Immigration changes in Africa: Morocco and Zambia

MOROCCO | Online Work Permit Submission Now Mandatory

Effective June 1, companies sponsoring foreign national employees for work permits are required to submit applications and track their progress using the Ministry of Labor and Professional Integration’s (MOL) Taechir online portal. Furthermore, the MOL has announced that it will no longer accept submission of manual work permit applications. Companies that have not used the online process in the past should register on the Taechir site immediately to obtain log-in credentials to avoid delay in submitting future applications.

This final MOL announcement making the electronic process mandatory brings no change in application requirements. The initial application submission is completed online and notification of adjudication or requests for additional documents are sent through email. However, subsequent paper submission of signed original forms and documents to the Department of Employment is still required.

The Moroccan online application system has been available now for over a year, and Pro-Link GLOBAL has already been successfully filing work permit applications through the platform. With these applications, we have already seen a significant improvement in processing times with most applications being adjudicated within two to three weeks.

ZAMBIA | New Stricter Employment Permit Guidelines Issued

Effective May 26, the Zambian Department of Immigration (DOI) has issued revised guidelines covering foreign nationals seeking employment permits to work in the country. The new stricter guidelines are in furtherance of the county’s Zambianization policy to increase local worker employment while still allowing companies access to needed foreign talent. The changes are of particular note to Zambia’s large mineral mining sector, which accounts for 75 percent of the country’s exports.

Companies should take note that new guidelines – applicable to employment permits valid longer than six months – are a significant departure from past practice. Included in the changes are the following:

  • Applications – Applications for employment permits must be submitted in-country to the DOI in Lusaka prior to the foreign national arriving in Zambia. Sponsoring companies using third-party agents to submit applications must designate a single agent as authorized to act on their behalf for all employment permit applications.
  • Employment Permit Validity – Permits will no longer be valid for a standard two-year period. Rather, the length of the permit will be determined by the DOI on a case-by-case basis. Sponsoring companies must specify in the application the length of intended employment in Zambia for the foreign employee, and the DOI will then rule on the maximum length for which the permit will be issued. Points to be considered by the DOI are the industry in question, size and stage of the company’s development, and the scarcity of the worker’s skills.
  • Recruitment Efforts and Job Advertisement – Sponsoring companies must provide a summary showing evidence of local recruitment efforts, including two advertisements of the open position in leading Zambian newspapers.
  • Subcontractors – Companies that subcontract with foreign companies must provide information on their organizational structure and number of local and foreign workers employed by the subcontractor.
  • Zambianization Plan – Sponsoring companies will be required to submit a “succession plan” providing the names of local employees and a plan to train them to eventually replace the foreign worker.
  • Quarterly Labor Audits – The DOI’s Immigration Permits Committee (IPC) will conduct quarterly audits to verify the number of local and foreign workers employed by companies at any given time. The IPC will partner with other agencies, including the Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Mines, in their audits.
  • Required Documents – In addition to the above, the revised guidelines now contain a more extensive list of required documents to be submitted along with employment permit applications.

The official publication of the new Revised Guidelines for Employment Permit Issuance is available online here. The Zambian Home Affairs Minister had called a suspension of issuing employment permits to foreign nationals in February of this year, citing abuse on the current system. The suspension – purportedly to give officials time to implement the new revised guidelines – has now been lifted.

These changes are part of an ongoing movement to overhaul the Zambian immigration system, which is locally seen as inadequate for the global economy. Reportedly, plans are also underway to implement a new national biometric identification card system, rules for dual citizenship, and increased tourist visa options.