In continuation of our discussion on immigration considerations when seconding employees to key African jurisdictions, in this edition, we consider the People's Republic of Algeria (Algeria).
Algeria's corporate immigration framework
The employment of foreign nationals and their ability to do business in Algeria is governed by a series of laws and decrees including: Law 8-11 of 25 June 2008 (Loi No. 08-11 du 25 juin 2008 relative aux conditions d'entrée, de séjour et de circulation des étrangers en Algérie); Executive Decree 6-454 of 11 December 2006 (Décret exécutif n° 06-454 du 11 décembre 2006 relatif à la carte professionnelle délivrée aux étrangers exerçant sur le territoire national une activité commerciale, industrielle et artisanale ou une profession libérale); Presidential Decree 03-251 of 19 July 2003 (Décret présidentiel No. 03-251 du 19 Joumada El Oula 1424 correspondant au 19 juillet 2003 relative à la situation des étrangers en Algérie); Decree 82-510 of 25 December 1982 (Décret n° 82-510 du 25 décembre 1982, fixant les modalités d'attribution du permis de travail et de l'autorisation de travail temporaire aux travailleurs étrangers); Law 81-10 of 11 July 1981 (Loi No. 81-10 due 11 juillet 1981 relative aux conditions d'emploi des travalleurs étrangers); and Law 90-11 (Loi no 90-11 du 21 Avril 1990 relative aux relations de travail).
There is no official English translation of the Algerian laws and consulates appear to apply the regulations with slight modifications. For this reason, what follows should be considered a framework only and persons wishing to start businesses or send employees to Algeria should consult their nearest consultate or embassy in person.
Which visa is required?
Algeria distinguishes between work visas which allow foreigners to engage in salaried work or and visas allowing foreigners to engage in business activities. The most pertinent visas for the purposes of this Alert are the Business Visa, Work Visa and Temporary Work Visa. The Work Visa and Temporary Work Visa require work authorisation (obtained from the Department of Labour and work permit issued after entry to the country. Business Visas are provided for persons engaged in commercial, industrial, manufacturing or professional activities and require a carte professionelle after entry to the country.
It should also be noted that Cultural Visas and Press Visas are available for persons seeking to visit Algeria for the purposes of seminars, cultural, scientific or sporting evident and for members of the press respectively.
Once obtaining the relevant visa, the Algerian Migration Law provides for residence requirements. These are dealt with separately below as they are linked to the particular Work Visa or Business Visa.
Work Authorisations and pre-Visa procedures
Foreign salaried employees, with an Algerian employer, are required to obtain a Work Authorisation from the Department of Labour prior to applying for a Work Visa or Temporary work Visa. In the case of applicants for a Business Visa, it is necessary to obtain a letter from the sending company which confirms the purpose of the visit to Algeria and the position held by the relevant person in the company.
Limitations on the issuance of authorisations for salaried employees
Work permits are available only for posts which cannot be undertaken by Algerian nationals. Further, foreign employees may not be hired unless they have a minimum of a "technical level of qualification".
To obtain a visa that allows a foreigner to work as an employee and reside in Algeria, it is necessary to first obtain (1) General Approval in Principle (Accord Global de Principe); or (2) a work authorisation or a temporary work authorisation;
The requirements for the Business Visa, Work Visa and Temporary Work Visa are as follows:
Duration of Visas
Temporary Work Visas are issued a maximum of a 3 month period (linked to the Temporary Work Authorisation) which may be renewed once. Work visas are linked to the duration of the contract up to a maximum period of two years and subject to renewal. A similar system applies for Business Visas.
Spouses and dependants
It is possible for the holder of a work visa to have their family accompany them, in terms of the regulations.
Foreign workers enjoy the same rights as their Algerian counterparts. Further, the Algerian Constitution guarantees that any foreigner that is legally present in Algeria enjoys the protection of his person and property under the law. The Revised Penal Code now limits the number of days of incarceration to which a foreign person may be subjected to 30 days. Such period is renewable pending finalization of formalities of deportation or repatriation.
Foreign employees are required to obtain temporary residence which incurs a fee. The duration of a temporary residence permit may not exceed the period of the work contract. Renewal is possible if the foreigner is able to prove the need for such renewal based on the prescribed documents. A temporary residence permit is revoked in the event that the holder leaves Algeria for an uninterrupted period of one year. Breach of the obligations attaching to a residence permit may lead to penalties of between 5,000 and 20,000 Dinar.
To be considered as permanent residents, foreigners must have the intention to make their place of residence in Algeria, "effective, regular and permanent" (effective, habituelle et permanente). If meeting the requirements, it is possible to obtain a carte de residence for a period of two years.
After having been in Algeria lawfully for seven years or more, it is possible to obtain a residence permit for a period of 10 years. In such a case, any children over the age of 18 will also be able to obtain a residence permit.
A residence permit (and thus the ability to remain lawfully in Algeria) may be revoked in the event that a foreigner no longer meets the underlying requirrements. In such cases, the foreigner must leave Algeria within 30 days from the date of notification of the need for exit. In exceptional circumstances and with proper motivation, a foreign person may request a 15 day extension.
It is also possible that a residence permit will be revoked if the foreigner engages in immoral activities or activities that are contrary to the national interest. Further, in the event that the person is convicted for an offence related to his business or work activities, the permit may be revoked. In such case, the foreign person will be deported immediately.
Immediate expulsion of a foreigner may occur as a result of a declaration by the Minister of the Interior in case of (1) threat to the public order or state security; (2) if the foreigner has been convicted for a crime or delict; or (3) if the foreigner has not left Algeria when required to do so without proper justification. According to the seriousness of the aforegoing, the foreign person will have 48 hours to leave Algeria (subject to appeal).
Business Visas may be revoked in the case of misrepresentation, bankruptcy, imprisonment for a criminal law offence or delict, death, termination of the company's activities under which the business permit has been issued, the conclusion of the role of a director or company manager, loss of the status of a retailer or deregistration of the profession.
Foreign workers have access to public services such as health and education. Estate ownership is permissible only with ministerial authorisation.
An employer is required to make the necessary deducations in terms of the Tax on Global Revenue (Impȏt sur le Revenu Global); record deductions on a pay registry or other similar document; provide the employee with pay stubs; pay tax regularly when required payments owed by all employees are made; and file a yearly declaration on salaries paid and deductions taken.
Whether the employer is a natural or juristic person, it must make a declaration within 48 hours of the doing so to the competent authorities and present any documents which give that employer the right to hire foreigners. On termination of the employee's contract, the employer must again inform the authorities.
Penalities for non-compliance
If an employer hires a foreigner but does not comply with legal requirements, it may incur a fine of between 200 000 and 800 000 Dinars.
Penalties are also provided for foreigners who exit Algeria unlawfully by using falsified documents, the identity of another person, or by using crossing points that are not official border crossings. The prescribed penalty is three to six months' inprisonment or a fine of between 20 000 and 60 000 Dinars.
Failure to comply with the terms of a Business Visa and related permit may lead to a fine of between 50 000 and 200 000 Dinars in addition to confiscation of all materials used to carry out the business activity.