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Authorizations for Foreign Employees in Egypt

1. Requirement for Foreign Employees to Work

Egyptian Law stipulates that foreigners may not carry out any “work” in Egypt without a permit. The law defines work as “any vicarious work (meaning employment) or profession or craft, including domestic service.”

As such, a work permit and a residency permit are required for a foreigner to work as an employee in an Egyptian company or in an Egyptian branch of a foreign company or as a consultant or professional, even if independently. A permit is required whether the employee will work in the private or public sector (usually as a consultant). If the consultancy work will take a short period of time to carry out (less than three months), a business visa will be a sufficient authorization for such purpose.

Few categories of persons, such as interns, foreign correspondents, and diplomatic missions, are exempt from the duty to obtain a work permit. However, hiring them must still be reported to the authorities. Foreigners are prohibited from working as tour guides or in importation, exportation, or customs clearance.

Egyptian Law applies a ratio between foreign workers and Egyptian employees. The law obliges employers to ensure that 90% of their employees are Egyptian nationals. Specific categories of employees do not trigger the need to meet the 9:1 Egyptian to foreigner employee ratio. These include employees in representative offices; board members in joint stock companies and commandites limited by shares, as well as general managers in limited liability companies and branches, if these companies are incorporated under Law 159/1981 or Law 8/1996.

The foreigner must not compete with Egyptians for work opportunities, and there must not be a suitable Egyptian substitute. Exceptions apply.

For more information, please contact L&E Global.
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