Algeria: 15-day temporary work visas now required for short assignments

Labor authorities in Ouargla Province, an oil producing region in Algeria, are no longer allowing exceptions from work permits that previously allowed foreign nationals to conduct work activities for up to 15 days on a business visa.

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What does the change mean? Employers should not attempt to send employees to conduct work on business visas and should anticipate that labor authorities are no longer allowing concessions even for very short work assignments. Labor authorities are now requiring companies to apply for and obtain a 15-day temporary work visa and short-term work authorization (Annex 13). The change is being gradually implemented on a regional basis, so the interpretation and application by labor and consular authorities may vary. All short-term work assignments in Algeria should be evaluated by BAL on a case-by-case basis until broader and consistent implementation is seen at both the national and consular mission levels.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Business visas and temporary work visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals intending to conduct short-term work in Algeria for less than 15 days.
  • Impact on processing times: Employers should factor in additional time to prepare and submit the additional documents that are required to apply for a temporary work visa.
  • Business impact: Companies should not rely on business visas for work activities and should be prepared for additional time and document requirements when planning short-term assignments in Algeria.
  • Next steps: Short-term work assignments should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Background: Algeria allows foreign nationals to conduct some limited business activities on business visas. Generally, work permits are required for work activities, but the law also permits foreign nationals, on a discretionary case-by-case basis, to apply to labor authorities for a concession to conduct some emergency work activities on business visas for up to 15 days.

While the temporary work visa is not new, some labor authorities are now requiring them instead of allowing 15-day concessions on a business visa. Under the procedures in Ouargla, the foreign employee must apply for a temporary work visa at an Algerian consulate. The sending employer must provide an employment contract and a letter attesting that the foreign employee is traveling to Algeria for work, as well as confirm its relationship with an Algerian entity. Upon arrival, the employee must apply to labor authorities in Ouargla for the 15-day work authorization and submit a medical certificate and copies of the employment contract, passport and the temporary work visa.

The 15-day work authorization is nonrenewable and the employee must leave Algeria at its expiration. If additional work is required, the employee will have to re-apply at an Algerian Embassy or consulate abroad. If a foreign employee requests successive 15-day temporary work visas, labor authorities may require a work permit instead, which involves labor market testing and additional procedures.

BAL Analysis: When sending foreign employees to Algeria on business visas, companies should be extremely careful that their activities are permitted business activities, as labor authorities have increased inspection and enforcement for misusing business visas. Companies face monetary fines and company representatives face fines plus imprisonment for repeat offenses. The foreign employee also faces fines, imprisonment, deportation and a ban on returning to Algeria.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Algeria. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seven offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

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