The great number of foreign companies in Erbil has caused a large expat community to spring up. Newcomers are welcomed with open arms; so take advantage of the InterNations forums to familiarize yourself with the local scene and to get to know your fellow expatriates before you arrive.
Erbil is the commercial center of Kurdistan and is the hub of the region’s oil and gas industries — by far the nation’s most profitable export. Tourism is also booming and foreign investment in the trade has increased vastly in recent years, which is evidenced by the large numbers of luxury hotels springing up all over the city. Investors have also taken an interest in the lucrative education, communications, and agriculture sectors.
The Kurdistan Regional Government actively promotes speculation and enterprise; through incentive schemes, customs related tax exemptions, and investment protection guarantees, Kurdistan, and Erbil in particular, is the most facilitating and free place to do business in the entire country.
All of these factors have led to Kurdistan having one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with the past ten years witnessing a steady GDP growth of between six and ten per cent.
There are three main ways to find a sponsor company in Erbil. Firstly, being able to network is an important skill that can help you build up your number of overseas business contacts, and is one of the best ways to find out about any new opportunities.
The second best resource is probably online recruitment agencies and job sites; a Google search will bring up a huge number of these, but some particularly useful websites are bayt, mselect, and GulfTalent .
And finally, local newspapers are well worth keeping an eye on. Some popular English language papers include the Kurdish Globe and SOMA Digest. There is also a Gulf News website which has an excellent careers section.
In Kurdistan a flat rate of 5% is applied to any personal income with source in the region and exceeding 1 million IQD per month. Your employer must also register all employees with the Labor and Social Security Department in order for a compulsory 5% social security tax to be deducted. Contributions for employers are 12%.
Expats are required to pay taxes on their income if they reside and produce income in the country for 4 consecutive months or for a total of 6 months during the tax year.
The corporate income tax is 15% of the taxable income.