INGO Forum Meeting 2011 - October

INGO Forum 28 October 2011

Meeting notes


Meeting Room 3, La Thanh Hotel, 218 Doi Can, Hanoi


Mr Marko Lovrekovic, VUFO-NGO Resource Centre Managing Co-Director

PACCOM Deputy Director General Mr Nguyen Ngoc Hung


1. NGO Resource Centre Update for the period June 2011 – October 2011 (Mr Marko Lovrekovic):

INGO Closures and Changes:

  • Enfants & Developpement (E&D) office in Vietnam closed, except for one ongoing project in Ho Chi Minh City; Farewell to Isabelle Perrody, former E&D Representative in Vietnam;

  • Two major development Swiss organisations Helvetas and Intercooperation merged into HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation.

Change of INGO Directors:

  • Eda Cabaluna-Detros was appointed as World Concern Country Director in May;
  • Steve Price Thomas was appointed as G20 Strategy Manager for Oxfam International in June;
  • Andy Baker was appointed as the overall Country Director for Oxfam in Vietnam in September;
  • Caritas Switzerland Country Representative: Barbara Schichler replaced Graham Adutt in June (in August Margrit Schlosser replaced Barbara as Interim Country Representative);
  • Rutgers WPF Country Representative: Tran Thi Kim Ly replaced Jerry Clewett in June;
  • Helvetas Swiss IntercooperationCD: Nguyen Lam Giang replaced Daniel Valenghi in June;
  • Oxfam GB Associate Country Director: Le Kim Dung replaced Steve Price Thomas in June;
  • Oxfam Hong Kong Associate Country Director: Bert Maerten replaced Mark Blackett in August.
  • Plan Country Director: Glenn Gibney replaced Acting Country Director Sven Coppens in August;

NGO Resource Centre Staff:

  • PACCOM Deputy Director General Nguyen Ngoc Hung was appointed as a Co-Director in July;
  •  Jeannie Zakharov finished her assignment as Communications Advisor in June;
  •  Nguyen Thi Hoa was recruited as Ethnic Minorities Working Groups Coordinator in October.

Our Core Activities and Services:

  • Disaster Management WG organized unscheduled meetings in response to typhoon;

  • Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management WG has been revived;

  • Child Rights WG submitted Complementary Report on Child Rights to UN Geneva;

  • Climate Change WG and Ethnic Minorities WG organized a joint workshop;

  • Disaster Management WG and Climate Change WG organized joint advocacy workshop;

  • All Working Groups Coordinators and Chairpersons gathered for semi-annual meeting;

  • EMWG, CCWG and SANRM supported ISG-MARD with Annual Plenary NRDP Meeting;

  • Steering Committee met in October for a regular meeting;

  • Continued activities on Working Groups meetings, electronic newsletters, newsbriefs, etc.

  • Printing of a hard copy of the INGO Directory 2011 delayed;

Joint Activities with PACCOM:

  • PACCOM facilitated meeting between INGOs, MOLISA and Immigration Department regarding new regulations on Work Permits and Visas for expatriate INGO staff;

  • PACCOM Director General and NGO Resource Centre Managing Co-Director are preparing for a joint trip to Korea, to attend International Conference on North Korea;

  • Conference on Strengthening INGO Cooperation in Vinh Long province

  • Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation Workshop on GMO

  • Debriefing between new Co-Director (PACCOM) and Managing Co-Director

National-level Engagement and Regional Initiatives:

  • Mid-Term Consultative Group (CG) meeting in Ha Tinh;

  • Health Partnership Group’s (HPG) quarterly meeting on National Strategy 2011-2020;

  • World Bank (WB) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) 2012-2016 continued (2 sessions);

  • Social Watch General Assembly in Manila, the Phillippines;

  • Aid Effectiveness Forum (3 sessions):

  • Preparations for the CG 'Enhancing Aid Effectiveness for Sustainable Development'

  • AEF Workshop 'Shaping New Aid Architecture'

  • Preparation for High Level Forum 4 in Busan, Korea

  • UN One Plan (2012-2016) Consultations (continued);

  • UNDP Workshops on Legal Policy Dialogue and CSO (several sessions)

  • EU Workshop on findings of the independent assessment of the PRSC 1-10 series

  • WB Workshop on ‘Economic Management & Competitiveness Credit (post PRSC tool);

  • WB presentation on the Debt Management Performance Assessment (DeMPA) for Vietnam;

  • WB debriefing on the CG agenda in December;

  • CAF-VASS RIM 2011 'Social Impact of Economic Instability and Inflation 2011';

  • ISG-MARD ‘Vietnam Towards the New Vision in Agriculture’

Other Activities:

  • Managing Co-Director Interview for VTC10 (TV documentary about INGOs in Vietnam);

  • Managing Co-Director at VTC10 Talk Show (promotion of the NGO Resource Centre);

  • Several delegations from the US, the UK and ASEAN countries;

  • Inputs for strategic planning and/or evaluation of several NGOs (AAV, TAF, CRS, iSEE).


