Companies must revalidate work permits

26 Jun 15

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? Equatorial Guinea is conducting a blanket audit of work permits and is requiring companies to revalidate existing work permits with the Ministry of Labor.

What does the change mean? All companies holding work permits for foreign employees must present their work permits to the Ministry of Labor. Failure to do so could result in invalidation of the permits.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. The deadline has not been set. BAL is in contact with the ministry regarding possible deadlines.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits and authorization of recruitment.
  • Who is affected: Companies holding work permits for foreign employees.
  • Impact on processing times: The process of revalidating a work permit should take approximately one day, depending on the number of expatriate workers employed by a company.
  • Business impact: The revalidation process is relatively simple, and companies that do not voluntarily present their work permits for review risk having to reapply for them, which will incur significant time and expense.
  • Next steps: Companies should move quickly to revalidate their work permits. BAL can assist with the process.

Background: In an effort to crack down on abuse and corruption relating to work permits, the Ministry of Labor issued an order last month to conduct a review of all work permits. According to the order, dated May 25, all existing work permits must be revalidated and signed by the General Director of Labor or they will be deemed canceled.

Companies holding work permits must bring their work permits and evidence of recruitment authorization to the Ministry of Labor. Companies may send a third-party representative.

While the order states that the deadline for companies to comply is “30 days after the date of official publication of the order,” there is no known official publication of the order and it appears that the deadline is ongoing. In addition, a new General Director of Labor was named today, which could impact implementation of the order going forward.

BAL Analysis: Companies with valid work permits who do not want to risk cancelation of their permits should plan to present their work permits and proof of recruitment authorization to the Ministry of Labor as soon as possible. U.S. nationals continue to be exempt from work permit requirements for up to 90 days for all work categories, including offshore rotations.

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

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