Foreign Nationals Employment and Work Permit in Ethiopia: Requirements and procedures

Ethiopian law allows a foreigner to be employed in Ethiopia, provided that they acquire work permit. The work permit is issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.  A work permit is given for a foreign employee in a specific type of work for three years and must be renewed every year.

A foreign investor is allowed to employ qualified expatriate experts for the operation of his business, but it is required that, such expatriate personnel must be replaced within a limited period of time by Ethiopians, by arranging the necessary training. Expatriate employees on top management positions can also be recruited without any restriction with prior consent of the Ethiopian Investment Agency. Work permit for expatriates working for a foreign investor in issued by the Ethiopian Investment Agency.

Foreign nationals may also be appointed by a government office on temporary basis, where the vacant post requires a high level professional and it is proved impossible to find an Ethiopian.

A foreign national of Ethiopian origin and members of a diplomatic mission do not need a work permit.

Requirements and procedures to obtain work permit

For Governmental Organizations

  • Four copies of an application form from the employing organization;
  • Support letter from the immediate project supervising government organizations;
  • Photocopy of passport of the employee and valid business visa;
  • Five passport size recent photos of the employee;
  • Support letter from the Ministry of Health or Education, if the employee is going to work in Health or Education sector;
  • Educational certificate and work experience;
  • Work permit service fee, Birr 600.00 (Six Hundred Birr)

For Private Organizations

  • Four copies of an application form from the employing organization;
  • Investment Certificate issued by the Investment Agency, or Business Licence issued by the Ministry of Trade, or Trade License of the organization if the Head Office is located outside of Ethiopia;
  • Photocopy of passport of the employee and valid Business Visa;
  • Support letter from the Ministry of Health or Education, if the employee is going to work in Health or Education Sector;
  • Support letter from appropriate organization;
  • Five passport size recent photos of the employee;
  • Educational certificate and work experience;
  • Work permit service fee, Birr 600.00 (six Hundred Birr)

For Non-Governmental organizations

  • Four copies of an application form from the employing organization;
  • Registration certificate from Charities and Societies Agency;

Support letters:

  • From the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Disaster Prevention and Preparedness, if the applicant is going to work in those specific sectors;
  • Support letter for the Ministry of Health or Education, if the employee is going to work in Health or Education sector respectively;
  • Support letter from appropriate organization for the employee of Association;
  • Educational certificate and work experience;
  • Photocopy of passport of the employee and valid Business Visa;
  • Five passport size recent photos of the employee;
  • Work permit service fee, Birr 600.00 (six Hundred Birr)

Requirements for Renewal

For governmental Organizations

  • Two copies of work permit renewal application form;
  • Support letter from project implementing governmental organization
  • Support letter from the Ministry of Health or Education, if the employee is working in the Health or Education sector, respectively;
  • Photocopy of the employee’s Residential Permit;
  • Work Permit Card of the employee, (if there is no extra page of work permit card, one passport size photo of the employee);
  • Work permit service fee, Birr 500.00 (Five Hundred Birr)

For Private Organizations

  • Two copies of work permit renewal application form;
  • Investment Certificate issued by the Investment Agency, or Business License issued by the Ministry of Trade, or Trade License of the organization if the Head Office is located outside Ethiopia;
  • Support letter from the Ministry of Health or Education, if the employee is working in the Health or Education sector, respectively;
  • Support letter from the appropriate organization;
  • Photocopy of the employee’s Residential Permit;
  • Work Permit Card of the employee, (if there is no extra page of work permit card, one passport size photo of the employee;
  • Work permit service fee, Birr 500.00 (Five Hundred Birr)

For Non-Governmental Organizations

  • Registration certificate from Charities and Societies Agency

Support Letters

  • From the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Disaster Prevention and  Preparedness is the applicant is going to work in those specific sectors;
  • from the Ministry of Health or Education, if the employee is going to work in Health or Education sector respectively;
  • Support letter from appropriate organization for the employee of Association;
  • Photocopy of the employee’s Residential Permit;
  • Work Permit Card of the employee, (if there is no extra page of work permit card, one passport size photo of the employee;
  • Work permit service fee, Birr 500.00 (Five Hundred Birr)

Requirements for Clearance

  • A letter of application for clearance from the employing organization;
  • The work permit card of the employee;
  • For expired work permits, work permit service fee of Birr 500 (Five Hundred Birr)

Requirements for Replacement of work permit card

  • Application letter for replacement of work permit card from the employing organization.
  • Evidence from police about the loss of work permit card;
  • Replacement fee Birr 400 (Four Hundred Birr).

Source: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), Requirements to obtain work permit in Ethiopia, brochure, Employment Service Promotion Directorate.

Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), Kazanchis ,Kirkos Kifle Ketema, Kebele 18
Tel: +251 115 537971
Fax: +251-11-551-8396
Molsa.gove.et

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