A work permit is an approval granted by the relevant authority for the employment of foreign nationals specifying the number and description of persons authorized to be employed. The work permit specifies the name of the employer and a statement indicating that the holder is only permitted to engage in the particular employment, business or professional occupation specified in the work permit.
GHANA IMMIGRATION SERVICE (GIS)
The authority or agency responsible for all immigration services including visa entry, residence and employment of foreign nationals in Ghana is the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). The Service is in charge of the following
- examine travel document of persons entering or leaving the country through the borders;
- ensure the application and enforcement of laws relating to the immigration and employment of non-Ghanaians in the country;
- advise on and implement international co-operation agreements with other countries and international organizations on matters relating to migration;
- manage and patrol the borders of the country;
- through the Comptroller – General or the dully authorized representative of the Comptroller – General issue visas for entry into the country and permits for residence or work in the country; and
- perform any other functions as required by law.
TYPES OF WORKING PERMIT IN GHANA
Ghana offers a specific set of visas to foreign nationals. Citizens of nations within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are able to travel to Ghana without an entry visa. All other foreign nationals will need to obtain a visa from the Ghanaian embassy in their country of residence.
Types of visas include:
- Single-entry visas, which allows the holder to cross the Ghanaian border once and stay for up to three months;
- In addition to an entry visa, foreign nationals will need a residence permit and a work permit to live and work in Ghana.
REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING A WORK PERMIT IN GHANA
Foreign nationals wishing to work in Ghana are required to obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Interior through the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), the permit is usually valid for a period of one year or six months depending on the request made. To apply for a work permit, the following documentation are required:
- Application letter on company’s letterhead;
- Business Registration Documents – certificate of incorporation, certificate of commencement of business, company regulations, form 3&4;
- Tax Clearance Certificate (for existing companies);
- Letter of employment / Contract;
- Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Certificate (If registered);
- Letter of support from Ministry, Department or Agency (if required);
- Bio data page of passport of applicant;
- Curriculum Vitae / Resume;
- Police Clearance Certificate from employee’s country of origin or current residence;
- Educational and Professional Certificates;
- Passport & residence permit copy of employer;
- Medical Report – To be done at the Ghana Immigration Service, Accra; and
- Non-Citizen ID card – To be done at the NIA Office in Accra.
PROCESSING A WORK PERMIT APPLICATION
The prospective employee should begin by applying for an entry visa at the Ghanaian embassy in their country of residence or in the nearest country if there is no embassy in the country of residence. The employee should also provide any necessary documents to the employer so that they can apply for a work permit and residence permit. Applications for work permits and residence permits should be submitted to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).
An employer is to also apply for the work permit and should be signed by himself or an authorized representative of the employer. The person who signs the application must attach relevant documents as proof that he is an officer of the company. The form requires relevant and accurate information of the company, employee and employment contract details to be provided to enable the GIS to effectively assess and the application on its own merits and take appropriate decision.
RESIDENCE PERMIT IN GHANA
The work permit is the first stage in the work authorization process and therefore does not entitle a prospective employee to engage in work activities in Ghana. To commence work activities, the applicant is required to apply and obtain a residence permit with their company. A Residence Permit is obtained after the grant of a work permit, the employer is required to apply on behalf of its employee to the Ghana Immigration Service.
The following requirements must accompany the application;
- Attach two(2) recent passport pictures
- Copy of Non-Citizen ID Card
- Original Passport of employee
- Approved work permit/Automatic Quota
- Current Company Tax Clearance Certificate (for existing companies)
- Letter of support from Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Ghana Free Zones Board or Minerals Commission (where applicable)
- Police Clearance Report from home country
- Medical Report from Ghana Immigration Service Clinic
- Non-Citizen ID Card
- Business Registration Documents
- Offer letter/Appointment letter/ Contract of employments
- Company’s audited accounts of previous year.
COST OF OBTAINING WORK AND RESIDENCE PERMIT IN GHANA
The cost for obtaining a work and residence permit are as follows;
- One year work and residence permit fee – $1,000
- Medical Screening from Ghana Immigration – $200
- Non-Citizen ID Card from National Identification Authority (NIA) – $120
ECOWAS Citizens do not require a visa to enter Ghana, however, to live and work in Ghana, they require to have a work and residence permit. The cost for obtaining a work and residence permit as an ECOWAS Citizen is given below;
- One year work and residence permit fee – $500
- Medical Screening from Ghana Immigration – GHS 900
- Non-Citizen ID Card from National Identification Authority (NIA) – $120
A comprehensive list of the official fees charged by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for obtaining a work or residence permit in Ghana can be found on the GIPC website here. These fees were reviewed in 2016 and contains the cost of different categories of work and residence permits that can be obtained in Ghana. It also specifies the penalties for default.
GHANA INVESTMENT PROMOTION CENTRE (GIPC)
In order to obtain relevant automatic quotas or work permit, companies may be required to register with other statutory agencies and comply with sector specific requirements depending on the company’s ownership structure or the sector of operation.
Companies with foreign ownership (whether jointly / wholly foreign owned) are required to register with the GIPC and then subsequently apply for automatic immigrant quotas based on their equity investment.
REQUIREMENTS FOR HOLDERS OF GIPC QUOTA
- Letter of application for residence permit from company
- Business Registration Documents – certificate of incorporation, certificate of commencement of business, company regulations, form 3&4
- Completed residence permit form
- 2 passport size pictures
- GIPC quota approval letter
- Police report from country of origin
- Medical report from recognized hospital in Ghana
- Employment contract
- Tax clearance certificate from the company
- Copy of non-citizen ID card
Other specific agencies are the Ghana Free Zones Board, Petroleum Commission, and Minerals Commission having their specific requirements.
It is important to note that a Ghana Work permit or Immigrant quota work permit specifies the job title and indicates the employer by whom that person is employed. The Ghana work permit or Immigrants quota work permit holder may not engage in any other employment, business, profession or occupation in Ghana for reward other than what is specified by the work permit or Immigrant quota.
Obtaining a Ghana work permit is not permission to take up residency, upon obtaining the work permit an application must be then be made for residency. Only when the applicant has been granted a residence permit by the Director of Immigration may they remain and work in the Ghana.