Mozambique's corporate immigration framework

The regulation of the employment of foreign nationals in Mozambique is governed by the Labour Law (23/2007). The hiring of foreign employees is also subject to specific legislation, including (i) the General Hiring of Expats Regulation (Decree 37/2016); (ii) the Regulation on the Hiring of Expats in the Petroleum and Mining Sector (Decree 63/2011); and (iii) the Immigration Law Regulation (Decree 108/2014).

Which permit is required?

The labour laws states two different work permits for long-term secondments, namely (i) work permit within the quota or labour communication; and (ii) work permit above the quota or work authorisation. The Mozambican labour regime restricts the admission of expatriates working for Mozambican companies or branches, as per the following percentages below:

  • 5 per cent if a large company or branch (with more than 100 employees);
  • 8 per cent if a medium-sized company or branch (between 10 and 100 employees); and
  • 10 per cent 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 justifies the hiring of such foreign national by proving that the individual possesses certain skills and knowledge that cannot be found in any other potential Mozambican candidate. Further, in terms of article 31(6) of the Labour Law, investment projects approved by the Government which contemplate the employment foreign nationals in a smaller or greater percentage than foreseen above, work permits shall not be required, and it shall be sufficient for notice to be given to the Minister of Labour within fifteen days after the foreign national enters Mozambique.

A Mozambican company who wishes to employ a foreign employee, must submit an application for a work permit before the employee enters Mozambique. There is a three step process which is to be followed before a foreign employee is able to start working and legally living in Mozambique. The first step is for the local employer to submit the application to the labour authorities. This step process takes approximately one to three weeks (for a work permit within the quota) and four to six months (for a work permit above the quota or work authorisation). The second step is for the foreign employee is to apply for a work visa at the Mozambican consulate in the country of origin, or the nearest consulate to that country of origin. The third step is for the employee to obtain the residence permit. For an employee working in Mozambique, the general maximum period is 24 months while the minimum period is 30 days. Certain sectors dictate different time periods which varying form the general position.

Mozambique has published new regulations which are due to take effect on 30 November 2016. In terms of the new regulations, foreign employees will now be required to meet minimum qualification and professional skills requirements in order to fulfil the role that for which they wish to be employed.

Visas or residence permits allow foreigners entrance to Mozambique, for the period for which it is granted, however does not entitle the visitor to earn a living in Mozambique.

There are three types of residence. Firstly, interim residence is issued on application to a foreigner staying in Mozambique for more than 90 days and less than five years. Secondly, temporary residence is issued on application to a foreign citizen who has had interim residence for more than five years. Thirdly, permanent residence is issued on application to a foreigner who has had temporary residence for over 10 years (consecutively). Both interim and temporary residence permits are valid for one year and are renewable for the same period. The permanent residence permit is valid for five years and is renewable for the same period as long as the reasons for granting it remain valid. However, there is also the possibility of obtaining a permanent lifetime residence if the conditions for this are met.

Requirements 

Mozambique recognises two categories of permits relevant to this alert, the work permit and the residence permit, albeit in different types.

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Spouses and dependants

Only dependants (please note that Mozambican legislation does not recognise partnerships or marriages between people of the same gender) of foreign nationals holding permanent residence permits are allowed to work in Mozambique subject to the dependant being granted specific approval. Dependants of foreign nationals holding a temporary residence permit are not allowed to work in Mozambique. There are no social benefits for dependants stipulated in the law.

Renewal 

The foreign employee must arrive in Mozambique within 30 days after issuance of the work visa. The residence permit is valid for one year and can be renewed. A foreign employee's contract may be renewed as many times as required, although the approval of the Ministry of Labour is mandatory. Work permits and residence permits can be extended as many times as required, provided that the requirements for the extensions are met and are duly approved by the competent authorities.

Practical Considerations

Short-term work permits are available for occasional and specific services not exceeding 90 days in a calendar year. It may be worth while 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.