2. Discussion about Work Permits and Visas:
A discussion was held concerning the new regulations for visas and work permits of expatriate INGO staff.

The maximum a work permit will be issued for is 3 years. The application should be submitted to MOLISA (or to DOLISA if the operation location is in the provinces), a working permit will be issued 15 days after submission.

Question & Answer session (PACCOM Deputy Director General Mr Nguyen Ngoc Hung):
Q. For those not in Vietnam for 6 months, what kind of background are you concerned with?
A. The term is not your background, it is just criminal record, we do not check background. We are just concerned about political certification.

Q.  What is the procedure for getting a work permit?
A. A legal copy of documents is requested, (not original copy), the application should be submitted to MOLISA, and a Work Permit will be issued 15 days after submission. A foreigner working for a Non–government Organisation ("NGO") must provide a certificate showing that such NGO is allowed to operate in Vietnam. Within 15 days, the DOLISA or MOLISA will notify the employer of its respective decision. Labour contracts are only signed between the employer and employee after obtaining a work permit. A copy of the signed labour agreement is then sent to DOLISA or MOLISA. The term of a work permit is tied to the term of the labour contract up to a maximum of 36 months. And, it may be renewed for another 36 months. Work Permits are for people who work a long period of time and for those applying for WP and visa, it is a maximum 6 months for a visa. In fact if you have a work plan, PACCOM will consider a long term, a year visa even without the work permit. PACCOM will make it simple.

Q. The Work Permit depends on duration of program, we do not know where/how the Work Permit is renewed?
A. The Work Permit is issued based on the duration of the program and Permit of operation. Operation permit is one year maximum, Work Permit is about 2 years. Work Permit and Operation Permits are also renewed. Renewing work permit for INGOs and Certification of Work Permit - a number of permits will be issued by COMINGO and PACCOM. Even short term work permits will still follow the circular term of MOLISA.

Q. The tax exemption, in Circular 340, that says Expatriate are not subject to PIT, however we must show the tax exemption in VN, we can see a clear statement about this issue?
A. Expatriate staff of INGO with a work permit for Representative Office, Project Office, and people working for projects have approval for PIT exemption. In the MOU with PACCOM about Representative Offices and the law on Tax it is clear. Also renewed was Clause 114 in Tax Exemption (AAV, MCNV, Oxfam has just signed this MOU with PACCOM).

Q. What about retired Foreigners in Vietnam or Volunteers? Do we need Work Permit?
A. Yes, Volunteers and retirees also need Work Permits and visas.

This also a long process. The draft Decree 34 will be signed by MOFA and will reach to the Government next week. It was getting the consensus from cabinet before, It will be approved this time, but there is still  some work should be done, some clauses should be revised. Few documents still have to supplemented.  Since MOFA leave the role of  issuing permit to COMINGO, COMINGO will continue being the focal point for INGOs work. 

Q. Is there any difficulty for custom registration of cars?
A. There are procedure for replacement. You need permission: for equipment within a project,  follow the project procedure, like you import some equipment for project in Quang Tri you should ask for permission. You should get the paper work before you send, to make sure you get the approval before you send the equipment to Vietnam.

Q. Implementation 93: we work in 2 provinces and we meet problems? How proceed it, form to be filled, DOLISA and MPI in province ? transfer money is quite complicated.
A. Follow Decree 93: The Project could be signed by provincial chairman but the procedure is quite complicated. The provincial  department of planning and investment require many documents. Provincial committee will decide to be focal point to relationship with NGOs, some provinces we have successful but some not. INGOS can address the concern directly to the Prime Minister or to PACCOM. In some cases it's not matter of institutional approach, in some provinces people make more complicated  PACCOM has talked with them some provinces already but not so many changes.
Q. With decree 93 implementation, there are many delays happen in some provinces when INGO implement their project.
A. There would be stronger Donor group, put enforce in this issue. They have idea to do a research on implementation of  with local NGOs, Government partner ...look into it and they willing to put fund, NGORC and PACCOM talk about the research and NGORC had developed  a proposal for doing this research but it has not received the response yet.


3. Announcement of the new Steering Committee Member

Hang Thi Bich Nguyen, Country Representative
Marie Stopes International Vietnam

Hang Thi Bich Nguyen has been Country Representative for Marie Stopes International in Vietnam since 1998. Marie Stopes is a UK-based international NGO and a social enterprise specializing in Sexual and Reproductive health. Prior to working for Marie Stopes International, Hang was Chief Representative of Prieure Ltd, an Australian-based investment consultant company and has also worked for the Vietnam Ministries of Health and Construction. Hang has significant experience in delivering sexual and reproductive health projects including HIV/AIDS to under-served communities across Vietnam including poor women and men in remote rural and mountainous areas, adolescents and youths, migrant workers, ethnic minorities, commercial sex workers and intravenous drug users. She is responsible for a range of programs working with public and private sector healthcare providers funded by international donors, corporations and the Vietnamese government. She holds Bachelors degrees in English and Law, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Hawaii.


(Meeting finshed at 16.30)