Working In Egypt As An Expat part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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In an age of globalization, more and more people are traveling outside their home country to pursue work. In countries such as China and Mexico, the economy is becoming increasingly stable due to a large number of foreign workers taking on low-skilled jobs. In Egypt, however, relatively few foreigners have been immigrating here for work purposes.
This article will briefly outline what opportunities are available in Egypt for foreign workers and the eligibility required to obtain one of them. Foreigners have always been welcome in Egypt, but they have traditionally come here as tourists or visiting family members.
It is only comparatively recently that foreigner has started coming here to work, particularly in the construction industry, which has boomed since the start of the Egyptian revolution. Despite relatively low unemployment in Egypt, there is still a significant demand for low-skilled workers and also some for higher-skilled work, particularly in the Oil and Gas industry.
The government has recently introduced stricter regulations regarding visas and other legal documentation needed for working in Egypt as a foreigner. This means that unless you work for a large company, you will probably need to hire an Egyptian lawyer to take care of your work visa. It can therefore prove difficult and costly for smaller companies to bring foreign workers into the country.
There are various visas available for foreigners who wish to work in Egypt, all of which require different levels of qualification, skills, and experience. It is important to note that certain qualifications are only valid in the country where the qualification was obtained. So, it may be necessary to get additional foreign qualifications evaluated by an Egyptian authority. The categories of visas are as follows:
The work visa allows a foreigner to work for one specific company in Egypt. A contract must be signed between the employer and the government specifying what type of work is to be done and for how long. In order to obtain a work visa, you must have a university degree from your home country or one that has been obtained in Egypt.
The self-employment visa allows foreigners who have the financial means to set up an Egyptian company, into which they can then hire their own employees. However, being self-employed in Egypt is extremely difficult due to strict regulations regarding obtaining business licenses. One of the most difficult tasks for a newly arrived foreigner is finding someone with the right connections to get them started in this regard.
The residence visa is available for foreigners who have temporarily left their country of domicile and need to reside in Egypt for a certain period of time. For example, you may need a residence visa if you are looking to invest large amounts of money into the Egyptian economy.
In fact, a huge percentage of foreigners who have been issued residency visas have been granted them by presidential decree following a special request from specific individuals with powerful connections.
Benefits of Working in Egypt as a Foreigner
Having lived in both Egypt and the UK, I’ve found many differences between these two cultures. Many of which are quite surprising, not least of all being understandings of time management.
For instance, when you say to somebody in Egypt that ‘you’ll be there at 8’, they may actually turn up on the dot – whereas saying this to somebody in the UK would be a guarantee that they’d arrive at least an hour late. Holidays, too, work in a very different way.
Public holidays in Egypt come thick and fast – you can generally expect a holiday almost every other week (4-5 days on average). Whereas public holidays in the UK are more spread out, so you won’t get nearly as many. If you are looking for an experience outside of the mainstream, look no further! Here are some reasons why working in Egypt may change your life needs.
1. Egyptians Are Very Accommodating
So you’re a foreigner, and that means something here in Egypt – it’s an opportunity! Egyptians generally see foreigners as people to take care of and pamper like any other family or loved one. They want you to feel welcome and at home; the hospitality industry is the biggest in the world, so there’s no shortage of places to stay.
2. No Need to Speak Arabic
Speaking the local language isn’t always necessary, especially with the abundance of foreign workers in Egypt. You can always find someone who speaks English (and will even be eager to practice their English with you). It’s also possible that many Egyptians know how to speak some words or phrases of your home language if you’d like to learn some Arabic.
3. Incredible Food
Let’s face it! You’re going to need a good reason to step away from the usual fast-food and restaurant fare that you have at home. This is where Egyptian cuisine truly shines, with a wide variety of foods prepared in ways you never imagined possible! The best part? You can find pretty much any cuisine here, from Chinese to Mexican.
4. The Weather Is Great\
Surprisingly enough, winters in Cairo are quite bearable. The temperature rarely drops below 5 degrees Celsius, so you can wear jeans and a t-shirt to keep comfortable. Summers are generally fine, too, reaching the height of 30 degrees Celsius, but this is compensated by how cheerful everyone becomes during Eid al-Adha (the festival of sacrifice).
5. Lower Cost Of Living than Most Places
For starters, for Westerners, the cost of living is much lower than it would be in their home country. Not only is rent cheap, but food, entertainment, and other essential costs are low by comparison. The result is that you can afford to live a very comfortable life here on much less than what it would take in the West and North America.
6. Lower Taxes
If you move to Cairo, you’ll find that many of your taxes are already paid for. For example, with the company I work for, we pay for work permits and visas (for our employees), health insurance (for everyone), internet service at our office, and gas & electricity within the building complex. In fact, most foreigners working in Egypt don’t even pay rent.
7. Lots of Free Food and Other Benefits
Whether you’re working for a big or small company, it’s often standard practice to receive free lunch. The caterers we use (and many others as well) provide us with full meals during the day. Most coworking spaces also give employees free coffee, soda, juices, & bottled water. Even if you’re not getting free food, you can often get discounts on items in your home country.