- Strict New Requirements for Employment Permit Applications
- June 30, 2017
Effective immediately, the Zambian Immigration authorities have introduced new requirements for Employment Permit applications. The following requirements will impact individuals seeking work authorization for longer than six months:
- Application Filing: The application must be submitted while the foreign national is still out of the country, by the employer’s human resources department or a duly authorized immigration consulting firm (proper authorization will need to be provided at the time of filing). Although this has always been a requirement, it is now strictly enforced.
- Zambianization Policy: When a foreign national is hired, he or she is expected to train a local individual to perform the same duties once the foreign national’s assignment ends. A copy of the succession plan (training program), including the names of the understudies, must be provided at the time of filing. In case of professional job positions, the immigration authorities will consult with the professional body to decide on the maximum stay allowed for the foreign national. Once this is determined, extensions beyond the permitted stay will not be allowed. Although this has always been a requirement, it is now strictly enforced.
- Maximum Validity Period: Validity of Employment Permits will no longer be limited to two years, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The authorities will analyze aspects such as size of the project, level of investment and stage of development when deciding the validity period of the permit. For mining companies, the Immigration Permits Committee (IPC)will consider the development of Zambian mines when determining the validity period of the permits.
- Periodic Labour Audits: Quarterly audits will be conducted by the IPC and the Ministry of Labor to ensure that the employer is keeping a reasonable ratio of Zambian nationals to foreign nationals in compliance with the law. Although there is no specific quota establishing what a reasonable ratio of Zambian nationals to foreign nationals would be, the authorities will review this on a case-by-case basis.
- Sub-Contracting of Foreign Companies: Local companies that are sub-contracting the work of foreign companies must provide the organizational structures of both companies to the authorities upon submission of applications for Employment Permits.
- Appeals: The Minister has the discretion to decide which cases to consider on appeal.
- Government-to-Government Contracts: Contractors involved in contracts between the government of Zambia and the government of another country will be required to submit the contract to the Engineering Institution of Zambia, including the list of foreign nationals who will be brought in for the technical aspect of the project.
- Labor Market Test: Employers are now required to ensure that there are no local individuals who can perform the duties for which the foreign national will be hired. Employers must advertise the position in at least two leading newspapers for a reasonable timeframe of about 14 to 30 calendar days. Copies of the advertisements must be submitted at the time of the application.
What This Means to Employers and Foreign Nationals
The application process will be more comprehensive and will require additional planning from the sponsoring entity. Employers are expected to contribute towards skills development of Zambian nationals by providing succession plans upon the foreign national’s departure. Furthermore, employers should expect quarterly audits to verify compliance with the law.