Labour legislation in Senegal recognises the right of any employer to hire expatriate staff. Even if there is no provision mentioning it, in practice, expatriate hiring is accepted where the expertise or the quality of the work would not be achieved through recruitment at local level.

Labor legislation makes a distinction between the terms and conditions of recruitment between an expatriate worker and a local worker.

Unlike the local worker, expatriate workers are people of nationality different from that of the host country, who have been moved by their future employers from their home countries to work for a limited time.

However, any foreigner working in Senegalese territory is not expatriated.

For example, foreign workers who come to Senegal of their own accord are not considered expatriates. Similarly, foreign-born workers recruited locally are not considered expatriates. These two types of workers are considered to be local employees. They are subject to the provisions of the labor legislation applicable to local workers.

Requirements for the validity of the expatriate employment contract:

  • The expatriate worker must obtain a work permit. However, it is important to note that this requirement does not apply for nationals of ECOWAS member countries because of the ratification by Senegal of the Treaty of LAGOS signed on 28 May 1975. The member countries of ECOWAS are:

Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Cape Verde.

  •  The expatriate contract must be a fixed-term contract.

Therefore, an employment contract of indefinite duration is excluded from the field of expatriate work.

  •  Expatriate contracts must be submitted for the approval of the Director General of Labor and Social Security, prior to execution.

The Director shall, in particular, verify:

  •  the agreed working conditions;
  •  the identity of the worker, that the worker consented freely and the contract’s compliance with legal provisions;
  • the availability of the worker; and
  • the translation of the contract, if necessary, after both parties have read it.

The application for approval is the responsibility of the employer and if it is refused, the contract becomes void.

  •  The employer of an expatriate worker must provide decent housing or pay the worker a housing allowance.

Expatriate worker hiring process:

Two major stages are provided for by legislation:

  • Step A: Completing the administrative formalities and procedures for the approval of the contract and the work permit required by the Ministry of Labor;
  • Step B: Completing the legal formalities required by the Ministry of the Interior.

These two steps are described in table below:

Summary table of the required administrative formalities


Administrative formalities

Required documents


Step A: Administrative formalities for the approval of the employment contract


Transmission addressed by the employer to the Director General of Labor and of Social Security a visa application approval.


Four originals of the work contracts and Movement of the Worker Declaration forms, translated into French, if made in another language.

- Photocopy of the worker’s passport (of all the pages).

- Medical examination for professional aptitude.

- The worker’s criminal record (issued by the relevant embassy).


15 days in principle. However, if, after this period, the Directorate General of Labor and Social Security has not made known its decision, the approval is deemed to have been granted.


Step B: Legal formalities to obtain authorization to stay


The residence permit is issued to persons who come to Senegal with the intention to live there in a sustainable way (beyond 4 months).

To obtain this authorisation, the foreign worker must be present in Senegal and pay a deposit, the amount of which varies according to nationality.


- A handwritten application for authorisation of establishment addressed to the Minister of the Interior,

- A birth certificate, issued within the past 3 months;

- A criminal record from the worker’s country of origin issued within the past 3 months;

- A medical certificate issued by a doctor established in Senegal;

- Three passport photos;

- A certified photocopy of the passport, including the pages containing the photo, the date of validity of the passport and the stamp of arrival in the country;

- The employment contract referred to by the Directorate of Labor and Social Security;

- A tax stamp of 15,000 FCFA or 23 euros;

- The receipt of payment of the repatriation deposit.


When all the documents are in order, a deposit receipt, valid for 6 months renewable, is issued until the resident’s card is available.