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Working in Eritrea?

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Ole Jacobsen

Living in Eritrea, from Norway

"Making business in Eritrea is very different from Norway. On InterNations I can exchange my experiences with fellow expats. "

Helen Laidboe

Living in Eritrea, from the USA

"With InterNations I realized that I am not the only expat out here in Asmara. Even made some really good friends from the US!"

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Eritrea at a Glance

Working in Eritrea

Eritrea is on the up, and increased foreign investment in its industries is testament to the bright future that’s in store for this small African country. Life in Eritrea has never been more promising or exciting for professionals: find out all the opportunities and threats of working in Eritrea in our expat guide!

Many ambitious professionals are making the move to Africa and taking advantage of the huge economic growth the continent is experiencing. Eritrea in particular has made huge strides, and has many exciting prospects for young businessmen and women. 

Economic Overview

Eritrea is bouncing back after the economic slump of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War years, and in 2011 had one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Growth has slowed of late; however, there was still a year on year GDP increase of 2.1% in 2015.

Mining, particularly of gold, has received a lot of foreign investment and is one of the country’s major employers. Eritrea has an abundance of valuable natural resources including copper, granite and marble, which has attracted investment from Australia, Canada, France, South Korea and the US. 

The oil industry is also on the up; the US has been involved in drilling operations in the Red Sea and there are thought to be many more untapped sources. Renewable energy is also attracting investment and wind and solar energy projects are now underway.

Major Eritrean exports of food, livestock and textiles are mainly shipped to the six markets of China, Egypt, UK, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

Work Permits for Eritrea

To work in Eritrea you will require either a business visa or, if you will be residing in the country, an employment visa. In order to be issued with an employment visa you will first need to get a work permit from the Eritrean Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare (MLHW). Your employer needs to verify your educational qualifications and work experience to the MLHW, and you must be able to show a passport that is valid for at least another year. 

You should receive your work permit card within three months of your successful application; this card must be renewed every year. Be sure to carry this with you whenever you travel within the country, as you may be required to show this to the relevant authorities. 

Income Taxation in Eritrea

All expats will have to pay income tax to the Eritrean government; the rate varies greatly depending on your income and circumstances but is anywhere between 2% and 30% of your earnings. You will also need to pay social security tax, which funds the state welfare system and pays out pensions and unemployment benefits. 

The likelihood is that you won’t need to worry about how your taxes are paid as your employer should handle everything under the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) system. Your tax contributions will be calculated as a percentage of your monthly earnings and you will receive a net wage.

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