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Paul Zimmerer

Living in Egypt, from Germany

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Cairo at a Glance

Employment Matters for Expats in Cairo

Working in Cairo is a great option if you are interested in acquiring work experience in the Middle East. As a national and regional driving force, the Egyptian capital offers various business opportunities for expats. Find out what they are and how to approach them on InterNations.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Dear Readers,

Due to the continuous turmoil Cairo and all of Egypt have been experiencing for the past years, there is no way for us to ensure that all the factual information contained in this article series is accurate and up-to-date. Some parts of Egypt, including some neighborhoods of Cairo, should not be considered a safe destination for expatriates at the moment (September 2014). Thank you for your understanding!

The InterNations Editorial Office

 

Finding Employment

Many nations have realized Egypt’s economic potential, therefore establishing chambers of commerce in Cairo. Everyone who is interested in working in Cairo can find help and guidance as well as many job listings there. Chambers of commerce are highly valuable stepping stones on the path towards working in Cairo, and they should be among your preferred sources of information.

We highly recommend finding employment before actually settling in Cairo. Acquiring a work permit is somewhat of an arduous task, and local newspapers rarely advertise jobs suitable for expatriates. Settling on a company and signing an employment contract will drastically simplify matters in every respect. 

Work Permits and Other Paperwork

If no Egyptian nationals qualify for a certain position, a foreign national may apply for a work permit valid for up to one year. It can then be renewed for up to three years. Certain foreigners, such as foreign investors and managing directors, can apply for temporary visas for a period of five years. 

The first step towards obtaining a work permit is converting your temporary or tourist visa into a work visa. This visa can then be converted into a work permit if you file an application with the Ministry of Immigration and Manpower in Egypt. You must also provide proof of (prospective) employment and proof that you have not contracted HIV.

Following the approval of the request for a work permit by the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration, the nearest Egyptian consulate is notified and may authorize a tourist visa for you. After you arrive in Egypt, you have four to six weeks to take the remaining steps towards securing a work permit. However, you can work during this period as long as you have handed in all the paperwork for the work permit.

The final step is changing the sponsoring employer to your current employer after you have obtained your work permit. 

Current Situation for Expats

Employers are supposed to give jobs to locals and grant them the full benefits of the social security system, rather than employing foreigners which usually do not enjoy the same rights. However, this should not affect highly skilled professionals, but rather seasonal workers and similar groups. The number of non-Egyptian employees in any company must not exceed 10% of the total work force for semiskilled or unskilled workers. For skilled workers the limit is 25%. Additionally, the total compensation of foreign employees must not exceed 35% of the establishment’s total payroll. 

 

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InterNations Expat Magazine