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  • Legal system, currency, language

    Constitutional and civil law with certain application of case law. Pesos (ARS). Spanish.

     

  • Corporate presence requirements & payroll set-up

    A foreign entity cannot hire employees in Argentina without a local corporate presence.

    Employers must pay social security contributions (23% or 27% on top of salaries, depending on the company's activity and revenues). Employees must contribute 17% of their salaries to the social security system (to be withheld by the employer and subject to certain taxable limits). Income tax is also withheld by the employer when paying employees' salaries (maximum rate 35%, subject to a progressive scale).

    Collective bargaining agreements for certain activities provide payments to be made by the employer and/or the unionized employees to the relevant unions.

  • Pre-hire checks

    Required

    • Pre-hire medical checks are required pursuant to resolutions issued by the Occupational Hazard Superintendence. If an employee does not complete a pre-hire medical check, the employee will be deemed to have begun work in optimal health; therefore, any injuries or diseases which subsequently arise will be deemed to have happened during the employment relationship.
    • Criminal record checks are required for foreign employees to obtain a work visa.

    Permissible

    Where criminal checks are not required for work visa purposes, they are only permissible (and often done in practice) for specific roles (eg, high-level managerial positions). Reference and educational checks are common and permissible, provided applicant consent is previously obtained.

  • Immigration

    Foreigners from non-Mercosur countries must obtain a temporary residence permit that permits them to enter and work in Argentina. Temporary residency is granted for a maximum period of up to 1 year, extendable for periods of equal or shorter terms. After 3 consecutive years as a temporary resident, foreign employees are entitled to apply for permanent residence.

    Citizens of Mercosur countries can apply for temporary Mercosur residence in Argentina without the need to present a work contract to the authorities. Temporary Mercosur residence is granted for 2 years and enables the individual to work and to apply for permanent residence on expiry of the temporary residence.

  • Hiring options

    Employee

    Full-time, part-time, fixed-term, indefinite-term employees or trainees.

    The following factors tend to indicate a labor relationship: availability to work for his/her employer; an employer who directs and subordinates the individual; an employer who instructs the services and duties required and creates the individual's schedule. Courts will also look at the extent to which the worker depends economically on the employer.

    Independent contractor

    Contractors should only be engaged where there is no labor relationship, that is, no direction/subordination or economic dependence.

    Misclassification, that is failure to register an individual as an employee, or submission of an incomplete or defective registration, carries the risk of severe sanctions and fines from the authorities (including amounts owed to social security for unpaid contributions). In addition, steep fines are levied upon statutory severance, including the doubling of the amount of severance owed to a (misclassified) employee.

    Agency worker

    Employers can engage workers through agencies. Agencies must be authorized by the authorities to function as an agency.

    The employer will be jointly and severally liable with the agency for all labor obligations arising from the worker's employment.

  • Employment contracts & policies

    Employment contracts

    There is no general, legal requirement to execute employment contracts in a specific form – meaning that they can be in writing, made orally, etc. unless a specific law or collective convention applies and indicates otherwise. Notwithstanding, employers are advised to enter into a written employment contract.

    Probationary periods

    The maximum permitted duration of a probationary period is 3 months. After the end of the 3 month period, the employee will turn into an indefinite term employee.

    Policies

    The law does not require employers to have specific policies in place. Notwithstanding, there are some policies that are strongly recommended to prevent potential conflict, such as bonus policies.

    Third-party approval

    Third-party approval is not required for employment contracts or any policies.

  • Language requirements

    No statutory language requirements; however, in practice, employment contracts are drafted in Spanish.

  • Minimum employment rights

    Employees entitled to minimum employment rights

    The Employment Contract Law No. 20,744 (LCL) governs the minimum employment rights in Argentina.

    Pursuant to Article 3º of the LCL, the law governs everything related to the validity, rights and obligations of the parties, provided the employment contract is performed in Argentina, even if the contract was entered into abroad.

    The LCL applies to "workers" which covers not only employees working under an employment contract, but also other individuals who personally perform "work" or provide services for the employer.

    For this purpose, "work" should be understood as any legitimate activity that is provided in favor of someone who has the power to direct that work, through the payment of remuneration for those activities and/or services rendered.

    The main factors that will tend to indicate that an individual is an employee rather than a worker or self-employed worker, are:

    • The employee must be available to work for his/her employer
    • The employer will direct and subordinate the employee, appoint the services and duties required and order the employee to comply with a schedule

    Courts will also weigh the extent to which the worker depends economically on the income obtained from the alleged employer.

    Working hours

    The general maximum number of hours is 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week for all employed workers in public or private enterprises. Each extra hour worked above these limits is deemed to be overtime.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, Article No. 3 of Law No. 11,544, in its subsections a), b) and c) regulates exceptions to the abovementioned maximum limitation on working hours. The limitations do not apply to employees performing duties under the form of a "job team," that is, working in a special coordinating rotation system, nor to employees performing duties in high-level positions (main managers, directors etc.).

    Overtime

    Employees in Argentina are allowed to perform overtime. Overtime will be only compulsory in cases of danger or accidents or imminent force majeure, or by exceptional demands of the national economy or the company (Article No. 203 of the LCL).

    Overtime must be paid with a surcharge of 50%, calculated using the employee's usual salary if the overtime hours were worked during business days, and 100% on Saturday after 1pm, Sunday or holidays. In no event may employees work overtime of more than, 3 hours per day, 30 hours per month or 200 hours per calendar year.

    Wages

    The national minimum wage (NMW) is updated regularly by the National Council of Employment dependent of the Ministry of Production and Labor. The NMW rate as of December 2018 is AR$11,300.

