Start a headhunting agency in Vietnam

Headhunting agency in Vietnam
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Opening a headhunting agency or a recruitment service company in Vietnam can be an endless process if you do not know the following.

Conditions to set up a Headhunting agency in Vietnam

In Vietnam, recruitment or headhunting is a conditional business. To legally operate a business in this field, the investor needs to go through a two-step procedure:

  • Step 1: In Vietnam, a headhunting agency must obtain the Business code 7810 according to the VSIC  – Vietnam Standards of Industrial Classifications (Recruitment, headhunting, job placement service) into the company’s business license.
  • Step 2: For a headhunting agency in Vietnam to start its operation, it must obtain the Recruitment Service Operation license, after Step 1 above is completed.
Conditions to obtain Recruitment service business line 

Because the recruitment service is not covered by Vietnam’s WTO commitment, establishing a foreign-owned headhunting firm in Vietnam would require Ministry approval. This approval process takes a long time, and the outcome is largely dependent on the subjective decision of Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor. 

It usually takes 3-5 months to complete this step, and not all applications are approved. To ensure the success of this step, the investor may need to hire an experienced consultant who can help with the approval process facilitation.

Conditions to obtain Recruitment service operation license

After obtaining the business line 7810, the company will still be required to obtain another license in order to be fully eligible for recruitment service provision – the Recruitment Service Operation license. This license is subject to approval by the local city/province Department of Labor. To be granted the license, the company must meet all of the following conditions:

  • Deposit (freeze) 300M VND (roughly USD15,000) in an escrow bank account (non-accessible money). 
  • The company must have a 3-year (minimum) office leasing contract starting from the date of Step 2 application submission.
  • At least one legal representative (Director) of the company has a University degree in HR field or minimum 2 years of experience in HR management position.
Market entry shortcut

Opening a recruitment service company in Vietnam can be a lengthy process. Due to the challenges in meeting conditions for a headhunting agency establishment, to save time and money, many investors have considered purchasing an existing company that already has the business line 7810 (step 1) instead of creating a new company from scratch. If a company is ready to be transferred, the time frame for this transfer would be 45-60 days, instead of 3-5 months like the abovementioned.

You may be interested in this article as well: Buy off a shelf or an aged company in Vietnam.

Step 2 will still require the new owner to apply for the additional license because when the company’s ownership changes, the previous owner will withdraw the escrow and remove the old legal representative. When you add a new person, the company must go through step 2 again. As a result, this approach can help you save 50% of the time, which is still a good decision to make.

Business solutions from VNBG to open a recruitment agency in Vietnam

As recruitment services are a conditional business in Vietnam, the regulatory entry barrier is relatively high in this field. Many businesses choose to forego the licenses and provide recruitment/headhunting services without them (illegally) or to bury it under another business line (such as HR consulting, management consulting). This approach may save the investor time and money in the short term, but it is not recommended in the long run.

Or read more on other business incorporation topics:

In any case, if you want to move forward, VNBG can assist you in establishing a new recruitment company, obtaining the license, or opening an HR consulting firm instead. Fill out the form to notify our consultant that you have a question about this topic; we will contact you as soon as possible.

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Micheal Dinh

Micheal Dinh

Marketing Manager

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