Despite a degree of political unrest, Egypt might be an easier choice of destination for employment than one might think: the country has, after all, been a multicultural hub for centuries and there are currently many expats working in the region. The application process for obtaining a work permit is is complex and can take a long time (some expats report waiting up to a year for their permit), but it is not impossible. If you already work for a company which has offices in Egypt, you may also consider applying for a secondment.You will need a work permit in order to work legally in Egypt, but you will be able to apply for one yourself if you do not have an employer lined up already. It is recommended, however, that if you are planning to work in Egypt, you secure a job offer before you fly.
If you are applying yourself, you will need to contact the nearest Ministry of Manpower and will need to submit the following documentation:
• passport (you will also need valid Egyptian residence status)
• 7 passport-size photos
• 2 copies of your employer’s incorporation contract
• 2 copies of your Tax ID card
• 1 copy of your employer’s commercial register
• 1 copy of a letter of sponsorship from your employer
• 2 copies of your academic qualifications (you may need to get these apostilled)
• licenses required for practicing your profession (e.g. medical licenses) and any approval from the local authority relating to your particular sector
• a letter from your employer explaining why it is necessary to hire you as an expat (hiring local workers is prioritized in Egypt)
• a test showing you are free of HIV/AIDs
• approval from Egypt’s State Security Service stating that you are not a threat to national security or public safety (you can consult the Ministry of Manpower about obtaining this)
You will also need to pay a fee for your visa.
Qualified English (TEFL) teachers are always in demand in private educational establishments, but you can also find work in other skilled sectors, such as architecture, medicine, pharmaceuticals and engineering.
Some casual labour, such as bartending, is also possible, but the country’s economy has taken a downturn since the Arab Spring and Egypt currently has a high level of unemployment, which can make casual jobs difficult to find. However, some recruitment sites list vacancies throughout the hospitality industry. Speaking Modern Standard Arabic will be an advantage if you are planning on working in this sector.
Most vacancies will be in Cairo, particularly with international companies, and the city already has a large number of expats working there. Alexandria has a number of maritime-related industries, such as dry bulk shipping, and if you have a background in this sector it might be worth looking at any job opportunities here.
Egypt officially operates a 48 hour maximum working week, from Sunday – Thursday (Friday is the Islamic day for prayer), although 42 hours is reported as more standard. You may find that you have to work a 6 day week, however, in which case the hours you work per day will be less. As an Islamic nation, Egypt may have reduced working hours during Ramadan, but this is unlikely to apply to foreign personnel unless they, too, are Moslem.
Annual leave is set at 26 working days per year for private-sector employees. In the public sector, employees are entitled to 32 days per year, increasing to 34 from age 50 and 36 from age 55. Egypt currently has 14 public holidays.
If you are pregnant, and have been working for a specified length of time, usually 10 months, you will be eligible for maternity leave: this consists of 90 days of leave. A company cannot ask you to return to work until 45 days after the birth of your child, and it is illegal to fire you during maternity leave.
Egypt does not have a minimum wage per se outside the public sector. Within that sector it is currently LE 1,200 (around $174 USD) per month, and is set by the government. There is no minimum wage in the private sector: you will need to negotiate your basic salary with your employer. Overseas personnel can usually command higher salaries than Egyptians, particularly within international companies.
Your spouse will be able to work but must apply for a separate work permit: they will not be permitted to work as a dependent of yourself. Remember, too, that social security and public health insurance in Egypt are not at the same standard as in European or North American countries and it is recommended that you have enough money to live on as well as private health cover if you are planning to move here to work, and are intending to bring your dependents.
You can make speculative applications to companies in Egypt.
There are a number of recruitment sites which cover the region, and you can also explore some of the online jobs boards. As mentioned above, secondment may also be a possibility if your current employer operates in the region.
Applying For A Job
It is advisable to have your CV/resume translated into Arabic, unless you are intending to work for an English-speaking international company.
Employers are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. The country does not actually criminalize same-sex relationships but it has to be said that Egypt is not particularly LGBT-friendly.
Qualifications And Training
It is recommended that you have any copies of your qualifications translated into Arabic and apostilled.
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