    Most CBAs also provide for a specific minimum wage applicable to employees subject to the CBA.

    Vacation

    Employees with less than 5 years seniority are entitled to 14 calendar days after 6 months of work. This increases to 21 calendar days for employees with between 5 to 10 years of seniority; 28 days for employees with between 10 to 20 years of seniority, and 35 days for employees with more than 20 years of seniority. For employees with less than 6 months of service, employers must grant 1 day of vacation per worked month. Companies should grant vacation to their employees between October 1 to April 30 of the following year.

    Sick leave & pay

    Sick/accident leave of up to 3 months per year must be provided to employees with less than 5 years of seniority, while 6 months must be granted to employees with seniority of 5 years or longer. For employees with "family dependents" (generally understood to be the immediate family that economically depends on the employee’s wage and labor benefits), these periods are doubled, to 6 and 12 months, respectively.

    Maternity/parental leave & pay

    Pregnant employees may take leave of 45 days prior to giving birth and up to 45 days after giving birth. However, the employee may choose to reduce the leave prior to giving birth, but it may not be less than 30 days, and add those days to the maternity leave period after the birth of the child. In the event of premature birth, the period of the leave that has not been enjoyed before the birth will be added to the leave period after the childbirth. Further, the employee is entitled to earn her gross remuneration (without any withholding contributions made to the social security system), during maternity leave. The ANSES (as defined below) pays the remuneration of employees during maternity leave.

    Fathers are entitled to paid leave of 2 consecutive days for the birth of his child. There is no general regulation providing other parental leave after the birth of a child. 

  • Discrimination

    The law prohibits discriminatory acts or omissions based on race, religion, nationality, ideology, political or trade union opinion, sex, economic position, social condition or physical characteristics.

    In addition, Argentina has ratified international antidiscrimination conventions, such as the Convention of Belem do Pará and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

  • Benefits & pensions

    The Social Security National Administration (Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social, hereinafter ANSES) is the authority in charge of the administration of the social security system in Argentina, called Sistema Integrado de Jubilaciones y Pensiones (SIJP). Employers and employees are required to make contributions to the SIJP which provides for old age pension and disability benefits.

    To qualify for a statefunded pension distribution, male employees must be 65 years old, while female employees must be 60 years old. In both cases, in order to qualify for pension the employee must have contributed to the SIJP for a minimum of 30 years.

    Employers do not have a legal obligation to provide a private pension scheme for employees, as the employees are entitled to state pensions.

  • Data privacy

    The Data Privacy Law No. 24,766 sets limits to the type of personal data that may be collected by prohibiting the collection of sensitive personal data, such as data that is related to political or religious opinions, and regulates the collection, use, processing and transfer of personal data.

    Employers are allowed to monitor employee's work devices, provided the employee is duly notified in advance, and personal information is safeguarded and not disclosed.

  • Rules in transactions/business transfers

    Where there is an asset transfer that qualifies as a business transfer, all obligations arising from the employment contracts that the transferor has executed with its employees will be taken on by the transferee after the transfer. Employment contracts will continue with the transferee and the employees will retain their seniority with the transferor and the rights arising from it. Therefore, on the execution of the transfer, all employees are automatically transferred to the transferee, after their written consent has been obtained.

    Although in practice both internal consultations and collective consultation with trade unions are held before a business transfer takes place, the transferor and the transferee are not required by law to inform or consult employees on a business transfer. However, in order to perform the transfer of staff, the employee’s written consent must be given prior to the transfer. In the absence of this consent, the employee may terminate the employment, with the right to compensation.

    The transferor and the transferee will be jointly and severally liable for any dismissals that arise due to the transfer.

  • Employee representation

    Argentina is a highly unionized country with approximately 3,100 active trade unions with considerable political power. There are unions in nearly all sectors or industries.

    A trade union must be recognized by the Ministry of Production and Labor. Only recognized and authorized unions can enter into a CBA. Employers cannot recognize an unauthorized union voluntarily, not even for collective bargaining purposes.

    The National Constitution sets out collective labor rights in its Article No. 14 (bis), guaranteeing unions the right to collectively bargain and the right to strike.

    CBAs are very common in Argentina. There are different types of CBAs depending on the territory in which they are going to be enforceable. Some CBAs only govern employees within one specific company, whereas other CBAs govern employees performing certain activities in a geographical region or industry.

  • Termination

    Grounds

    Cause is not required for termination of employment; however, it is required to avoid payment of statutory severance. There is no exhaustive and/or exemplary list of behaviors that constitute cause for dismissal; therefore, whether a dismissal is with or without cause will depend on judicial judgment on a case by case basis. 

    Who is subject to termination laws?

    All employees.

    Prohibited or restricted terminations

    Public employees and union delegates cannot be dismissed without cause and without complying with the statutory procedure for these terminations. All other employees can be dismissed with payment of statutory severance, which will differ based on the case (maternity, illness, etc.)

    Pregnant employees are protected from dismissal. If a pregnant employee is dismissed within the period of 7-1/2 months before or after the date of childbirth, the pregnancy will be considered to be the cause of the dismissal, entitling the employee compensation for the discrimination equivalent to their annual salary, in addition to the applicable severance payment.

    Further, if a dismissal occurs 3 months before the marriage of an employee, or 6 months after it, the dismissed employee will be entitled to a special compensation.

    In order to dismiss employees on sick leave, employers must pay a special severance (full severance payment applicable for dismissal without cause, plus the salary which would be payable for the entire period the illness would be expected to last, according to medical opinion).

    Third-party approval for termination/termination documents

    Under Decree No. 1043/18 (effective as of November 14, 2018), employers wishing to dismiss indefinite term employees without cause must notify the Ministry of Production and Labor at least 10 business days before the decision goes into effect. This Decree is effective through March 31, 2019.

