Staff assignment in Egypt: Entry and residence of foreign service providers

​published on July 15, 2019

Authors: Dr. Christian Ule and Carla Everhardt

 

If foreign service providers wish to send qualified personnel to Egypt in order to fulfil an order, they must observe the relevant provisions of Egyptian residence law. Specialized service providers usually only travel to Egypt for a short period of time, but they must also face the challenges of the Egyptian bureaucracy.

 

 

Due to the national problem of high unemployment, it is largely difficult for foreign workers to obtain a work permit. An exception is made for skilled workers with a high degree of specialization. The following article deals with such skilled workers.

   

Work assignment in Egypt

The legal basis for issuing a work permit essentially consists of two regulations announced by the Ministry of Labor and Immigration: Regulation No. 305/2015 lays down the material requirements for issuing a work permit (ArbErlVO) and Regulation No. 485/2010, which specifically regulates the procedure for issuing a work permit (ArbErlVerfVO).

 

The existence of an Egyptian employment contract is not a mandatory condition for the granting of a work permit for Egypt according to the regulations on entry and residence of foreign workers. However, the law provides for the participation of an Egyptian company in the process of granting a work permit in which the foreign worker wants to be employed. However, this company does not have to act as a local employer. According to the valid regulations on the procedure and the conditions for granting a work permit to foreign citizens, it is already sufficient if the Egyptian customer of the foreign service provider (who is sending the employees to Egypt) fulfils the corresponding cooperation obligations within the framework of the work permit application procedure.

 

However, it must be taken into account that this employee assignment in Egypt (from the perspective of Egyptian law) is subject to local labour law – irrespective of the actual existence of an Egyptian employer.

   

Entry to Egypt

For entry into Egypt, the expatriate requires an appropriate entry visa on the one hand, and a valid work permit on the other.

 

Whoever enters Egypt with a business visa may negotiate contracts and pursue business transactions under company law in Egypt. However, seconded specialists, such as fitters, engineers, consultants or programmers, who are to provide certain services (e.g. assembly work or training) on site, require a work permit. 

 

Due to the long waiting times for work permits to be issued, for short assignments of a few weeks or months, expatriates may enter with a business visa or even a tourist visa for the sake of simplicity, and carry out their work without a work permit. Strictly speaking, this is illegal. The law only provides for an exemption from the obligation to obtain a work permit for special occupational groups, provided that the stay is limited to a few days (Art. 2 No. 10 ArbErlVO mentions, among others, doctors who travel to Egypt to perform an operation).

  

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