On 16 July 2019, a new ministerial decree no. 146 of 2019 was published in the Official Gazette regulating the procedures and requirements for granting work permits to foreigners (the "New Decree").
The New Decree replaces the previous Decree no. 305 of 2015 issued by the Minister of Manpower regulating the same subject matter (the "Old Decree").
According to the New Decree, foreigners are required to obtain work permits from the competent ministry and from the manpower directorates affiliated thereto or from the offices established by the Ministry for such purpose in other entities.
Below is a summary of the main changes introduced by the New Decree compared with the Old Decree.
Total Number of Foreign Workers
Under the New Decree, the total number of foreign workers in any entity, even if it had several branches, may not exceed 10% of the total number of insured Egyptian workers. Whereas, under the Old Decree, such percentage was calculated from the total number of workers in general.
Conditions and Fees for Issuing Foreigners Work Permits
Under the Old Decree, there were six conditions that should be observed when permitting a foreign worker, including the condition that the foreign worker should have an occupational license. This condition has been specified under the New Decree to require such occupational license only for professions requiring a special license for their performance.
Under the Old Decree, entities which are authorized to use foreign experts or technicians are required to appoint at least 2 Egyptian assistants for training purposes. This condition has been slightly changed under the New Decree to apply on entities which are authorized to use foreign technicians only without mentioning foreign experts.
Moreover, the abovementioned foreign workers who are training Egyptian assistants are required to prepare an annual report regarding their progress and attach these reports with the renewal request of their work permits.
The New Decree also increases the fees for issuing work permits and requires its payment through the electronic payment means.
Exceptions to the Foreigners Work Permits
Under the Old Decree, there were 10 categories of foreigners exempted from obtaining work permits, two categories of them have been removed by the New Decree which are:
- Persons who come during their study periods for training purposes for a period not exceeding 6 months.
- General partners with capital not less than $35,000 or its equivalent in Egyptian Pounds.
Moreover, foreigners whose work doesn’t exceed one/few days are now required to obtain the prior written approval of the Ministry of Manpower before performing their works in Egypt in addition to paying a fee amounting to 10% of their remuneration for each work performed with a minimum amount of EGP 8,000 and a cap of EGP 50,000.
Obligations on Employers Using Foreigners
Under the New Decree, an employer hiring foreign workers is now required to keep the competent administration updated with detailed information of the foreign workers employed in the establishment on an ongoing basis. Whereas, under the Old Decree, these detailed information was required every six months.