    As this decree was issued recently, there is no administrative or judicial case law interpreting the Decree.

    Mass layoff rules

    Prior to a mass dismissal, an employer must provide notice to the respective trade union that regulates the employer's industry. Collective consultation may be required depending on employee headcount.

    Prior to executing or communicating dismissals or suspensions due to force majeure, economic or technological causes that affects more than:

    • 15% of the employees where total headcount is less than 400
    • 10% of the employees where total headcount is between 400 and 1,000 and
    • 5% of the employees where total headcount is greater than 1,000

    Employers must comply with the Preventive Procedure of Companies Crisis (PPC) before the Ministry of Production and Labor. During this procedure, the company will engage in negotiation with the respective union acting on behalf of their members. The aim of this procedure is to avoid business shutdowns or bankruptcy. After the company files the request at the Ministry of Production and Labor, the Ministry will forward the claim within 2 business days of the filing to the other party for its response. After a response is made, a settlement hearing will be scheduled within the next 5 business days. If a settlement is not reached, the Ministry will open a "negotiating period" that must not extend beyond 10 business days. If the parties still do not reach to an agreement within that period, the PPC process will conclude. Notwithstanding this, in practice, this procedure normally takes longer than the law sets out.

    Notice

    In order to proceed with termination, employers must give notice to employees before the dismissal. 

    The term of this notice will depend on the seniority of employees:

    • During their probationary period, notice must be given to employees 15 days before termination
    • In order to dismiss employees who have completed the probationary period but who have less than 5 years of seniority, notice must be given 1 month prior to the dismissal and
    • Employees with more than 5 years' seniority must receive 2 months' notice before their dismissal

    Statutory right to pay in lieu of notice or garden leave

    Employers are permitted to pay in lieu of notice. Current legislation does not regulate nor prohibit garden leave.

    Severance

    An employee who is dismissed without reasonable cause is entitled to statutory severance of 1 month's salary for each year of service, or period longer than 3 months. This amount is calculated using the employee's highest monthly, regular compensation received in the last 12 months of work. This baseline cannot be more than 3 times the "monthly payment," which is the average of all compensation set out in the applicable CBA at the time of the dismissal (this average is periodically published). The Ministry of Production and Labor governs the updating of this average for every authorized trade union.  

    If the employee is not subject to a CBA (typically, senior employees), the limits applicable to the activity in which he/she performs duties will apply. In no case will the amount of the compensation payable be less than 1 month of real salary.

    Currently, in the Vizotti case, the Supreme Court of Justice has raised the basis for calculating compensation subject to a limit, establishing that it will be 67% of the employee's monthly and usual compensation, the amount to be multiplied by the years of service of the employee, based on constitutional reasons and in cases where the application of the legal limit imposes a reduction to the severance payment of more than 33%.

    This severance payment may be reduced or increased in other types of termination (eg, force majeure and lack or reduction of work; death of the employee; employer's bankruptcy; employee's retirement; employee's illness; employee's pregnancy; etc.)

  • Post-termination restraints

    Non-compete, customer non-solicitation and employee non-solicitation clauses are often used, especially when the employer and employee negotiate the terms and conditions of the termination of the employment.

    Restrictive covenants are capable of being enforced post-employment, provided the employee receives compensation for the restrictions. Therefore, consideration is required for valid restrictive covenants. The amount must be fair and in accordance with the salary of the employee, his/her position in the company, the agreements that the company intends to impose and the extent (period and territory) of the restrictive covenant.

    The law does not specifically regulate restrictive covenants. However, most restrictive periods range between 2 years to 5 years. However, under certain circumstances the court has enforced a 10 year post-termination restraint period, based on the business and the amount of consideration paid to the employee.

    Where an employee is in breach of an agreement, the employer can file a claim against the employee in court requesting compensation for damages. The complaint may include injunctive relief to stop the violation immediately. Alternatively, courts may declare the covenant null and void if it has been drafted too widely.

  • Waivers

    Pursuant to the LCL, any executed agreement that suppresses or reduces rights granted by the LCL, labor laws related to specific industries, collective agreements or individual employment contracts, either at the time of their agreement or execution, or the exercise of the rights arising from its termination, shall be null and void.

  • Remedies

    Discrimination

    Compensation is available as a remedy for discrimination or harassment. In case the event of a complaint based on harassment, the employee can file a claim requesting the payment of the statutory severance payment applicable to dismissals without cause and an additional amount for the pain and/or emotional distress caused by the harassment.

    Employers are liable for the acts of their employees. Therefore, the employer and the harasser will be declared jointly and severally liable for the payment of any compensation granted to the victim.

    Unfair dismissal

    Employees may challenge a dismissal without cause within 2 years of the dismissal and seek payment of statutory severance, plus interest and court fees. The complaint must be filed before the labor courts.

    Failure to inform & consult

    Not applicable for terminations as there are no consultation obligations.

  • Criminal sanctions

    Breaches of labor law do not entail a criminal breach or sanction unless such a breach or offense is specifically regulated by the National Criminal Code as a crime. In that case, criminal sanctions will be applied for the breach of criminal law and not for the breach of labor law.

  • Key contacts
    Osvaldo Jofre
    Osvaldo Jofre
    Cordova Francos ojofr[email protected]

Immigration

Argentina

Foreigners from non-Mercosur countries must obtain a temporary residence permit that permits them to enter and work in Argentina. Temporary residency is granted for a maximum period of up to 1 year, extendable for periods of equal or shorter terms. After 3 consecutive years as a temporary resident, foreign employees are entitled to apply for permanent residence.

