What are the work-permit enforcement trends? While Ugandan authorities continue to issue Special Pass permits for short-term assignments of up to five months, they are no longer accepting Special Pass applications for employees intending to work in Uganda longer than five months. Additionally, authorities are increasingly scrutinizing and rejecting work permit applications that do not comply with Ugandan advertising rules.

  • Visas/permits affected: Special Pass permits, G2-Class (long-term) work permits.
  • Who is affected: Employees and employers applying for Ugandan work permits.
  • Impact on processing times: Special Pass approvals are unpredictable; G2-Class work permit approvals are generally issued within a month.

The details: 

  • Special Pass permits. Generally, Special Pass permits have been an expedient work authorization option for short-term stays, as the application requires fewer accompanying documents than the work class permit application. In the past, employers would apply for Special Pass permits for employees with contracts of longer than five months, which allowed the employee time to apply for longer-term work authorization once already working in Uganda. Recently, authorities have been increasingly rejecting Special Pass permit applications for employees with contracts of longer than five months. While the option still exists for short-term stays, employers are encouraged to submit work permit applications prior to entry for any assignment longer than five months.
  • Labor market testing. The government has been taking a stringent approach to labor market testing regulations, which have been in place for many years, but were not rigorously enforced. Employers sponsoring work permit applications must advertise the available position for a reasonable number of days in a daily printed newspaper with nationwide circulation—online advertising does not satisfy government requirements. Applications for certain job titles, such as HR, finance and marketing positions, which could presumably be filled by qualified Ugandan nationals, are being increasingly scrutinized, and it is often difficult to obtain approval for these positions. Employers should expect authorities to ask follow-up questions on advertising and recruitment efforts. While the term “reasonable” is not defined by regulation, generally advertising of at least 30 days will satisfy government standards.

Moving forward: Employers sponsoring foreign workers in Uganda will need to apply for a G2-class work permit prior to entry for all types of assignments and can no longer rely on approval of Special Passes for assignments longer than five months. Employers are on notice that advertising and training requirements are stringently enforced for all types of work permits, especially the G2-Class permit.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.