Knowledge transfer through skills importation in developing countries is a key factor in advancing labour markets and the economy. In continuation of our discussion on immigration consideration when seconding employees to key African jurisdictions, in this edition, we consider the United Republic of Tanzania (Tanzania).

Tanzania's corporate immigration framework

The Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act, 2015 (NCERA) came into effect on 15 September 2015.

The purpose of the Act is to regulate employment of foreign nationals in Mainland Tanzania. Importantly, NCERA does not extend to Tanzania Zanzibar. NCERA must be read alongside the Immigration Act, 1995 (Immigration Act) that regulates immigration into Tanzania. Contrary to the NCERA, the Immigration Act extends to both Tanzania Zanzibar and Mainland Zanzibar.

Which permit is required?

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

A work permit is issued by the Labour Commissioner, while the residence permit is issued by the Immigration Services Department. 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.

Work Permit

As with all jurisdictions, the type of work permit required depends on the reason for the visit. A work permit issued in terms of NCERA is not transferable and is only valid for the purpose for which it was issued.

There are five types of work permits:

  1. Class A - Issued to a foreign investor who is self employed.
  2. Class B - Issued to a foreign national who is in possession of a prescribed  profession.
  3. Class C - Issued to a foreign national who is in possession of other profession.
  4. Class D - Issued to a foreign national employed or engaged in a registered religious and charitable activities.
  5. Class E - Issued to refugees.

We deal briefly with work permit Classes A-C below:

  Class A Class B Class C
Definition of Category Issued to a foreign investor who is self employed. A self employed person is a person who is engaged in economic activity which is not under any contract of employment or under supervision and who earns a living through such an activity. Issued to a foreign national who is in possession of a prescribed profession. 'Prescribed Profession'includes medical and health care professionals, experts in oil and gas and teachers and university lecturers in science and mathematics. Issued to foreign national who holds another profession, other than a Prescribed Profession.
Prescribed Fee USD 1,000 USD 500 USD 1,000
Duration Foreign investors who are considered to be valuable through their  contribution to the economy and well being of Tanzanians may be granted a work permit that is valid for over 10 years. A work permit is valid for a period of 24 months from the date of issue and may be renewed for a further 36 months. The total period that a permit may be valid may not exceed a period of 5 years, taking into consideration the date of the first issue, subject to renewal. A work permit is valid for a period of 24 months from the date of issue and may be renewed for a further 36 months. The total period that a permit may be valid may not exceed a period of 5 years, taking into consideration the date of the first issue, subject to renewal.
Apply to / Issued by Application to the Labour Commissioner in Tanzania for a work visa. Upon approval, the Labour Commissioner will issue the permit. Application  to the Labour Commissioner in Tanzania for a work visa. Upon approval, the Labour Commissioner will issue permit. Application to the Labour Commissioner in Tanzania for a work visa. Upon  approval, the Labour Commissioner will issue permit.
What needs to submitted when applying The foreign national will need to fill in the form set out in the First Schedule of the NCERA and pay the prescribed fee. The documents specified in the Second Schedule of the NCERA need to accompany the  application. The foreign national will need to fill in the form set out in the First Schedule of the NCERA and pay the prescribed fee. The documents specified in the Second Schedule of the NCERA need to accompany the application. The foreign national will need to fill in the form set out in the First Schedule of the NCERA and pay the prescribed fee. The documents specified in the Second Schedule of the NCERA need to accompany the application.

Residence Permit

There are 3 classes of residence permits granted, subject to the discretion of the Immigration Authority:

  • Class A: to foreign nationals intending to enter and remain in Tanzania and engage in trade, business, profession, agriculture, animal husbandry, prospecting of minerals and manufacturing.
  • Class B: to foreign nationals who are offered specific employment by a specific employer and where s/he has the required qualification and experience.
  • Class C: to foreign national, other than prohibited immigrants who do not qualify for Class A or B permits.

Spouses and Dependants

A dependant is considered to be an individual who is materially dependant upon the earnings of another as defined by the Immigration Act. The Immigration Act does not envisage that dependants can be husbands or major children (over 18 years old). Thus, dependants - for the purposes of obtaining a dependant visa - will only be the wife and/or minor children of the main visa applicant.

The applicant has to provide documentation that supports the existence of the relationship between themselves and the dependant. In addition, they need to indicate that they are able to support their dependants.

Notable compliance considerations for employers

The NCERA places an obligation upon employers to ensure that there is knowledge and skills transfer to Tanzanian citizens. In this regard, an employer's are required to prepare a succession plan. In order to regulate the employment of foreign nationals, employers are also required to report on the foreign nationals in their employ.

  • Succession Plan

An employer who intends to employ a foreign national  is required to prepare a succession plan. In this plan, the employer must  set out a plan relating to how the foreign national will transfer their knowledge and expertise to Tanzanian citizens during their tenure with the employer. In addition to the succession plan, the employer is also required to establish an effective training programme that will enable local employees to undertake the duties of the foreign national should s/he leave Tanzania.  

  • Returns

An employer employing foreign nationals must, on 30 June and 31 December each year, submit Returns on Employment to the Labour Commissioner, listing each of the foreign nationals in its employ. The form can be found in Fifth Schedule of the NCERA. If the employment of a foreign national ceases at any time during the 6 months between returns, the employer shall immediately report the cessation to the Labour Commissioner.

Practical considerations

In addition to obtaining immigration approval for the employee's assignment, employers should ensure that the requisite employment and secondment agreements are in place. Where there will be an employment agreement in existence in both the home country and in the foreign country, the employer should be careful to avoid conflict between the two agreements. Thought should be given to the action plan should either one of the employment agreements be terminated, for whatever reason.

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