Citizens of Mercosur countries can apply for temporary Mercosur residence in Argentina without the need to present a work contract to the authorities. Temporary Mercosur residence is granted for 2 years and enables the individual to work and to apply for permanent residence on expiry of the temporary residence.

Australia

Foreign nationals must apply for visas to visit, live and work in Australia. Application is through the various immigration programs and visas administered by the Australian Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

The Temporary Skills Short (TSS) visa (subclass 482) may be used by businesses to address skill shortages by engaging foreign nationals to live and work in Australia for 2 years (or up to 4 years in some circumstances) where a suitably skilled Australian cannot be engaged. (The former subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa no longer accepts new applications).

Austria

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland have a right to work in Austria (with exceptions for Croatia). For other non-Austrian nationals an immigration permission and a work permit is required.

Bahrain

In order to legally work and reside in Bahrain, all employees except Bahrain and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nationals are required to have a residence visa and work permit under the sponsorship of their employer, which must have an entity registered in Bahrain.

When an employee is only required to work in Bahrain for a short period of time, there are alternative permits and visas that may be applied for, including the 72-hour visa, 7-day visa and business visas.

Belgium

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, in principle, have a right to work in Belgium. For other non-Belgian nationals, a work and/or residence permit is likely to be required.

Brazil

Nationals of the Mercosul (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) have a right to work in Brazil. For other non-Mercosul nationals, immigration permission is likely to be required. 

Canada

Canadian citizens and permanent residents have a right to work in Canada. For other non‑Canadian nationals, a valid work permit will usually be required. The process for obtaining work permits is managed by Canada's federal government through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Canada Border Services Agency. There are special rules under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which make it easier for certain categories of North American workers to work in Canada. There are also similar rules under the Tran Pacific Partnership (TPP) which also make it easier for certain categories of workers from signatory countries to TPP to work in Canada.

Chile

Foreigners on business trips do not require any special permit to do so because those activities are covered by the status of tourist. Foreigners from most countries can enter Chile for tourism purposes without a visa. Any tourism entrance is limited to a maximum of 90 days, renewable in exceptional circumstances for a similar term.

Foreigners are able to work in Chile after obtaining a proper permit from the immigration authorities which generally is easy to obtain:

  • A permit to work as a tourist is required for individuals who render short term services for maximum of 90 days. This permit is given for periods of 30 days and may be extended for additional periods of 30 days.
  • As of 2017, the investment promotion authority (InvestChile) has put in place a special immigration program known as "Visa Tech" under which a technology company can request a temporary work visa for a candidate, which is processed in no more than 15 business days. For other sectors, an alternative for a relatively faster process is to request a visa subject to an employment agreement in a Chilean Consulate abroad, which takes approximately 30 business days to obtain.

China

A Work Permit is required for any non-PRC-passport holder, except Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao residents. Effective October 2016 in 10 locations, including Beijing and Shanghai, and subsequently, to be rolled out nationwide from April 2017, a grading evaluation for expatriate employees applies. Foreign workers are categorized into three types, ie high-end foreign talents, foreign professionals and foreign employees. A quota will be imposed on foreign employees who primarily engage in temporary, seasonal, non-technology or service-related work. Limitations on the number of foreign professionals are floatable to market demand, and high-end foreign talents are encouraged to work in China without any restriction on numbers.

Colombia

A foreign national needs a temporary visa authorizing him/her to live and work in Colombia. Work Visas in Colombia (Migrant Visa or a Visitor Visa with a work permit) are granted for 1 to 3 years in the case of the Migrant Visa and for up to 2 years in the case of the Visitor Visa on a discretionary basis and are renewable indefinitely. After 5 years holding a Migrant Visa, it is possible to apply for a residency visa. The general rule is that the applicant themselves must file the visa application before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bogotá, Colombia, or before a Colombian Consulate abroad. However, if the process is conducted before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombia, it is possible to file the visa application through a proxy.

Other visa alternatives may be available depending on the activities to be performed in Colombia by a foreign national or his or her personal situation.

Czech Republic

Nationals of the EU, EEA and Switzerland enjoy the right to work in the Czech Republic, however employers must notify the relevant labor authority. Nationals of any other country must typically obtain a residence/work permit. Employers employing non-EU/EEA/Swiss employees must notify the relevant labor authority and comply with the given procedure.

Denmark

Citizens from the Nordic countries, the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are entitled to live and work in Denmark. However, if the employee is an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen and intends to reside in Denmark for more than three months, the employee must apply for a registration certificate at the International Citizen Service or the State Administration upon arrival in Denmark.

If the employee is a citizen of a country outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland, the employee must apply for a residence and work permit before entering Denmark.

Finland

Nationals of the European Union countries, as well as nationals of countries that belong to the European Economic Area, can work in Finland without a residence permit. Other nationals must have a residence permit or visa to be allowed to work in Finland.

France

Nationals of the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland have the right to work in France provided they have a valid ID.

Citizens of other countries need a valid work permit.

Germany

Free movement of employees for all countries of the European Economic Area (EAA) (EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland. All other nationals require a residence and work permit. Nationals of, inter alia, the US, Israel and Japan, and skilled workers enjoy favorable immigration treatment and have access to fast-track procedures.

Hong Kong

Any person who does not have the right of abode in Hong Kong and who undertakes work of any kind (whether paid or unpaid) must hold a valid employment visa (unless such person holds a valid dependent visa). Processing time is generally 6 to 8 weeks.

Hungary

Nationals of the EEA and Switzerland have the right to work in Hungary without a visa or a work permit.

Third-country citizens must have a residence permit for the purpose of work before starting to work in Hungary.

