IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities have said that work card holders must switch out their old work cards for new biometric cards this month.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals with work cards must personally appear at a Ministry of Labor office to have their biometrics (fingerprints and facial image) taken. To ensure compliance with the new requirement, authorities are expected to begin auditing companies later this month.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits (work cards).
  • Who is affected: Work card holders and their employers.
  • Business impact: Companies should prepare for the anticipated audits by making sure all foreign nationals with work cards have taken the required steps to obtain a biometric work card.

Background: Following a recent DRC government decision to roll out the introduction of biometric work cards to all new foreign national applicants, foreign workers currently holding non-biometric work cards must also now substitute the new cards for their old ones. Work card holders must complete this process by visiting a Ministry of Labor office to have their biometrics taken and pay a fee of $20. Authorities have indicated they will begin checking companies for compliance with the new requirement later this month. It is not clear yet what the penalties will be for employers and/or employees who fail to comply.

BAL Analysis: Foreign workers who have not already visited a Ministry of Labor office to obtain a new biometric work card should do so immediately. Issuance of new work cards can take up to 23 days, meaning it is possible that compliance checks will begin before some foreign workers have a chance to obtain their new cards.