Africa Development Economy Labour Legislation Mozambique

Understanding: Mozambique’s new labour regulation for foreigners workers

On December 1st 2016, a new regulation providing the mechanisms and procedures to apply to the hiring of Foreign Citizens in Mozambique will come into effect.

This Foreign Hiring Regulation shall apply to the hiring of foreign citizens by national or foreign employers, with the exception of embassies and other diplomatic bodies, which have been excluded from this new regulation.

The private employment agencies can no longer hire foreigners on behalf of other employees (for instance, the transfer of a worker, whether occasional or not); such agencies are only allowed to hire employees for themselves (expressly under the terms of this Foreign Hiring Regulation).
Another innovation, with a great practical impact, is the need to prove that the employee has the academic requisites or professional qualifications for the job and that there are no suitably qualified local employees for that work position.

This evidence shall be presented by providing a certificate of qualifications and/or the certificate of equivalence, when the latter has been issued in a foreign country.

Furthermore, the employer will be obliged to ensure that the foreign employee, after gaining three years of work experience, transfers his knowledge to the local employee in order to engineer the foreign employee’s replacement by the local one and the employment contracts shall refer to the frequency of the foreign employee’s salary payment. This Foreign Hiring Regulation shall apply to all procedures concerning the transfer conditions of any foreign employee (these procedures shall no longer be ruled by the labor law).

Another important provision in this Foreign Hiring Regulation states that the termination of any local employee employment contract will lead to the termination of a corresponding number of foreign employee employment contracts (as a result of the reduction of Mozambican workers).

On the short-term employment contract regime the key amendments are:

  • Any short-term employment contract may not exceed a period of 90 days per year (the precedent regulation stated a limit of 30 days renewed);
  • Any hiring procedures imply the payment of a tax and;
  • The deadline for any approval of hiring procedures (whether affirmative or negative) will be decided within 5 business days (in the precedent regulation such decision was immediately provided).

Under the new quota regime, the present hiring procedures (including the respective communication to the competent authorities) is subject to the arrival date of the foreign worker in the country, while the precedent regulation referred to the effective hiring date.

To determine the “quota”, the employer should present a staff plan including information on the respective start activity date; meaning that any employer just starting up an activity or wishing to start any activity should be registered with the Labor Ministry; otherwise it will not be possible to hire a foreign employee.

At the date on which the process is submitted to the competent authorities, the employer is obliged to present an academic qualifications certificate/the professional qualifications certificate and a certificate of equivalence (if the latter has been issued abroad). This procedure will compel the employer to prove that the foreign employee has the required qualifications for the proposed job, unlike the national employee.

The certificate proving that the employer has no debt to the State is valid for 30 days following its issuance date; after this time limit the certificate will be considered “expired” and therefore will not be accepted for the purpose.

The employer will no longer be responsible for requesting from Social Security National Institute (INSS) the certificate stating that it has no debt to INSS. This is now the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor.

This Foreign Hiring Regulation introduces some changes in what concerns the documents to be provided along with any hiring application, such as, for instance, a copy of the employer business license “alvará”. However, these changes will not have a great practical impact.

Important note: This Regulation shall not apply to the hiring of foreign citizens for the oil and gas and mining sectors. These sectors will continue to be ruled by specific legislation.

Article by Pedro Gonçalves Paes

Pedro is a Partner at MC&A Law Office based in Lisbon, Maputo and Angola. He is responsible primarly for the firm’s African practice with a special focus in Corporate Law. Pedro is a graduate at the School of Law of the Catholic University of Lisbon and has a post-graduation degree in Labour Law granted at the Law School of the University of Lisbon. In 2007 obtained a Diploma in European Union Law at the Kings College, University of London.


