Published by Jessy L. Kalinjuna

Most times employers focus on the administration of their offices while losing track of the legal compliance they have to undertake to maintain their operational status. Employers of non-citizens in Tanzania must adhere to all rules and regulations when dealing with non-citizen employees to avoid penalties and other adverse repercussions.

If you are planning to employ foreigners or are setting up a business that will employ foreigners, these are the things you need to be familiar with and be aware of as enunciated under the Non- Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act, Act No 1 of 2015 which sets conditions under which non-citizens may maintain their legality as employers and employees in the country. The conditions include;

Filing of Return of Non-Citizens Employment

Section 16 (1) of the Act imposes an obligation on all employers who have employed non-citizens to file a biannual return of such employees with the labor commissioner. Such returns are to be filed on the 30th of June and the 31st of December each year.

The return must include the total number of foreign nationals and local employees currently employed, as well as those who have left the company in the past six months. 

Any employer who fails to do so shall be liable to pay a fine of a total sum of Tanzanian shillings five hundred thousand (500,000) TZS, about Two Hundred Twenty (220) USD (as of August 2021), the fine shall be imposed for every month or part of a month in delay.

Failure to meet the deadline may result in the Labor Commissioner declaring the employer as non-compliant and could negatively affect the capacity of the employer to continue to sponsor foreign nationals.

Employers must therefore be cautious of these filling obligations; otherwise, they will likely contribute to government coffers through the imposed fine.

Electronic Application System

The government has also introduced an electronic system for application and issuance of work and residence permits. This change basically aims to improve the efficiency of the issuance of the aforementioned permits, which will also save the time used in following-up processes for the same.

Validity of Work-Permit Extended to Eight Years

The Ministry of Labor has also extended the work permit validity to eight years vide Section 43 (b) of the Amending Act. This means that, non-citizens will have more time to take up their employment in the country. However, an exception still exists under Section 12 (5) of the Act that allows investors whose contribution to the economy is of great value and has promoted the wellbeing of Tanzanians through their investment to apply for a work permit that extends beyond ten years.


Incentives for Investors

The amending Act has extended work-permit related incentives for investors, under Section 19 of the Act has been amended to give investors registered with the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) or Export Processing Zone (EPZ), to employ up to ten (10) non-citizens without being bound by restrictions of the Act. However, investors shall take note that, this quota does not exempt investors from employing other non-citizens as long as they maintain a ratio of ‘one non-citizen to ten local employees'. These changes seek to provide investors with more flexibility in employing suitable non-citizens personnel while also protecting employments for the locals in the country.


The rules and regulations addressed above are significant in the regime governing the employment of non-citizens in Tanzania, and even more important in improving the environment for doing business as they consider the needs of investors and the business community. It is expected that the increased allowance of non-citizens employment will also be exploited for skills and knowledge transfer to the local employees so as Tanzania can also increase a number of experts in various fields of expertise.