“A Practical Guide To Applying For A Work Permit In Ghana”

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work permit in Ghana

What is a Work Permit in Ghana?

A work permit is an authorization granted to a noncitizen to engage in work, employment, or business, which otherwise would be unauthorized. The nature of the work, employment, or business, including any conditions attached, would usually be specified in the permit.

 

It is unlawful for a noncitizen to pursue any work, employment, or business unless they have been issued a permit for that purpose. It is likewise illegal for any person to employ a noncitizen without obtaining authorization from the relevant authority to do so.

 

Are there conditions one must satisfy to qualify for a work permit in Ghana?

To be eligible for a work permit, an applicant must satisfy all the following conditions:

  • They must show that their entry or stay in Ghana is solely for the purpose of taking up the work or employment for which the work permit is sought.
  • They must demonstrate their qualification to work or undertake employment in the trade, business or calling in regard of which the permit is sought.
  • They must show that their taking of the work or employment is to the benefit of Ghana generally.
  • They must also prove that they are in lawful residence at the date of the application.

 

An application for a work permit must be made in-country. The application must be supported by a sponsor who would usually be an employer. The application must also be supported by a valid job offer or contract of employment from the employer to the applicant. A valid contract of employment includes offers from voluntary organizations and other nonpaid activities.

 

What documents must I submit for my work permit application?

  1. Application letter on the employer’s headed paper
  2. Business Registration Documents of the employer
  3. GIPC Certificate or immigrant Quota Approval Letters, if applicable
  4. Tax Clearance Certificate (for existing companies)
  5. Employment Contract or Appointment Letter
  6. Applicant’s Resume
  7. Police Report from Applicant’s Home Country
  8. Medical report from the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Clinic.
  9. Biodata page of applicant’s passport
  10. Educational and Professional certificates

 

 

 

To which institution must I submit my Application for a Ghana work permit?

The application must be made in the prescribed to the Comptroller-General of the GIS with the applicable fee and supporting documents. Apart from the GIS, other institutions with specific industry-focused functions are authorized to issue work permits to foreign nationals hired by businesses operating in their sectors. These institutions include:

  • Ghana Investment Promotion Centre
  • Ghana Free Zones Authority
  • The Minerals Commission
  • The Petroleum Commission
  • National Communications Authority

 

Are there conditions I must satisfy to qualify for a work permit in Ghana?

To be eligible for a work permit, you must satisfy all of the following conditions:

  • Your entry or stay in Ghana must be for the purpose of taking up the work or employment for which the work permit is sought.
  • You must be qualified to work or undertake employment in the trade, business or calling in regard of which you seek the permit.
  • Your taking of the work or employment must be to the benefit of Ghana generally.
  • You must be lawfully resident in Ghana at the date of the application

 

What is the duration that may be granted for a work permit?

The duration of a work permit would usually be specified in the document. It may be granted up to the duration of the applicant’s contract of employment or for a lesser period. A number of work permits are granted for a period of one year and may be renewed at the instance of the employer.

 

I have been issued my work permit in Ghana. Can I start work immediately?

The possession of a work permit does not entitle you to work in Ghana. To be eligible to work, you must also obtain a residence permit. It is unlawful to work without a residence permit.

 

Once you start work, you must give notice of the commencement of your employment in the prescribed form to the GIS. The notice must be filed not later than 7 days from the date of commencement. Failure to comply with this requirement may make you liable in fines or a term of imprisonment or to both.

 

I have changed my employer. Can I continue working on my existing work permit in Ghana?

No. You cannot. You cannot engage in any work or employment once you cease working with your employer. A work permit is valid so long as the work performed is for the employer specified in the permit. Once you change jobs, your new employer must obtain appropriate authorization to validate your new employment and residence in Ghana. If you begin work with a new employer without authorization, this will constitute illegal employment and may render you liable for fines, a term of imprisonment or repatriation from Ghana.

 

When you cease working with your employer, you must immediately file a notice of cessation of employment to the GIS. The notice must be in the prescribed form and must be filed not more than 7 days from the date your employment ended. Cessation of employment without appropriate notice is an offence and may render you liable for fines, a term of imprisonment or repatriation from Ghana.

 

What is usually contained in an approved work permit?

A work permit granted for the employment of a foreign national will specify the number and description of persons to be employed. If it is an approval for an immigrant quota, it will specify the period for which a foreign national may occupy a particular post with a Ghanaian understudying him to take over his post after the expiry of the period.

 

In addition, a work permit will specify details of the employee and notice that the holder shall not without written authorization engage in any form of paid employment or in any business or professional occupation in Ghana except as specified in the permit.

 

I am an employer. Do I have any obligations for hiring a foreign national?

Yes, you have. An employer must satisfy certain compliance requirements for hiring a foreign national. Failure to comply with any of the requirements constitutes an offence and may render you liable in fines or a term of imprisonment or to both.

 

  • First, you must not employ a foreign national unless you have obtained authorization to do so.
  • When you hire a foreign national, you must give notice of commencement of the employment in the prescribed form to the GIS. The notice must be filed not later than 7 days from the date the employee starts work.
  • You must also file a letter of guarantee in the prescribed form. The letter of guarantee is given by the employer as a form of security to cover the repatriation expenses of the employee in the event of their death or cessation of employment.
  • If an employee ceases work, you must immediately give notice of the cessation of employment in the prescribed form. The notice must be filed not more than 7 days from the date the employee ceases work.
  • Finally, you must file an annual return of all foreign nationals in your employment. The return must be filed not later than the 15th day of January each year.

 

As already stated, the failure to comply with any of the above requirements may render the employer liable in fines or a term of imprisonment or to both.

 

Is my work permit renewable?

You may renew your work permit provided you satisfy the conditions for the renewal. Your application for a renewal may be refused if the officer is satisfied that you violated the conditions of your permit by engaging in unauthorized work or employment.

 

An application for renewal must be made not later than one month before the expiry of the permit.  A renewal is treated as a fresh application. This means that you must complete relevant forms, pay the applicable permit fee, and submit all supporting documents. The fee payable for a renewal of a permit is the same as the original application.

 

What are the government fees for a work permit?

The fee for a work permit may differ on the basis of the type of permit. A permit issued on the basis of an immigrant quota may be different from that of a regular work permit. Likewise, fees for work permits issued on the basis of charitable or missionary activities may be different from permits issued for work for reward.

 

Again, an applicant’s nationality may determine how much they may pay in fees. Nationals of countries from the ECOWAS community for example, are subject to lesser fees than their counterparts from other countries. Therefore, the type of work permit in addition to an applicant’s nationality may determine how much they may pay in fees.

 

Are there any other costs that may be connected to my application?

In addition to government fees, you may pay for other costs related to the application. You may be required to pay for a medical clearance certificate to certify you as medically fit to engage in the work or employment sought. The report must be obtained at the GIS clinic at a cost. Medical reports from your home country or any other health facility are no longer acceptable. There is also a fee for obtaining a noncitizen card from the National Identification Authority.

 

Processing Time

The minimum processing time for most residence permits is usually 4 weeks from the date of the application.

Work Permit in Ghana

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