businesses in road transport by cars, and road transportation supporting services, would not be remedied from the warning notice of the first violation or violate for the second time within 1 year, it seems that Circular 10 creates the condition in which the organizations and individuals can deal with, and remedy,  their breaches by themselves first before having the provided penalties applied to them under the laws.

Determining the types of penalties that may be applied for the breached organizations and individuals under Circular 10 is very clear. More specifically, the highest punishment applied to the breaching organisations that are providing equipment for journey monitoring is revocation of organisations’ licenses for satisfying requirements for monitoring journey equipment on a permanent basis. The lawmakers also supplement this with further punishments for transport business establishments. In particular, apart from suspending their transport operation routes for up to 03 months, such establishments would be suspended from conducting any business for up to 03 months in case of violation of provisions stipulated in Article 22.5 of Circular 10.

By Vietnam Law Insight.

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com