As we continue to discuss various immigration considerations when seconding employees to key African jurisdictions, this week we take a closer look at Malawi.

Malawi's corporate immigration framework

The regulation of the employment of foreign nationals in Malawi is governed by the Immigration Act (CAP 15:03) of the Laws of Malawi, together with the Immigration Regulations promulgated pursuant to the Act.

Which visa is required?

A foreign employee desirous to work or do business in Malawi requires a visa or permit:

  • Business Visit Permit (BVP): This is a permit issued to a foreign national allowing him/her to enter and reside in Malawi for a short period, for purposes of business.
  • Temporary Employment Permit (TEP): This permit is issued to persons, for the purpose of taking up specific employment in Malawi.
  • Business Residence Permit (BRP): This permit allows a person to reside in Malawi for the purpose of carrying on, practicing or engaging in a business, profession or occupation for gain, profit or reward as self–employed person or a partner or proprietor.

The requirements for visas/work permits are as follows:

Please click here to view the table

Residency

A foreign national desirous of taking up permanent residence in Malawi may apply for Permanent Residence Permit (PRP) by submitting a prescribed application form and supporting documentation to the Immigration Headquarters or Regional Immigration Offices for processing upon payment of the processing fees prescribed by the Minister.

The application will be submitted to the Minister for decision. The Minister may, in his discretion, issue a PRP to any applicant who is in the opinion of the Minister a desirable immigrant. Once a decision is made, the applicant will be formally notified if their application has been approved or rejected. If approved, the applicant will be required to pay the appropriate fees within 30 days of notification.

Spouses and dependants 

A spouse, minor children and dependent relatives (as defined by the Immigration Act) of a permit holder can be included on the permit. For minors, the status is valid until they attain the age of 18 years. The spouse, children and dependent relatives can be included at the time of application of the permit or after the permit has already been approved.

Disqualification 

A permit can be cancelled if the holder submitted false information when submitting the application or when the holder contravenes the conditions of the permit or when the holder becomes a prohibited immigrant, among other reasons.

The following persons are considered prohibited immigrants in Malawi:

  • Any person deemed by the Minister (on economic grounds or on account of standard or habits of life) to be an undesirable inhabitant or to be unsuited to the requirements of Malawi;
  • Any person who by reason of deficient education, is unable to read or write any one of any class of language as may be prescribed by the Minister by regulation to the satisfaction of an immigration officer;
  • Any person, who at the time of entry, has insufficient means to support himself and his dependants;
  • Any mentally or physically handicapped, epileptic or mentally ill person, unless in any such case he or a person accompanying him gives security to the satisfaction of the Minister for his/her permanent support in Malawi, or for his expatriation if required by the Minister;
  • Any person who has a prescribed disease, unless he is in possession of a permit issued by the Minister to enter and remain in Malawi;
  • Any person who, not having received a pardon, has been convicted of any offence prescribed by the Minister as an offence rendering him a prohibited immigrant;
  • Any prostitute or homosexual person;
  • Any person who is deemed by the Minister to be undesirable inhabitant of or visitor to Malawi;
  • Any person who has been deported from Malawi; and
  • The wife and the children under the age of 18 years and any other dependants of a prohibited immigrant.

Thandoluhle Dladla, a trainee associate in the Johannesburg office, also contributed to this article.