IMPACT – HIGH
What is the change? Mozambique has changed immigration processes for long-term work permit holders so that they will no longer be required to apply for residence permits but will instead be able to apply in-country for work visa extensions.
What does the change mean? Long-term work permit holders now will be able to apply for work visa extensions rather than residence permits. On the whole, the change is welcome news because (1) work permit holders can complete the work visa extension application without having to appear in person to provide biometrics, and (2) processing of work visa extensions should not take as long as processing of residence permits.
- Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
- Visas/permits affected: Long-term work permit holders.
- Who is affected: The change affects foreign nationals who have been or will be issued long-term work permits and have not yet applied for the associated residence permit. The change will not affect (1) foreign nationals who have already obtained a residence permit under the old procedures, or (2) dependent family members of long-term work permit holders.
- Impact on processing times: The change is expected to save time in the application process because work permit holders will not be required to appear in person to provide biometrics when applying in-country for a work visa extension. Visa processing is expected to take a significantly shorter period of time than residence permit processing, but delays are possible as the new process is rolled out.
Background: The change brings Mozambique’s immigration processes in line with immigration regulations that were issued in 2014. Foreign nationals working in Mozambique will now (1) obtain a work permit in-country, (2) submit a work visa application at a Mozambican consulate in their home country, and (3) apply for a work visa extension upon arrival in-country. Work permit holders will no longer be required to apply for residence permits in Mozambique. Dependent family members will be required to obtain residence permits under the same processes they followed previously.
A number of questions remain about how the change, which took effect without announcement, will be implemented. For example, BAL has received mixed information about whether work visa extensions will be valid for a maximum of 12 months or two years. It is also not exactly clear how payment for work visa extensions will work. And while BAL anticipated that processing will be much quicker for work visa extensions than residence permits, thereby eliminating the need to obtain exit and entry permits while applications are pending, this has not yet been tested in practice. It is possible that officials in different parts of the country will, at least initially, follow different procedures when issuing work visa extensions.
BAL Analysis: The change will allow for long-term work permit holders to apply for work visa extensions in-country without the need to appear in person or provide biometrics, as was required when work permit holders were required to obtain separate residence permits. A number of questions about how the new process will be implemented remain open at this time.