Employing Expats in Morocco: 4 Key Considerations

Obligatory for any employer, the legal framework governing the contract of employment for foreigners (CTE) meets specific conditions. In this article, we take a look at 4 key considerations for any organization looking to employ expats in Morocco.

1. The employment contract for foreigners (CTE) is compulsory.

Article 516 of the Moroccan labor code provides that “any employer wishing to recruit a foreign employee must obtain authorization from the government labor authority. This authorization is granted in the form of a visa affixed to the employment contract.”

This formality is mandatory, and the labor code imposes penalties for failure to do so: The employer risks a fine and must bear the cost of repatriating an employee who fails to obtain a work visa or its renewal. For his part, the employee cannot work legally and remain on Moroccan territory.

2. All foreign employees are concerned

All foreigners with an employee status in Morocco must obtain a duly approved CTE prior to taking up their duties. However, employees who are nationals of countries that have signed an establishment agreement with Morocco, namely Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal, are, in principle, exempt from this requirement.

In practice, certain procedures with private organizations require them to produce the said CTE, despite the existence of such agreements. In this case, they benefit from a simplified procedure to obtain it and do not have to produce the activity certificate issued by the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills (Anapec) confirming that no Moroccan national has responded to the employer’s advertisement or is sufficiently qualified for the position.

The simplified procedure benefits other categories of employees, in particular, managers of corporate officers, partners and shareholders of companies or employees working in companies with CFC (Casablanca Finance City) status.

3. The application for the contract is made online

Since June 2017, requests are processed only via an online platform (TAECHIR). The employer must register on the platform in order to formalize the visa application and download the standard contract.

Several documents are required to complete the application such as a copy of the future employee’s diploma, a certificate from his former employer and documents relating to the legal existence of the employing company. These documents must be signed and legalized and then filed with the Ministry of Labor. The time required to obtain the visa varies from ten days to two months.

4. A mandatory fixed-term contract

A constant jurisprudence of the highest Moroccan jurisdiction considers that the foreigner’s employment contract is a fixed-term contract, despite the will of the parties who would have signed at the same time a local contract of indefinite duration, the successive renewal of this contract every year and the standard model itself which provides for the mention of a duration which can be indefinite (Court of Cassation Ruling of 21 Oct. 2003, No. 1074).

The consequence of this is important since the legal provisions governing the termination of a fixed-term contract are much less favorable for the employee, the employer being liable only for the payment of wages until the expiry of the visa of the said contract. In practice, these contracts are valid for a period rarely exceeding one or two years. A prudent employer who wishes to separate from an employee who has signed an ETC anticipates the term and terminates the contract two to three months before it expires.

It should be noted that two decisions have ruled that the employer’s failure to renew the visa on the employee’s work permit cannot prejudice the employee, who can then claim the severance pay provided for in the event of termination of the open-ended contract signed between the parties (judgment of the Casablanca District Court of December 1, 2015 and the El Jadida Court of Appeal of March 25, 2013).

However, these are isolated decisions of first and second degree courts and only a ruling of the Court of Cassation reversing the case law will be binding on the judges of the lower courts. Note that such a reversal has not taken place to date, despite the many awareness-raising actions of expatriate associations in Morocco.

This information is provided as generally accepted information and is not intended as advisory services.

Need Assistance to Employ Expats in Morocco?

Africa HR Solutions offers employer of record services in Morocco that enables you to hire expats and local nationals.

Our services include:

  • Visa application assistance.
  • Expat and local national recruitment and onboarding.
  • Payroll and tax handling.
  • Management of employee benefits, expenses and termination as required.
  • Full compliance management.

We guarantee 100% compliance and keep you apprised of any amendments to local employment legislation in Morocco.

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