The work permit and the residence permit are essential for any foreign employee in Morocco. What you need to know is that without these official documents, a number of simple procedures are simply impossible to perform. For example, it is not possible to open a bank account in dirhams, to buy a car or to register your children in school.
In practice, mastering the procedure for obtaining these documents can be a real challenge for foreign companies wishing to recruit or send a foreign employee to Morocco.
The questions that come up most often are what are the prerequisites for employing a foreign employee in Morocco? Is it necessary to incorporate a company in order to hire an expatriate in Morocco? What would be the impact in terms of social security? Will it be necessary to go through a secondment procedure or employ the foreign employee via a “local” contract?
We will try to answer these questions in this article.
Read more : Employer of Record Morocco
Expatriation vs. secondment
Expatriation generally concerns employees who are sent abroad for long-term assignments and are no longer affiliated to the social security system of their country of origin.
In practice, the expatriate status results in the termination or suspension of the employment relationship with the foreign company of origin. The expatriate is then considered part of the Moroccan company that employs him/her and is therefore subject to the Moroccan social security system, i.e. the Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale (CNSS).
The secondment procedure is characterized by a short stay abroad and by the maintenance of the employment relationship with the foreign company of origin.
The particularity of this system is that the employee is considered as still being part of the workforce of the foreign company of origin. This allows the employee to continue to benefit from the social security system of the country of origin while exempting him/her from contributing to the social security system of the host country, as long as a social security agreement exists between the two countries.
For example, Morocco has signed and ratified bilateral social security agreements with a total of 16 countries, including France, Belgium, Germany and Spain.
The work permit or foreign employment contract (CTE)
It should first be noted that the prerequisite for obtaining a work permit is the existence of an operational legal entity in Morocco (Company or Branch) to which the foreign employee will be attached.
Indeed, a foreign company wishing to employ a foreign employee in Morocco will first have to set up a company or a branch in Morocco. It is this local entity that will have to initiate the procedure for obtaining a visa for the foreign employee’s employment contract from the Ministry of Labor and Professional Insertion before the foreign employee can start working in Morocco.
Regarding the procedure itself, Article 516 of the Labor Code specifies that “any employer wishing to recruit a foreign employee must obtain authorization from the government authority in charge of labor. This authorization is granted in the form of a visa affixed to the employment contract. The date of the visa is the date on which the employment contract takes effect.
The work permit is in the form of a visa affixed to a form called “Alien Employment Contract”. This visa is in practice granted for a period ranging from 1 to 3 years (when it is a secondment).
As of June 2017, visa applications are made only through an online platform of the Ministry called Taachir. The time to obtain this visa is 1 week to 10 days.
In addition, the procedure for obtaining a work visa is different depending on whether it is a secondment or an expatriation. Seconded employees are exempted from the production of a certificate of activity issued by the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC) (equivalent to the Pôle emploi in France).
Indeed, any employer wishing to employ a foreign employee must obtain an authorization from ANAPEC except for a certain number of profiles such as company managers, Tunisian, Algerian or Senegalese citizens or employees of companies having obtained the CFC status, etc…)
It is for this reason that it is recommended for foreign companies to use the secondment procedure when they decide to send a foreign employee to Morocco.
The residence permit
Once the work permit has been obtained, an application for a residence permit must be filed at the Prefecture of Police in the employee’s place of residence. The employee’s physical presence at the time of filing the application is mandatory.
A receipt is then issued within one week to ten days and serves as a temporary residence permit. This document allows the applicant to open a bank account in dirhams or to buy a car.
The final residence permit is then issued within three months and is valid for one year, renewable.
Some practical advice
- It may seem obvious, but you should not send a foreign employee to Morocco before obtaining a work permit. The host company is not immune from an unexpected visit from the labor inspectorate. In addition, it is also possible that the foreign employee will be blocked from entering the country if the border authorities find that he or she is a resident of Morocco (although he or she should never stay in Morocco for more than three continuous months) and does not have a residence permit.
- A preliminary study of the legal, tax and social regime applicable to the foreign employee should be carried out before he or she settles in Morocco in order to avoid possible tax frictions or legal problems.
- It is strongly recommended to renew the employee’s residence permit before it expires to avoid being in violation of Moroccan regulations.
- It is preferable to be accompanied by a professional during the preparation and filing of the documents in order to avoid possible delays or complications with the administration.
- It is important to carefully prepare the documents required for both procedures in order to avoid having to go back and forth with the administration.
- The official documents to be provided to the Prefecture of Police (birth certificate, extract from the criminal record, etc.) must not be more than 3 months old at the date of their submission. It is important to provide the administration with recent documents to avoid having to request them again in the country of origin.