Legal perspective

The Angolan legal system allows any foreign citizen to perform a professional activity in Angola, without prejudice of international law.

However, as we will explain below, the foreign employment legislation is subject to an “Angolanization” policy.

The use of non-resident foreign work force in Angola is governed by Decree-Law no. 5/95 of April 7 and Decree-Law no. 6/01 of January 19.

Law no. 2/00 of February 11, known as the General Labour Law1, is the standard basis for all the labor relationships in Angola. This also governs employment agreements for non-resident individuals in every aspect which is not covered either by a special law or by bilateral agreements.

Law no. 2/07 of August 31, which governs the legal situation of foreign citizens in the Angolan Republic should also be taken into account. This law was implemented by the Presidential Decree no. 108/11 of May 25. 

Concerning the employment of foreign citizens, there are specific rules for both private investment and the oil sector in Angola. Therefore, the provisions of Law no. 20/11 of May 20, the Administrative Decree no. 45/10 of May 10 and also of Decree-Law no. 17/09 of June 26 should be taken into account as well.

Employment of non-resident foreign workers

Angolan legislation considers a non-resident foreign employee any foreign citizen not residing in Angola and who has a professional qualification, either technical or scientific, who was employed in a foreign country to perform his professional activity for a determined period of time.

In fact, Angola is considered as being non-sufficient regarding workforce resources.

Please note that the hiring of non-resident foreigners should be made in equal conditions as those applicable to domestic employees, namely regarding working conditions and remuneration.

However, in general terms, companies, either domestic or foreign, are only allowed to employ a quota of 30 percent of non-resident foreign workforce.

To employ any non-resident foreign worker, the employee must meet the following main requirements to:

  • be of age;
  • have technical or scientific qualification, duly proved;
  • have physical and mental ability;
  • not have any criminal record.

Besides other duties, such employees should assure that the Angolan employees, with whom they will cooperate, are able to gather from their activity the greatest possible knowledge and useful technical information to enable them to pass on that knowledge and information to other Angolan workers.

This type of agreement will have a minimum duration of three months and a maximum limit of 36 months, after which the non-resident foreign employee must return to his country of origin. 

The employment agreement shall include, in addition to the obligations both parties have undertaken, the following information regarding the employee:

  1. full name and registered address;
  2. professional qualification;
  3. place of work;
  4. weekly timetable;
  5. salary amount and payment method;
  6. commitment to return to the country of origin after termination of the agreement;
  7. date and commencement of the services to be performed;
  8. place and date of signature of the agreement; and
  9. signature of both contracting parties.

On the date of the signature of the agreement, the non-resident foreign worker shall sign a sworn statement through which he undertakes to respect and ensure the respect for the laws of the Angolan Republic.

The agreement shall be made in three ways and registered at the Employment Office in the company’s premises, upon an employer’s application stating the grounds for the recruitment, together with the following documentation:

  1. work visa; and
  2. staff plan distributed by  occupational categories and citizenship.

The above mentioned application shall be registered at the respective Employment Office 30 days prior to the beginning of the employee’s professional activity.

The non-resident foreign employees performing any activity in Angola shall pay taxes in accordance with the provisions established for tax contributions; in particular, any worker shall pay income tax.

Any political activity within the Angolan territory is forbidden to foreign workers.

Work visa

Any work visa is granted either by the Angolan Diplomatic Missions or Consulates and is necessary to allow the entry of any work visa holder in the Angolan territory, with the purpose to perform a professional activity in such territory.

The work visa shall be used by the respective holder within the 60 days following its granting. It will have a minimum validity of three months and a maximum validity of 36 months, according to the agreement duration, and will grant the employee multiple entries in the country and a stay until the end of the contract.

Any employee who is a holder of a work visa is only allowed to perform his/her professional activity for the company that has applied for that work visa, in an exclusivity regime.

In case any foreign citizen performs any work activity in Angola without the necessary authorization (which is granted to him/her by a work visa), both the employee and the company will be obligated to pay penalties and, as for the employee, he/she may be expelled from the country.

The private investment and the oil sector

The Private Investment Law and the legal provisions foreseen specifically to the oil sector are subject to the so-called “Angolanization” referred above. However, in the scope of both sectors, and in practical terms, the “situation” regarding the employment of non-resident workers is frequently remedied.

In fact, the law establishes that Angolan companies should adopt an Angolanization policy, i.e., the companies should gradually substitute foreign employees with the national work force. This implies a constant and gradual training of the national work force so that foreign employees may be replaced.

Furthermore, in relation to the Private Investment Law and the legal provisions for the oil sector, the employment of Angolan workers for management functions and leading positions is considered as a priority. This is why foreign employees in those functions are being progressively replaced by Angolan workers.

Please note that, in the oil sector, the employment of foreign personnel is subject to a previous authorization from the Ministry of Petroleum and the grounds for the employment of foreign workers instead of national workers must be justified.

Synthesis

It is possible to employ non-resident foreign individuals for a determined period of time.

Marco Correia Gadanha (MC&A in association with Dentons)