Hiring Foreign Workers – Work Visas


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Many foreigners and companies face many problems while applying for work permit issuance for foreign labor. This is due to the complicated and lengthy process of obtaining work permits in Egypt. In this article, the implementing rules and set-up procedures for issuing work permits for the employment of foreigners will be briefly explained.

In accordance with the Egyptian Labor Law No. 12/2003, Decree No. 485/2010 on executive rules and procedures for granting work licenses for foreigners and Decree No. 146/2019 on the conditions and procedures for granting work licenses to foreigners, foreigners may practice work in the Arab Republic of Egypt only if a license has been obtained for this purpose and if the foreigner is authorized to enter and reside in the country at the purposes of working there. The same must be done according to the following:

First: Terms and conditions that should be considered when granting work permits for foreigners:

  • The foreigner’s expertise must correspond to that specific to the profession for which the work permit is granted and must not be less than three (3) years.

  • The foreigner must not compete with the national workforce.

  • The need and the economic interest of the country and the real need of the installation must exist for the foreign expertise.

  • The foreign workforce in a facility should not, even if it has many branches, exceed 10% of the total workforce, but this percentage can be excluded depending on the necessary cases that affect the interests and the country’s needs in foreign labour, after having been presented to the Minister for his opinion. The following categories are not subject to the percentage of foreign labor employment:

  • Representative offices and equivalents

  • The managers of the branch of the foreign company.

  • Employer and his offspring.

  • Facilities that have a permit to employ foreign technicians adhere to the commission of at least two (2) Egyptians, and their qualifications will be granted with the qualifications of foreign technicians to work as assistants, provided that the foreigner trains them and prepares annual reports on their progress. These reports must be attached to the permit renewal application.

Second: The categories excluded from the filing for the issuance of a work permit in the Arab Republic of Egypt:

  • Exempted pursuant to an express provision set forth in international conventions to which the Arab Republic of Egypt is a party, within the limits of such conventions.

  • Administrative employees who work in embassies and consulates of Arab and foreign countries, organizations and agencies of regional and international organizations in the Arab Republic of Egypt who come to the country in accordance with the decisions issued by the competent authority of their country .

  • Foreign correspondents working in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

  • Foreign clerics who carry out their activities for free.

  • Foreign workers on Egyptian vessels on the high seas outside territorial waters.

  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) foreign workers.

  • Members and experts of institutes, centers and missions working in the field of architectural research and ancient Egyptian antiquities.

  • Foreign investors who have obtained an “investor residence” to carry out their activities in the country in accordance with the provisions of the law regulating so.

Third: Procedures for obtaining a work permit for foreigners in the Arab Republic of Egypt:

The procedures for obtaining a work permit for foreigners in the Arab Republic of Egypt are divided into three stages, as follows:

First stage: Any structure wishing to recruit or be exempted from recruiting foreigners to work for it must send a request to the Central Administration for Employment Regulation and Information on the Labor Market at the General Directorate of the Ministry of Labor and Immigration to approve the application for recruitment and a permit to enter the country for residence with the intention of working, taking into account the condition of reciprocity.

Second step: A foreigner, who was recruited and entered the country with a previous residence visa with the intention of working, has a maximum period of two months from the date of entry into the country to pursue the procedures and contact the competent administrative authorities or one of the offices of the General Administration of Work Permits for Foreigners to obtain a work permit.

Third step : After obtaining a work permit, a foreign employee must go to the General Administration of Passports, Immigration and Nationality, which is competent for the execution of work permits on passports.

Fourth: Documents related to obtaining a work permit for foreigners in the Arab Republic of Egypt:

The documents vary depending on the steps mentioned above. We will mention some of these documents, which include, for example, and are not limited to, the following:

  • A clear copy of the foreigner’s passport.

  • Abroad qualifications and experience approved by the Egyptian Embassy Abroad or the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • That the qualification must be appropriate to the profession in which the foreigner is called upon to work. Otherwise, it is sufficient to have an endorsed and certified Certificate of Experience, provided that its duration is not less than three years in the field.

  • A certificate stating that the foreigner is free from immunodeficiency disease (AIDS), except for (foreigners married to Egyptian women and their children – foreigners residing in the country who have not left the country in the last ten years).

  • A copy of the documents of the company (Statutes – commercial register – tax card – Social insurance form n° (2), etc.).

Fourth: Professions, Trades and Trades which foreigners are prohibited from practicing:

  • Tourist guidance.

  • Export and import trade.

  • Clearance.

Fifth: Duration and costs:

  • The license is issued for one year or less after payment of the prescribed fee, and fractions of a year are considered as a whole year. License fees are estimated as follows:

  • Five thousand Egyptian pounds when the license is approved for the first year, and the fee is increased by one thousand pounds for each subsequent year until the third year.

  • Ten thousand Egyptian pounds in case of license renewal approval from the fourth year, provided that the royalties are increased by one thousand pounds for each subsequent year until the sixth year.

  • Fifteen thousand Egyptian pounds if approved for renewal of the license from the seventh year, provided that the royalties are increased by one thousand pounds for each subsequent year up to the tenth year.

  • Twenty thousand Egyptian pounds in case of approval of the license renewal from the eleventh year, it being understood that the royalties will be increased by two thousand pounds for each following year, with a maximum of fifty thousand pounds.

  • Eight thousand Egyptian pounds for the first year in case the company is excluded from the percentage of (10%) prescribed for foreign workers, after the approval of the relevant exception committee formed in this regard, with an increase in the fees of two thousand pounds for each following year, with a maximum of fifty thousand pounds.

In addition to the fees prescribed for the application for recruitment or exemption from recruitment from abroad and the fees for executing a work visa on the passport referred to in the procedures for obtaining a work permit for foreigners in the Republic Arabic from Egypt set out above.

To note: The prescribed fees may vary from time to time depending on the considerations of the competent administrative authority.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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