Update on the amendments to the Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act in Tanzania

  • Legal Development 04 November 2021 04 November 2021
  • Africa

  • Employment, Pensions & Immigration

The 2021 Written Laws¹ recently amended the Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act of 2015 (the Act). In this article, we explore the key changes made to the Act and how this will impact investors doing business in Tanzania and non-citizen employees going forward.

Update on the amendments to the Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act in Tanzania

Extension of time for non-citizen employees’ work permits

Section 12(4) of the Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act of 2015 (the Act) has been amended to extend the time limit for work permits of non-citizen employees from the initial five years to eight years. The law now provides that unless previously cancelled, a work permit shall be valid for a period of 24 months from the date it was issued and may be renewed provided that the total period of validity of the first grant and its renewals do not exceed eight years.

A non-citizen whose five year work permit is expiring or who has applied for their final grant can now make an application to get an extension of up to eight years as discussed above.

However, please note that the Labour Commissioner still has powers to attach conditions to the work permit, i.e., regarding the finality of the permit where:

  • the employer has requested the work permit for a limited duration;
  • the Labour Commissioner considers it necessary for the proper implementation of the Act; and
  • the non-citizen is about to complete his time working in the country pursuant to section 12(4).

Application for work permit to be done electronically

Section 10 of the Act has been amended by adding subsection (4): “For purposes of facilitating application of permits under this section, the Labour Commissioner shall, subject to the prescribed regulations and after consultation with other relevant authorities, establish an electronic system for application and issuance of work permits.”

Applications are now done through the Online Work Permit Application and Issuance System (OWAIS). The move will address the delays caused by physical submission and issuance of work permits

Incentives to investors

Section 19 of the Act has been repealed and replaced. The amendment now provides that an investor who has been granted incentives and registered with the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) and Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) may upon payment of a prescribed fee, employ up to ten non-citizens without being subjected to the conditions prescribed under the Act. Prior to the amendment, an investor could employ up to five non-citizens during the initial period of investment.

¹Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 4) Act of 2021


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