The odds are that you will need a lawyer if you plan to live in HCMC, or Vietnam for that matter. Whether it’s setting up a new business or doing real estate deals, having a professional and experienced person to handle your needs is very important.
This week we met up with Ms. Loan Pham, partner at Lawplus Vietnam, and one of Saigons most trustworthy and professional lawyers to ask her some questions that most affect expats here in Saigon.
1) How long have you practiced law and what do you like best about your job?
I have practiced law for over 17 years now in Vietnam and enjoy the challenge that each case involves. What I get most job satisfaction from is assisting people in registering their business. Many foreigners and locals take a long time to make the first step on owning a business. Our staff guide them through the complicated steps in order to help make their dreams of owning a business come true. All of our staff are very experienced in the law field and have all practiced for over 10 years.
2) What percentage of your practice is devoted to foreigners?
We work with both local and foreign clients. Because we specialize in investment and corporate services most of our clients are foreigners, almost 70%.
3) Who are your typical clients?
We have a mix of clients. We work with Investors who have lived in Vietnam for a few years and see the potential that Vietnam has to offer. We also help Multi-national corporations expand their business in Vietnam.
There are no jobs that are too big or small for our team. We are happy to talk with anyone needing our assistance. This maybe in real estate matters, employment issues or registering their new business.
4) How easy is it for a foreigner to open a business in Vietnam?
Back in 2007, Vietnam joined the WTO. Since then the Vietnamese government has promulgated many regulations to make Vietnam laws system more transparent and open to all investors who come from WTO member’s countries.
One of the biggest hurdles for opening a 100% foreign business is the laws and regulations are subject to conflicting interpretations by different government agencies. That’s why it’s very important to choose a reputable lawyer in HCMC to handle the complex procedures.
Many choose to put the business under a local’s name to make the business registration quick and easy. However, there may be disputes in the future so many foreigners are now choosing to have it 100% under their name. The overall process is not easy, but not too difficult as well.
5) Can a foreigner buy property in Vietnam?
In short, Yes. They can also own bikes and cars. However, apartments are the most common things that foreigners would like to own when they live in Vietnam – but for sure it is more complicated for foreigners when they want their own name in the registration book.
With apartments, despite what the Housing Law say, until now there are some barriers in granting the pink book to foreigners due to ‘national security’ they say, but if you want to invest in real estate for a short term then there are ways around it.
6) Finally, what advice would you give to a foreigner who is looking to live in Vietnam?
It’s very important you don’t rush into anything when you first move to Vietnam. I recommend that they should spend time getting to know the culture, understand the business environment before making commitments (like investing or joining projects).
You should spend time meeting people that have been living here for a long time and work in a similar field to yours.
Always seek independent advice by a local professional or specialized companies when you have to get into some business or investment.
Saigon Expat Services final thoughts:
Unfortunately, for many expats and locals living in Vietnam, there have been many instances of business deals gone sour. Many expats go into business with friends or partners who they may not have known for very long. If your name is not on the license, or you don’t have a contract, then you may very much lose your investment if the relationship breaks down.
Lawyers in HCMC, such as Lawplus Vietnam, are not as expensive as your typical lawyer from your home country. Never take the risk and do a business deals on a handshake. For a small cost, let the professionals give you the peace of mind you need.
For enquiries about any legal requirements from a lawyer in HCMC, you can contact Loan at Lawplus directly for a free consultation.
Loan Pham (Ms.),
Phone: 02862 77 93 99
Address: 94 Xuan Thuy St. Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC