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Immigration changes in Angola, Mozambique and South Africa

MOZAMIBIQUE | DIRE Residency Document No Longer Required for New Foreign Hires
Effective immediately, foreign nationals entering Mozambique with a work visa will no longer be required to obtain an Identification and Residency Document for Foreigners (DIRE). Instead, their work visas will be extended up to one year based on the length their employment contracts.

This change only affects new hires going forward. Current DIRE holders will continue to use their DIRE until their current work visa expires. Also note that this change only applies to the work visa holder, and dependent family members of work visa holders are still required to obtain a DIRE.

 

SOUTH AFRICA & ANGOLA | New Reciprocal Visa Waiver
Effective December 1, the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will implement a reciprocal visa waiver for Angolan citizens for stays of up to 30, to a maximum of 90 days per year. Angolan passport holders will no longer require Port of Entry Visas in advance of travel to South Africa for the purposes of general business, tourism, or family visits and will be issued a 30-day Visitor’s Visa at the Port of Entry upon arrival in South Africa. Reciprocally, Angolan authorities are expected to no longer require visas for South African citizens to enter Angola for the same purposes and periods of stay.

Note, however, that this visa waiver does not include visits for the purposes of work, study, or self-employment. Angolan nationals who are conducting short-term work in South Africa are still required to obtain a Port of Entry Visa with authorization to conduct work under Section 11(2) of the Immigration Act prior to travel. These may be applied for at the VFS Visa Application Centers of the South African Embassy in Angola or at the appropriate South African overseas diplomatic missions for Angolan citizens residing abroad.

 

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Challenges of an African education

In addition to immigration complexities, security issues and cultural considerations, families relocating to Africa face the challenge of choosing a suitable education pathway. We look at the options.

Assignees moving to Africa often find the process uniquely challenging, owing to immigration complexities, security issues and cultural considerations. Those with school-age children face the added challenge of choosing a suitable education pathway. We look at the availability of international schooling in the region, and offer advice to help parents choose a school.With significant economic growth and one African country forming the ‘N’ in MINTs (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey), the countries expected to become economic powerhouses of the future, the continent of Africa is coming into sharper focus in the world of global mobility as organisations across the world, in search of growth, look to it for new opportunities.The latest reports bear this out. EY’s 2016 Africa Attractiveness survey, Navigating Africa’s Current Uncertainties, found that, despite current uncertainties, the longer-term outlook for economic growth and investment in Africa remained positive.“The next few years will be tough – partly, even largely, as a result of a fragile global economy – but many African economies remain resilient, with two-thirds of sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries still growing at rates above the global average,” said the report.Even though growth across the region is uneven and likely to remain slower in coming years, SSA will continue for the foreseeable future to be the world’s second-fastest-growing region, after emerging Asia. Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Ivory Coast are among 17 economies in the region that are forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to have grown in 2016.Larger SSA countries, such as Nigeria and Angola, have been particularly affected by lower oil prices, and growth in South Africa remains slow.Foreign direct investment (FDI) projects increased by 7 per cent year on year, from 722 in 2014 to 771 in 2015. Africa is one of only two regions in the world to have seen growth in the number of FDI projects over the past year.

School choice

Luckily, international schooling has also seen something of a boom in the region. According to the latest figures from the International School Consultancy (ISC) Group, there are currently 792 English-medium international schools throughout Africa, between them teaching more than 339,000 students. ISC Research predicts that there will be more than 1,500 such schools by 2025.

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Guide to visa requirements for work in Africa

Given the growth in Africa, employers are regularly seconding their employees to businesses in other jurisdictions.

Algeria

In Algeria, work permits are only available for posts, which cannot be undertaken by Algerian nationals. Further, foreign employees may not be hired unless they have a minimum of a ‘technical level of qualification’.

An employer must make a declaration to the competent authorities within 48 hours of hiring a foreign national and present any documents, which give that employer the right to hire foreigners. On termination of the employee’s contract, the employer must again inform the authorities.

There is no official English translation of the Algerian laws and consulates appear to apply the regulations with slight modifications. For this reason, those wishing to start businesses or send employees to Algeria should consult their nearest consulate or embassy.

Angola

In Angola, a foreign national seeking employment requires a work visa. The work visa allows its holder multiple entries into Angola and the holder can remain in Angola until the work contract expires.

The work visa must be used within 60 days of the date of its concession. It allows the holder to work in Angola for a period of 12 months, which can be prolonged for equal periods, up until the termination of the work contract.

Once a foreign worker has worked in Angola for a minimum of five years and wishes to relocate permanently to Angola, he or she will be entitled to apply for a residence visa. The residence visa entitles its holder to carry on a paid job.

