New work permit for oil and gas workers offers faster option, new procedures

29 Jan 14

GHANA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Ghana has introduced a new “Rotators Permit” for oil and gas workers sent to Ghana to repair, maintain or perform other tasks on oil rigs.

What does the change mean? Oil and gas companies applying for short-term workers must apply for Rotators Permits directly at the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) rather than through the Petroleum Commission. The permit allows employees to work on the rig only.

  • Implementation timeframe: The Rotators Permit was introduced in the last quarter of 2013.
  • Visas/permits affected: Rotators Permit.
  • Who is affected: Oil and gas rig workers.
  • Impact on processing times: GIS estimates it will take about three days to approve an application.
  • Business impact: Businesses will benefit from faster processing times for the new permit, but are also bound by new procedures, costs and limitations.
  • Next steps: Sponsoring employers and oil and gas workers should be aware of the new permit type and new procedures accompanying it.

Background: The GIS introduced the Rotators Permit specifically for oil and gas workers who typically work on rigs for 28 days or less and perform temporary work, such as repair and maintenance for machinery or equipment. An employer must prove that the position cannot be filled by a Ghanaian worker. Sponsoring employers must submit the same documentation as for a regular work permit application. However, the application is submitted with the GIS, not the Petroleum Commission, which adjudicates regular one-year work permits. The GIS in Accra will issue an approval in approximately three days and send an approval letter to the employer or employee, who must bring the letter to the GIS office at Takoradi Port upon entry to obtain the Rotators Permit. The permit is valid for six months and allows multiple entries during the validity period, but the permit is only valid for work on the rig. The permit is renewable for an unlimited number of six-month periods. The government charges 500 U.S. dollars (roughly 1,186 Ghanaian cedis) for the first permit and 1,000 U.S. dollars (approximately 2,372 Ghanaian cedis) for each renewal.

BAL Analysis: Oil and gas sector employers should follow procedures for the new Rotators Permit for rotating short-term workers, instead of applying for the regular one-year work permits.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Ghana. For additional information, please contact GlobalVisaGroup@balglobal.com.

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