Tunisia is currently going through a period of rapid economic change, which is good news for anybody working in Tunis. After years of rigid state control over how every industry is run, an unprecedented level of freedom is now being extended to local businesses. As you might expect, Tunis is very much the center point for much of this activity, and so it is the best place for somebody moving from abroad to find work.
At the same time, it is not easy to predict exactly what direction the economy will take in future. That means that if, for example, you were planning on investing heavily in Tunisia or starting a new company there, you are doing so in risky territory.
The biggest industries in the city are petroleum, mining, tourism, and textiles, with clothing being a key exported good. For the most part, few companies in any of these industries will be looking for native English speakers, particularly ones who are not fluent in French or Arabic. Many expats end up teaching English in Tunis, where you can expect a monthly salary of about 645 TND.
Finding a job in Tunis if you are applying from abroad can be somewhat tricky. Assuming you can get a work permit (which we will discuss later on), you will almost certainly be required to speak fluent French or Arabic if you wish to pursue a career in Tunis.
Even if you are not limited by the language barrier, you may still find yourself held back by work permit issues if you are planning on working in Tunis. The application process can take as long as eight weeks to get through and there is no guarantee you will be granted the permit, regardless of your qualifications. Even if you have a job lined up in Tunis with a set start date, the authorities may decide against allowing you to work in the country.
The central issue with Tunis work permits is sponsorship. Without a company sponsoring your application, it is almost impossible to secure a permit. If you are offered employment with a Tunis-based corporation, they might agree to sponsor your permit but, then again, they might not. There are really no guarantees. To make things harder, many Tunis workplaces will not even consider your application unless you already have a work permit.
This means entering the Tunisian workforce from abroad can be exceptionally difficult. Yet there is a burgeoning expat community made up of foreigners working in Tunis, so it is not impossible. Prepare yourself, however, for a potentially frustrating process.