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23 Jul 2019
BY Dieudonné Nzafashwanayo

Multinationals are now able to second their employees to Rwanda

Rwanda has adopted a ministerial order implementing the law on immigration and emigration, introducing various changes to the Rwandan immigration and emigration landscape.

The ministerial order provides for a new type of work/residence permit (the Q1 permit), which allows the secondment of employees of multinationals to their subsidiaries and/or branches in Rwanda without employees being required to enter into employment contracts with a Rwandan company.

The Q1 permit will be issued to a foreigner assigned by his or her home company or organisation to its affiliate company or organisation registered in Rwanda to undertake a specific assignment for a defined period of time. It is valid for a period not exceeding one year and is renewable.

The application requirements for the Q1 permit include:

  • proof of affiliation between a foreign or international company or organisation transferring an employee and the Rwandan company or organisation of his or her placement;
  • an employment contract with a foreign company or organisation for a duration not shorter than the expected length of stay in Rwanda;
  • a criminal record certificate; and
  • a recommendation letter from a company or organisation in Rwanda, accepting the transfer of a foreign employee specifying his or her occupation and the duration of his or her employment in Rwanda.

The ministerial order is not prescriptive on whether the issue of a Q1 permit will be subject to the normal skills scarcity and labour market test requirements, and it is expected that this will be practically dealt with by the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration.

The former regime did not provide for a work/residence permit for seconded employees and (except in the case of intergovernmental organisations such as United Nations specialised agencies) it was almost impossible to second an employee without the latter having an employment contract with a Rwandan entity. This then makes the Q1 permit a welcome relief for multinationals and international organization with subsidiaries or branches in Rwanda.

Reviewed by Celia Becker, an executive in ENSafrica’s Africa regulatory and business intelligence department.