A visa to Madagascar can be obtained via the embassy or consulate in your home country. Your passport will need to be valid for at least six months beyond your arrival date in order for you to gain entry into Madagascar.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, due in part to its political instability in recent years, and was the recipient of international aid in the early part of the 21st century. The country’s GDP is just over billion USD.
Agriculture makes the biggest contribution to the economy of Madagascar, employing approximately 70% of the workforce. Crops grown include cotton, tobacco, coffee, cacao, cinnamon, and other spices. Madagascar is also one of the world’s major suppliers of vanilla. Another major export from Madagascar is the seafood, primarily shrimp.
Other key employers for people working in Madagascar include the clothing and mining industries. Mining has been established to extract nickel, ilmenite, and gemstones. More recently, oil reserves have begun to be exploited, with Madagascar Oil having oil fields at Tsimiroro and Bemolanga.
Prior to the early 1970s, Madagascar was a net exporter of food and other crops, but since then it has become a net importer. The further advancement of agricultural output has been hampered by the use of farming practices such as slash and burn, known locally as Tavy, for creating rice fields. This method results in the loss of nutrients in the soil and soil erosion, quickly rendering an area unproductive. This then prompts further slash and burn to exploit the next area.
The significance of the country in terms of flora and fauna cannot be overstated, with an estimated 90% of it being unique to Madagascar. Therefore eco-tourism contributes to a potential growth of the island. However, further growth of the tourist industry is at risk because of civil unrest in parts of the island and continuing deforestation, particularly where this impacts primary rainforest.
Many an expat who plans to work in Madagascar already has a position arranged through their existing employer. If you would like to work in there, and don’t have sponsorship from a current employer, a good option is to search for opportunities on professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn.
Expatriates are often employed in areas such as engineering, IT, and telecommunications. There are also opportunities for native English speakers to gain employment teaching English in Madagascar. Larger embassies, such as the United States Embassy, also have working opportunities from time to time.
All expatriates who wish to work in Madagascar require a work permit. In most cases, securing a work permit is simple as your employer in Madagascar will sponsor your stay in the country. Those who plan to be self-employed in Madagascar will need to arrange a permit for themselves.
A possible option is to approach an umbrella company, who will become an employer for official and taxation purposes, but you retain full autonomy with regard to how you run your business. The umbrella company will then provide the sponsorship for the work permit. It is essential to confirm that an umbrella company is registered as an approved sponsor, though!