India

The Government of India issues various types of visas for expatriates (foreigners) visiting India. A person who is not an Indian citizen who wishes to undertake any work in India must obtain a valid visa. There are 2 key work-related visas:

  • Business Visa, designated as ''B'' Visa
  • Employment Visa, designated as ''E'' Visa

The duration of such visas depends on the purpose of the visit and is granted at the discretion of the government. Business visas are usually granted to foreigners coming to India on shorts visits for trainings, business meetings, etc. Employment visas are granted to foreigners desiring to come to India for the purpose of employment.

If the stay in India will be for more than 180 days, the visa holder must register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) or the Foreigners Registration Offices (FRO) within 14 days of arrival.

Indonesia

All expatriates coming to Indonesia will need a visa and those working in the country will also need a work permit. Fines and imprisonment may be imposed on those who breach immigration requirements.

Ireland

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland have the right to work in Ireland. Other nationals require permission to work via an employment permit.

Israel

All non-Israeli citizens (except for holders of certain types of residency permits) are required to obtain a work visa from the Israeli Ministry of Interior. Companies wishing to employ non-Israeli citizens must obtain work permits and work visas for their foreign workers from the Israeli Ministry of Interior. Special rules apply to employment of Palestinian citizens.

Italy

Depending on the duration and reason of the immigration, work permits are required for anyone who is not an Italian national or EU citizen.

Japan

Foreign nationals who wish to live and work in Japan must obtain the requisite visa. Individuals are also required to have an appropriate "status of residence" (immigration status), which will determine the extent of the individual's ability to live and work in Japan.

Kenya

All non-citizens must obtain work authorization prior to entering Kenya and commencing or engaging in any form of employment/business in Kenya. There are two types of work authorization, namely:

  • Entry Class D permit – long term work authorization issued in tranches of 1 or 2 years up to a maximum of 5 years (Costs approx. US$4,500 per year)
  • Special pass – short term work authorization issued in tranches of 1, 2 or 3 months up to a maximum of 6 months in every period of 12 months (Costs approx. US$2,000 for three months)

The Department of Immigration Services is now enforcing the 5 year limit prescribed in the law, particularly in respect of Entry Class D permits (Employment Permit). After the expiry of this period, it is expected that a local national will have been trained to take up the position. The enforcement of this policy is however on a case by case basis and a renewal application submitted post the prescribed period must set out a clear justification of why the foreign expertise is required.

When hiring foreign expertise, market testing is recommended to confirm that no Kenyan national can perform the proposed role and that the importation of foreign skill-set and expertise is absolutely necessary.

For certain professions such as legal, architecture, medicine, engineering, scientists, journalists, psychologists, actuaries, IT specialists, pharmacists, nurses etc., a foreigner must first obtain clearance and licences from the relevant regulatory body in Kenya.

Kuwait

In order to legally work and reside in Kuwait, all employees except Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Kuwaiti nationals (who require a work permit only) are required to have a residence visa and work permit under the sponsorship of their employer, which must have an entity established in Kuwait. Non-working married women can also be sponsored for their residence visas by their husbands.

Where an employee is only required to work in Kuwait for a short period of time, short-term or temporary employment visas are available as an exception, only at a higher fee. However, there are alternative permits and visas that may be applied for, including business visit visas.

Luxembourg

European Union (EU) citizens benefit from the right of free movement which gives them the right to work and reside in any EU country.

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland have the right to work in Luxembourg. Third-country nationals who want to reside in Luxembourg with a view to working for more than three months will need to apply for a residence permit with authorization to work. The application must be approved by the Immigration Directorate before entering Luxembourg. However, third-country nationals who are the spouse, registered partner or child of a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland already working in Luxembourg do not require a work permit. A work permit exemption must be requested.

Malaysia

Foreign individuals must obtain the required pass, permit or visa from the Immigration Department.

Mexico

A foreign national requires an immigration document (temporary visa) authorizing such foreign national to live and work in Mexico. Such visas are valid for 1 year and renewable for up to 4 additional periods, after which time the holder may apply for a permanent visa. It is the employer that must file a visa application with the Mexican immigration authorities.

Morocco

National preference scheme. Work permits required for all foreigners with very limited exceptions.

From 1 June 2017, applications for foreigners' employment contract visas are accepted if introduced via the TAECHIR platform. The process for obtaining a work permit may be completed within a maximum of 10 days instead of 3 to 6 months as before.

Although the procedure is simplified, the certificate issued by the National Agency for Promotion of Employment and Competence (ANAPEC) (which is evidence that the position of the foreign employee cannot be occupied by a national employee) is still required.

  • The employer must demonstrate that there is no skill locally available for the position by publishing job announcements in the newspapers
  • The employer must obtain authorization from the National Agency for Promotion of Employment
  • The employer must obtain authorization from the Ministry of Labor

To employ foreign workers, a prescribed process must be followed and the individual workers must meet set criteria in terms of skills, language, etc.

Foreign employees' contracts are usually short-term: 1 or 2 years. The labor administration rarely grants work permits for a longer period, but the work permit can be renewed if the employer demonstrates that the foreign worker is essential to the company.

Mozambique

In order to work in Mozambique, all foreign employees are required to have a work and residence permit. Foreign individuals who perform short assignments for periods not longer than 30 days in the same year can apply for a short-term work permit. Hiring of foreign employees has to follow the procedures and mechanisms provided by law. The procedures for hiring of foreign employees depend of the type of work permit sought. There are basically two forms by which a foreigner may work in Mozambique, namely: communication and authorization.