Botswana

In Botswana, a foreign national issued with a work permit does not automatically qualify for a residence permit. As such, the foreign national must make two separate applications, one for a residence permit and another for a work permit. It is common for both applications to be submitted simultaneously.

There are no special permits for individuals who possess scarce skills but individuals possessing scarce skills obtain more points in the visa evaluation process.

Burundi

In Burundi, a foreigner is able to enter the country for a limited period of three months (for business or touristic purposes) by obtaining an ordinary visa, also called an entry visa (le visa d’entrée). Once in the country, a foreigner wishing to live and work in Burundi will have to apply for a visa d’etablissement.

A foreign worker wishing to work in Burundi is required to obtain an invitation authenticated by the Immigration Office in Burundi or by the Ministry of External Relations and International Cooperation, which forms part of the visa application.

In terms of the Règlementation de l’emploi des étrangers au Burundi, foreign labourers should not exceed 20% of the Burundian company’s employees.

Egypt

To work in Egypt, a foreign employee requires an entry visa, a residence permit and a work permit. An employer who wishes to hire a foreign employee must submit a comprehensive formal request to the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration.

Foreigners are prohibited from working as tour guides, exporters, importers and customer officers. Furthermore, certain professions require a specific authorisation from the relevant authority.

The maximum percentage of foreigners that may be employed by corporate entities in Egypt is 10%. However, the competent Minister can vary this percentage upon approval.

Ghana

A foreign national issued with a work permit or an immigration quota permit in Ghana does not automatically qualify for a residence permit. A foreigner that has been granted a work permit or immigrant quota cannot start working immediately in Ghana unless the Director of Immigration grants that person residence permit. A foreign national, must therefore make two separate applications, one for a residence permit and another for a work permit.

One month before the expiry of a work permit, a foreign national may apply to the Immigrant Quota Committee for the renewal of his permit, which is treated as if it were a fresh application.

A foreign national granted a work permit or immigrant quota work permit must also submit an annual return, which must be completed prior to 14th of January in each year.

Kenya

To engage in employment in Kenya, foreign nationals are required to obtain work permits, and people who intend remaining in Kenya for work or business purposes for a short period of time can obtain a special pass. It is issued to a person who intends to engage in any form of employment (whether paid or unpaid) or in any other income generating activity. The special pass is valid for a period not exceeding three months.

Mozambique

In Mozambique, the labour laws provide for two different work permits for long-term secondments, namely a work permit within the quota or labour communication; and a work permit above the quota or work authorisation. The Mozambican labour regime restricts the admission of expatriates working for Mozambican companies or branches: 5% if a large company or branch (with more than 100 employees); 8% if a medium-sized company or branch (between 10 and 100 employees); and 10% if a small company or branch (fewer than 10 employees).

However, a Mozambican company may apply for a work permit above the quota for a foreign national, if it can prove that individual possesses certain skills and knowledge that cannot be found in any other potential Mozambican candidate.

Further, in terms of the Labour Law (23/2007), investment projects approved by the Government which contemplate the employment foreign nationals in a smaller or greater percentage than foreseen above, do not require work permits and notice must be given to the Minister of Labour within fifteen days after the foreign national enters Mozambique.

A Mozambican company that wishes to employ a foreign employee must apply for a work permit before the employee enters Mozambique. There is a three-step process, which is to be followed before a foreign employee can start working and legally living in Mozambique. Short-term work permits are available for occasional and specific services not exceeding 90 days in a calendar year. It may be worthwhile considering the cost and time implications of a short-term work permit versus an ordinary work permit if an employee is rendering services not exceeding 90 days in a calendar year.

Nigeria

Individuals travelling to Nigeria on short-term assignments require either a Temporary Work Permit or a Business Visitor’s Visa. The provisions in the Immigration Act, 2015 pertaining to foreign nationals requiring visas, work permit and residence permits do not apply to nationals of member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECWAS). ECWAS nationals are exempted from requiring entry visas and can work, reside and undertake commercial and industrial activities within Nigeria.

Long-term assignments are linked to specific job designations, meaning that the visa is connected to both the entity and the position in which the foreign national employee will be assigned. There is a specific process, which the employer is required to follow before the employee can apply for their work visa.

South Africa

A foreign national who wishes to work in South Africa needs to obtain the appropriate temporary residence visa. The Immigration Act 2002 and its regulations provide for different types of work visas, depending on the circumstances surrounding the applicant’s entry into South Africa.

