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Expat Hotspots and Jobs in Tanzania

Are you one of the many expats working in Tanzania for companies in various economic sectors or for an international organization or NGO? Expats about to begin working in Tanzania will find information on the economy, main sectors, the job search, social and business etiquette, and more in this guide.
The tourism industry attracts many expats to Arusha.

Arusha and Other Expat Hotspots

The second-largest expat hub in Tanzania is Arusha, located in northeast Tanzania close to the border with Kenya. It is the country’s third-largest city and has a population of 416,000 (739,000 if you include the surrounding metro area). Many people find tourism jobs in Arusha, as the city is located near several of the country’s (and continent’s) most famous destinations, such as Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Olduvai Gorge, and Mount Kilimanjaro, to name a few.

Many expats working in Tanzania also come to Arusha due to its status as a major international diplomatic hub. They work at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the headquarters of the East African Community. There are also many jobs available in NGOs that specialize in topics such as HIV and AIDS awareness, children’s education, or microfinance.

Other cities with sizeable expat communities include Mwanza, Tanzania’s second-largest city and a major trading center, Dodoma, the country’s legislative capital, Moshi, located at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar City, located on Unguja Island, the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago.

The Job Search

The majority of expats in Tanzania work in the education, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, and wholesale and retail trade sectors. Common jobs include working as English teachers, IT project managers, software developers, oil and gas workers, and telecommunications contractors. The cost of living can be quite high in Tanzania, especially if you want to buy imported Western foods and live according to Western standards, so you should keep this in mind when you are negotiating your contract.

The following online search engines are a good place to start looking for a job in Tanzania:

Challenges for Expats in Tanzania

According to Tanzania’s National Bureau of Statistics, foreign workers make up just 0.8% of the workforce. Most of these expatriates come from other East African Community countries, with smaller numbers from India, Europe, the US, Canada, and South Africa. Despite this small percentage, the current Tanzanian government is worried that this number is too high. It is true that about 90% of the CEOs in the country are expats, largely due to a lack of sufficient skills among the local population. Current laws already require the deputy of a company to be Tanzanian if the CEO is not and an expat quota of five persons is put on a company during its start-up period.

Recent trends seem to point the way towards tougher restrictions on expats working in Tanzania. In October 2013, the government ordered over 1,500 foreign teachers to leave due to expired work permits and illegal immigration. A bill, called the Act for Foreign Workers’ Permits, was also passed in June 2015. This act centralizes the work permit application process, allowing it to be more easily supervised and controlled in the hope that the number of foreign workers in Tanzania will decrease. This bill, together with increased work permit costs in October 2012 and the work permit crackdown in October 2013, show a growing move towards protectionist policies when it comes to hiring expatriates.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

Gilberto Vieira

"Finding contacts among the expats in Tanzania's tourism industry wasn't half as difficult as I had feared. "

Chen Ming

"Karibu Sana, fellow expats in Dar es Salaam or 'Dar', for short! You'll probably need some tips on the 'do's & 'don't's in Tanzania."

Global Expat Guide