  • The communication may take the form of:
    • A work permit within the established quotas (10% for a company with up to 10 employees (small company); 8% for a company with more than 10 and up to 100 employees (mid-size company), and 5% for a company with more than 100 employees (large company). Agreements with the Government of the Republic of Mozambique may provide for special quotas different from the standard one described in the Labor Law and cited above)
    • A short-term work permit for occasional short term assignments. This work permit is granted for a period of 90 days in a calendar year, which can be taken in consecutive or interspersed days according to the employer's needs. Previously the short term work permit was granted for a period of 30 days, which could be extended for two further periods of up to 30 days; now it can be applied for 90 days immediately or for a number of blocks of different length provided that the 90 day limit is not exceeded. Short-term work permits do not affect the quota
  • The authorization is the proper method to be used when the quota has been exhausted and is subject to the discretion of the Minister of Labor

The National Immigration Service has administratively suspended the issuance of residence permits for work visa holders and in turn has started to extend the work visa for the same period that the residence permit allows, namely 1 year. The DIRE is still applicable for those work visa holders hired before this new instruction from October 2017.

Myanmar

All foreigners who work in Myanmar must obtain a business visa and may apply for a multiple-entry visa and a long-term stay permit or work permit. Pursuant to the Myanmar Investment Rules, an investor should obtain approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) when appointing a foreigner as a senior manager, technical expert or consultant. An MIC company must submit a work permit application in advance of the appointment of a foreign expert, or within 7 days of the foreign expert's arrival in Myanmar.

Foreign employees of companies without an MIC permit/endorsement are required to obtain a business visa. A valid business visa holder intending to work in Myanmar for an extended duration must apply for a longer stay and multiple-entry visa, and may apply for a stay permit. A Foreign Registration Certificate should be obtained by foreign nationals who wish to reside and work in Myanmar continuously for more than 90 days.

Netherlands

Most of the nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are allowed to work in the Netherlands, although these nationals should be registered. Other nationals should have a proper visa that allows them to work in the Netherlands.

New Zealand

Nationals (and permanent residents) of New Zealand and Australia have the right to work in New Zealand; however, all other immigrants have to apply for one of the following visas:

  • Essential Skills work visas, Skilled Migrant Category
  • Work to Residence visas
  • Residence from Work/Investor/Entrepreneur (various categories)

Nigeria

Expatriate Quota must be obtained by the employer from the Ministry of Interior Affairs to employ expatriates for up to 12 (twelve) months and above. The Expatriate Quota is waived for entities that operate within the Nigeria Free Trade Zones.

Operators within the oil and gas industry are required to obtain the prior approval of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board for the Expatriate Quota before obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

Temporary Work Visa allows an expatriate to enter into Nigeria to provide technical services for a short term (usually between 1 and 3 months). Subject to Regularization visa: entry visa issued by the Nigeria Mission in the expatriate's country of residence or domicile in the last 6 months.

Combined Expatriate’s Resident Permit and Alien's Card (Cerpac) comprises the resident permit (green card) and the alien's movement card (brown card). It is required for expatriates resident or working in Nigeria.

Cerpac provides a multiple re-entry visa facility to holders, throughout the validity its period.

Companies that have been granted the Expatriate Quota and utilize it for their expatriates are required to file monthly returns at the regulatory agencies, for the duration of their use of the Expatriate Quota.   

Norway

EC or EU citizens

Foreigners from EC and EU countries, who bring an identity card or a passport, are free to take residency for up to three months. If the employee is going to stay in Norway for more than three months, the employee must make a preliminary registration online and thereafter visit a police station or the service center for foreign workers for registration. Upon completion of the registration, the employee will receive a registration certificate. The certificate is valid indefinitely (it does not need to be renewed).

Non-EC or non-EU citizens

As a general rule all citizens from non-EC and non-EU countries must have been granted a residence permit before their arrival in Norway. Petition for a working permit is directed to the Norwegian foreign station in the applicant's country of citizenship or the country in which the applicant has had a working or resident permit for the last six months. For persons with specialized skills, it is also possible to apply for a work permit after arrival.

As a main rule, the applicant must have a definite job offer for a full-time position from an employer in Norway, and the pay and working conditions must be equivalent to or better than what is settled in current tariff regulations or what is customary in the line of business.

Oman

In order to legally work and reside in Oman, all employees except GCC and Omani nationals (who require a work permit only) are required to have a residence visa and work permit under the sponsorship of their employer, which must have an entity established in Oman; or, in the case of married women, be sponsored by their husbands.

Where an employee is only required to work in Oman for a short period of time, there are alternative permits and visas that may be applied for, including business visit visas and express visas.

Philippines

Philippine law allows employers to engage a foreigner to work in the Philippines, provided an employment permit is first secured from the Department of Labor and Employment. An employment permit will be issued after a determination of unavailability of a person in the Philippines who is competent, able and willing at the time of the application to perform the services for which the foreigner is desired. After issuance of a work permit, the foreign expatriate must also secure a working visa from the Bureau of Immigration.

Poland

Free movement of employees from all countries of the EU and EEA as well as Switzerland. In general, citizens of other countries require a work permit and a work visa (or other residence permit).

Portugal

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland have the right to work in Portugal. Residency and work permits are required for non-EEA/Swiss nationals.

Qatar

In order to legally work and reside in Qatar, all employees except Qatari nationals (who require a work permit only) are required to have a residence visa and work permit under the sponsorship of the employer (which must have an entity established in Qatar) or the husband, in the case of a married woman. There are certain limited exceptions to this requirement.

