What is the change? Egypt has begun performing labor market testing before issuing any work permits to foreign nationals.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals should expect significant delays and increased difficulty in obtaining work permits.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected:Work permits.
  • Who is affected:Employers and foreign nationals applying for work permits in Egypt.
  • Impact on processing times:The government’s labor market testing is expected to cause significant delays in processing and make it more difficult to obtain a work permit. Previously, work permit processing took 15 to 60 days, depending on nationality.
  • Business impact: Employers in Egypt could have a much harder time hiring foreign nationals. Applications that were pending, however, should not be affected.
  • Next steps: Work permit applications now must be supported by a detailed job description, the applicant’s work experience and a description of how the applicant will benefit the host company, among other requirements.

Background: The objective of the new program is to address unemployment in Egypt. On Feb. 5, Egypt’s Ministry of Manpower stopped accepting all requests for work permits; the ministry has resumed processing but has added a new labor market testing rule. Under the new rules, once a work permit application is filed, the ministry will perform a labor market test to determine if Egyptians are available to fill the job. If it finds that Egyptians are available for the work, it will deny the application.

BAL Analysis: As these rules are new, the details have not been provided and they may be subject to change. It is unclear how long it will take for the ministry to perform the labor market tests, but employers applying for work permits should anticipate significant delays and be aware that they will have to provide more supporting documentation. BAL will continue following the situation and provide updates as necessary.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Egypt. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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