The General Work Visa is issued to applicants who do not have skills and/or expertise listed on the critical skills list. One of the key issues in obtaining a general work visa is that the employer must be able to demonstrate that there are no South African citizens or permanent residents with qualifications or skills and experience equivalent to those of the foreign applicant.

The Critical Skills Work Visa is issued to applicants in possession of skills or qualifications that are considered critical. The employer does not have to demonstrate that it was unable to find a suitable citizen or permanent resident for the relevant position.

The Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa is issued in circumstances where multi-national companies may decide to transfer an existing employee in a key position from a foreign branch to a branch, subsidiary or an affiliate of that company in South Africa.

Tanzania

A foreign national desirous of working in Tanzania needs to obtain both a residence and a work permit.

An individual issued with a work permit does not automatically qualify for a residence permit. Thus, the foreign nation must make two separate applications – one to the Labour Commissioner and the other to the Immigration Services Department.

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Immigration News and Updates

Mozambique
Mozambican officials have begun conducting audits of employers in Cabo Delgado province in an effort to find violations of immigration and labor law.
Mozambique recently tightened several laws on foreign work permits, and the government is conducting regular employer audits that may be scheduled or unannounced.
Further to the recent inspections undertaken in Maputo Province, the General Labor Inspectorate of the Ministry of Labor has now extended its site visits to Cabo Delgado province, initially focusing on mining and construction companies that are based there.
Employers may be fined for employing a worker without a work permit where one is required, and repeat offenders may have their facilities closed. Fines are determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the type of violation involved. In addition, the government will publish the details of noncompliant companies and foreign workers in the local media. Foreign nationals working without a work permit may be fined and are frequently deported.

Morocco
Foreign nationals applying for or renewing residency permits are now required to fill out a new form with additional personal details and submit it to the main police station in Casablanca.
The form is comparable to a resume in asking about educational background and work experience, but also seeks information about the applicant’s family members, religion, political membership and previous travel.
To avoid delay, all pending and future applications for residence permits should include the new form.

South Africa
South African authorities have said they will put recently announced changes on the validity period of visas on hold pending further discussions.
Visas will remain valid beyond the expiration date of a visa holder’s passport and, pending further notification, authorities will continue to recognize the transfer of an existing visa from an old passport to a new passport. A Department of Home Affairs instruction that had aimed to change these rules has been scrapped.
South African authorities said earlier this month that visas would automatically expire 30 days before the expiration date on a visa h
older’s passport, regardless of for how long the visa was initially issued. BAL has learned, however, that the government has put this change on hold and will discuss the matter further. This means that for visas issued with a validity period that extends beyond the validity period of a passport, authorities will allow visa holders to travel into South Africa with their expired passport, their visa and their new passport. Those already in South Africa can transfer their visa from an old passport to a new passport.
South Africa’s reversal on a policy that would have created extensive administrative burdens on employers and visa holders is welcome news. That said, officials appear to be reviewing the policy, and additional change is still possible.

Kenya
Kenya has made it easier for stateless persons, migrants and their descendants to obtain citizenship.
A new regulation allows authorities to waive fees and documentation requirements for stateless persons, migrants and their descendants who are applying for citizenship and meet other qualifying criteria.
The change was made to provide the right to obtain citizenship to residents of Kenya who would otherwise be eligible for citizenship but who lacked proper documentation and, in some cases, the ability to pay the required government fees. After the regulation was issued, for example, members of the Makonde community, who have lived in Kenya for more than 50 years but were considered stateless persons, are now able to obtain citizenship.
The change will not have much of an impact on business, other than to facilitate evidencing the right to work of formerly stateless employees, but the eased processes are welcome news for those in Kenya who have had trouble obtaining citizenship because of a lack of supporting documents.

This information was sourced from balglobal.com

About our team: Rene Stegmann, Director, MBA, MIM, GMS

Thesis on Hurdles and Costs Relating to Expats in Africa (2000); qualified as a Global Mobility Specialist (GMS).Rene-Stegman-Profile15

Rene has been running Relocation Africa since and has delivered a diverse portfolio of programs and services regarding migration to the African continent. Relocation Africa’s services now include Research (surveys) and International Payroll/payment management services for African countries. Rene also provides HR consultation services to Corporates investing into Africa. As a SARA member, Rene contributes to the local remuneration industry as well as infusing the ERC with some African exposure.  Relocation Africa is a proud member of TIRA and she was elected Vice President of the association (2016).  Her company holds many prestigious awards and Rene was recognized for her valuable contribution to the MI Group’s Worldwide Partner Network International Advisory Council (2014/’15).  Rene and her family live in Cape Town where she and her husband, Andrew, work together.   Her undying love for what she does can be seen in every aspect of how Relocation Africa conducts business.