Qatar has also introduced a permanent residence visa regime. Under this regime, foreign nationals may be granted permanent residence visas by Qatar. There are however a prescribed category of conditions foreign nationals will need to satisfy in order to qualify for a permanent residence visa. There is also a limited annual quota on the number of permanent residence visas that may be issued in any given year. This quota may be decreased or increased ultimately by virtue of the decision of the Emir of Qatar.

Where an employee is only required to work in Qatar for a short period of time, there are alternative permits that may be considered, although suitability will depend on the type of work to carried out.

Recent amendments to the Sponsorship Law in Qatar have been introduced with the intention of making it easier for expatriate workers leave the country. The new law came into effect on September 5, 2018, being one day from the date of its official publication in Qatar's official gazette. The new law abolished the requirement for an expatriate employee to obtain an exit permit from his / her sponsor of residence prior to leaving the country. There are certain exceptions to this rule. However, given this law's recent enactment, it remains to be seen how this law will be implemented by the authorities in practice. Under one of the provisions of the new law, workers will be given a route of appeal in the event that their sponsor objects to the worker leaving the country.

Romania

Nationals of the EU, the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland have the right to reside and work in Romania, subject to observance of applicable legal conditions and typically subject to obtaining a registration certificate for stays of longer than 3 months. Non-EU, non-Swiss and non-EEA nationals must comply with the immigration-related requirements for entry, stay and work in Romania, with the company employing them being under various procedural obligations related to engaging foreign individuals to work in Romania.

Russia

Foreign nationals (except for citizens of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Armenia) may be employed and/or actually commence working in Russia, provided that they obtain respective migration documents (work permits, patents). Employers are also required to provide financial, medical and social guarantees in respect of their foreign employees, and must comply with general migration monitoring requirements and file notifications regarding foreign employees' travel both into and out of Russia in accordance with the statutory procedure.

Saudi Arabia

GCC nationals are allowed to work in all the GCC states freely without the need for work visas. Employing non-GCC nationals requires a special type of visa issued by the employer who will become the sponsor of the non-GCC employee for all immigration purposes. Employers should be aware of the strict rules relating to the proportion of Saudi and non-GCC employees that can be employed under the Nitiqat (nationalisation) rules depending on the size of the business and sector. 

Singapore

Foreign nationals (ie, non-Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents) who wish to live and work in Singapore must obtain valid work passes. There are several types of work passes which are administered and issued by the Ministry of Manpower (Employment Passes, S Passes and various Work Permits). The type of work pass required depends on the applicant's qualifications and skill-level, and on the nature of employment sought.

Slovak Republic

Free movement of employees for all countries of the EEA. An employer based in Slovakia, who employs an EU citizen, is obliged to inform the competent Office of Labor, Social Affairs and Family about the employment relationship.

In general, an employer based in Slovakia that wants to employ a third country national must inform the competent Office of Labor, Social Affairs and Family about the vacant position and intention to employ a third country national. Only where the vacancy cannot be filled by a Slovak citizen/EU citizen, may a third country national be employed by a Slovak employer. A residence permit for the purpose of employment and details of previous activity for the three years prior to the employee's application for residence permission are required.

South Africa

All non-citizens must hold an appropriate work visa. Local sponsor for a work visa is generally required, and under certain categories of work visa it may also be necessary to show that no local person is capable of filling the applicant's position. Foreign nationals who overstay will be declared undesirable and their ability to apply for any type of visa thereafter, adversely affected.

South Korea

Long-term and short-term general work visas are available to visit Korea for business-related purposes. 2 short-term visas are available (C-3-4 and C-4 visas), and 3 long-term visas are available (D-7, D-8 and E-7 visas). The appropriate visa type depends, among other things, on the nature of the assignment/employment and the type of employing entity located in Korea.

Special work visas (E-4, D-5 and D-9 visas) are available for foreign nationals working in highly specialized areas of expertise; and special resident visas (F-4 and F-5 visas) are available which allow a foreign national to live and work in Korea without requiring a separate work visa.

Spain

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland have a right to work in Spain. Residency and work permits are required for non-EEA/Swiss nationals.

Sweden

Nationals of the Nordic countries, most EU/European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland are permitted to begin working immediately upon entering Sweden, but must register at the Migration Board no later than 3 months after entering the country. Most non-EU/EEA, non-Nordic and non-Swiss citizens who intend to enter Sweden to work need a work permit.

Switzerland

For all non-Swiss nationals, a work permit is required, but EU/EFTA citizens may generally start working as soon as the request is filed. Work permits are generally easily granted for EU/EFTA nationals but there are some restrictions on Bulgarian, Romanian and Croatian citizens. The current immigration system takes into account the global economic interests of Switzerland as well as the integration of immigrants in Switzerland. In certain circumstances and conditions, priority is granted to unemployed workers in Switzerland: employers have the obligation to notify vacant positions to regional placement centers for certain professions where the national unemployment rate is at least 8%. This threshold will be decreased to 5% from January 2020.

Taiwan

All foreign nationals, including Hong Kong and Macau citizens, require work permits to work in Taiwan. Chinese citizens are not considered foreigners and are subject to special rules, depending on the purpose of their stay. Companies employing foreigners are required to abide by industry, quota and credential restrictions.

Thailand

A foreign person intending to work in Thailand must obtain a valid non-immigrant business (B) visa before entering Thailand and a work permit in Thailand before commencing any work.

Visa

The applicant must apply for a non-immigrant business (B) visa at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate before entering Thailand.

The applicant will initially be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period of 90 days. The foreign employee must leave Thailand by the expiry date or apply for an extension of stay with the Thai Immigration Bureau. A 1 year visa may be granted to an applicant whose initial non-immigrant business (B) visa has 30 days remaining. The 1 year non-immigrant business (B) visa will be granted in 2 consecutive periods of 1 month and 11 months respectively.

