I would like to apply for residency(temporary and ideally permanent). Has anyone does this with the help of a lawyer? I don't mind paying a fee. It would be preferable to running around myself. Any contacts in this area would be appreciated.
Additionally you could try contacting some of the people who have mentioned they consulted a lawyer or a law firm.
Taking the brief time to read the above threads might also highlight some issues that you may not have considered. Better than chatting to a lawyer cold turkey.
If you are working in Vietnam and you think that you will work here for a long time firstly you have to apply for a work permit. Work permit usually is given for a three year term. Once you have the work permit you can then apply for a temporary resident card which has the same term (3 yrs)as your work permit.
It turns out that if they find out that you are working on a visa exemption, they won't extend it. They will tell you that you must either get a 1 yr business visa or a 2 year temporary resident card. I found this out the hard way when I used a visa exemption to dodge a high visa extension cost when waiting for my work permit (the process had ground to halt early this year)and had planned to extend again while my temporary resident card was in processing. I was stupid enough to include information about my employer on the extension form. They saw this and refused to extend the visa exemption. The trouble is while all this was going on, the clock is ticking and you are on the hook for over-staying your visa. I got it sorted after a lot of ballache and 3 million dong fine.
You may be granted a temporary residence permit based on your work permit. I will explain to you as follows: When you work in Vietnam you will be sponsored by the company and work visa. Then based on your degree, you will obtain a work permit, and then from that work permit they will issue you a temporary residence card. This card has the same duration as your work permit. Or, if you are an investor, you also have a work permit and temporary residence card