  1. I worked in Mozambique for 14 years as a foreign worker, I remembered year 2003 when I started the labour law as of now that I read this article about the employer and employee as a foreigner sad to say others are doing and implementing but please this is inly a matter of giving attention in fairness to the government of Mozambique . It was already done and heard that when there is a law like this the government agency will go and check the school (i am considering school as a reference because i am a professor) when they found out that the school is not following the law, this agency people will make a remarks that they violate the law but at the end of the meeting (sad to say) money talks or they canceled everything what they violate and everything is fine for the school. Now look at SANANA SCHOOL in Maputo owned by a Mozambican woman and the husband is working in Department of Labour in Maputo , there are so many Pilipino who are working there but not a teacher , they said the other school suffered but the SANANA everything gonna be alright because the husband of the owner is wirking in Department of Labour, please give attention to this queries. Also check this following school also :
    Xavier International School-owner Pilipino Ms. Mercy Calderon
    Stella Maris International School- owner by late Marciana Sablay-now the daughter Rowena(Beira, nampula, quilimane, nacala)
    Grandeur- owner Imad, Maputo
    Cinderella- School-Maputo
    Hamza School- Maputo
    Fairview- Maputo
    These schools are full of Pilipino and they are not employing locals,, why they are not following the law? I know implementing this law will help Mozambique to employed the unemployed but deserving Mozambican citizen and help improving the unemployment rate of the country.
    I think Mozambique is for Mozambican but inly there are exemptions, but teaching African can do more and well verse in Cambridge rather than Pilipinos who are teaching there.
    Thanks and more power.

  2. In response to Loida, one of the reasons why foreign nationals are being considered over locals is due to the level of English being offered by local teachers. Parents especially expats prefer for their kids to be taught in English which is a second language in their countries. Portuguese is the major language in Mozambique. Because of this preference the regulations at these schools are lax. Take your comment for instance, although you insist your are a foreigner your level of English is almost that of a local and worst thing is you used to be a Professor. I have personally seen the local teachers available especially for English subjects and its questionable. A previous company i worked for had an HR nightmare for over a year because of the quota. We could not find someone who was capable of completing certain tasks which required a good grammatical background. Currently i understand they have had to make do with substandard output due to this issue. This has in turn created more work for the supervisor in charge. I don’t mean to insult the locals but the unfortunate thing is that locals are producing below standard work, companies are forced to hire foreigners through unorthodox means. I know of several small foreign owned companies that have been shut down after local employees have made unjustified complaints. So yes hiring foreigners seems more favorable. The company i work for currently hires 25 locals and 10 foreigners. Almost all 25 locals have proved to be unreliable and in other countries would have been dismissed a long time ago but they have been kept on due to the quota and they know this which in turn makes it even more difficult to work with them as their work is now being shouldered by the 10 foreigners.
    Before we start accusing foreigners of taking up jobs we need to find out why that situation is occurring apart from corruption, look at what happened in Tanzania. They made it difficult to hire expats and were left with locals. The end result was they had unqualified people holding influential posts. Although they are trying to undo the damage a lot was committed to begin with

  3. Tarisia, you have said it all. If the Mozambican Government can understand what happened to their economic development after the expulsion of the foreigners, then they should have a re-think about this new labour regulations that is stemming another economic disaster for them. I am a foreign missionary, and can to a certain extent say that the local employees are to a greater extent inept. Their aptitude and attitude to work beats my understanding of seriousness. They pride free times to busy schedules.
    Why don’t the government invest real time in the objective training of their citizens by offering them scholarships to go and study abroad and gain these requisite knowledge that can place them well in the job market. Mediocrity seem to be their standard, and how can a foreign investor incline on such brood to break even in a capital intensive global economy. Do they have Training Institutes for step ups in the different facets of Human resourcing. The expat is not necessarily a Trainer but may be a professional, so the idea of transferring requisite knowledge in three years may turn to be a failed venture.
    Labour laws are good but that of the Federal Republic of Mozambique does not even have an oita of protection for the the expat or even the foreign employer, who is investing his life resource he/she worked up from his country.
    I think that the government’s body language is to frustrate foreigners but it will be tantamount to their economic development and progress.

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