Where the employing company has registered capital or total current assets in excess of THB 30 million and the foreign employee's role is at management level or as a specialist, a visa extension can be requested via the One Stop Services Center.

After the work permit has been issued for one month and the 1st month of salary has been paid with tax withheld, the expatriate may apply for an extension of stay for 1 year with the Thai Immigration Bureau, and the process will be approved within one business day at the One Stop Services Center.

Work permit

Once the employee has entered Thailand, a work permit application may be made. There must be 4 Thai employees for every 1 foreigner and the employer must have paid up registered capital of at least 2 million Baht per foreign employee (except where the employer obtains promotional privileges from the Board of Investment or other applicable exemptions apply). Processing the work permit application normally takes 2 weeks.

Where the employing company has registered capital or total current assets in excess of THB 30 million and the foreign employee's role is at management level or as a specialist, the work permit will be issued within one business day at the One Stop Services Center.

Turkey

Foreign employees can work in Turkey once they obtain work and residence permits. 30 days after obtaining a work permit (as the work permit applications are made by the employer, this date also corresponds to the start date of the work), such expats (who are registered under the social security of a foreign country) must be registered by the employer under the social security system of Turkey, subject to bilateral social security treaties executed with the relevant foreign countries.

Uganda

Immigration is highly regulated in Uganda. Expatriate employees can work in Uganda with a special pass or a work permit:

  • A special pass is a short-term work authorization issued in tranches of 3 and 2 months, up to a maximum of 5 months. The Directorate of immigration is progressively phasing out special passes, and applicants seeking short-term work authorisation need to apply for the 6-month work permit.
  • Work permits are issued for long-term work authorization lasting for a minimum of 6 months and maximum of 36 months. In principle, an employer will be required to demonstrate that there is no skilled employee locally available for the position, and that the foreign employee will train a Ugandan national to take over his/her position on completion of the assignment. However, for high level positions, the immigration department grants work permits without a labor testing requirement.

All applications for immigration facilities are now lodged online. For work permits, the sponsoring employer is required to register with the Directorate of Immigration and receive a unique numbered code which grants access to the e-immigration portal.

Nationals of the East African Community (EAC) are exempt from paying fees for work permits. However, EAC nationals  are required to apply for work permits and undergo the evaluation process, and their work permit applications may be approved or rejected.

Ukraine

Employers must generally obtain work permits to hire foreign individuals. There are exceptions for special categories of individuals who may be hired without a work permit and special categories of employers that can hire foreigners without a work permit. For example, employers do not need to obtain work permits for foreign employees with valid permanent residency permits, individuals performing teaching and scientific activity in higher educational institutions, foreigners who obtained a status of refugee according to Ukrainian law, etc. Further, representative offices of foreign companies registered in Ukraine do not need to obtain work permits for foreign employees. An official card shall be obtained instead, which is a standard form document issued by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine that confirms employment of a foreigner with a duly registered representative office in Ukraine.

In addition to a work permit, a foreign employee should obtain a temporary residency permit to stay in Ukraine on a long-term basis. This requirement falls on the individual and not the employer, though an employer may be required to provide supporting documents for the individual to obtain a temporary residency permit.

United Arab Emirates

In order to legally work and reside in a particular Emirate, all employees except GCC and UAE nationals (who require a work permit only) are required to have a residence visa and work permit under the sponsorship of their employer (which must have an entity established in the UAE). Alternatively, married women may work under the sponsorship of their husbands. In the free zones, employee ID cards are issued in place of work permits. Additionally, the free zone authority, rather than the employing company, acts as the employee's sponsor.

When an employee is only required to visit or work in the UAE for a short period of time, there are alternative permits and visas that may be applied for, including business visit visas and mission visas.

United Kingdom

Until the UK leaves the EU (planned to be March 29, 2019), nationals of the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland have the right to work in the UK. For other non-UK nationals, immigration permission is likely to be required. Companies employing non-EEA/Swiss nationals may be required to register with the UK Border Agency. Post-Brexit, a new immigration regime will apply. EU nationals who are already resident in the UK on March 29, 2019 will be able to stay in the UK indefinitely and must apply for either pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The immigration status of EU nationals who come to the UK from March 30, 2019 will depend on the terms of the UK's withdrawal agreement with the EU. EU nationals who do not qualify for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme and non-EU nationals will be subject to a new skills-based immigration system which is expected to apply from January 1, 2021.

United States

All employees must be legally authorized to work in the US, whether by citizenship, permanent residence (green card) status, or a valid visa (which often requires sponsorship by the employer). Within three days of the start of employment, all employees must submit materials establishing such authorization and complete a Form I-9.

Employers operating in certain industries (eg, government contractors) and in certain states may be required to use the federal E-Verify system for work authorization confirmation, though some states prohibit or limit use of E-Verify.

Venezuela

Non-Venezuelan nationals require immigration permission. At least 90% of the payroll in companies with 10 or more employees should be held by Venezuelan nationals. Certain job positions require engagement of a Venezuelan national (eg, industrial relations and/or personnel managers in HR, ship or airplane captains, foremen and similar positions), subject to some exceptions. Non-Venezuelan national employees may hold these job positions when:

  • They have Venezuelan descendants
  • They are married to a Venezuelan
  • They have set up a domicile in Venezuela
  • They have resided in Venezuela for 5 or more years

Vietnam

A valid work permit and a temporary resident card or a visa is required for foreign nationals who wish to reside and work in Vietnam for more than 90 days per year. A foreign national entering Vietnam to work without a valid work permit can be expelled from Vietnam. A work temporary resident card and a work visa will be granted based on the validity of the work permit.