In the video above, our CEO Andreas Krensel interviews Senior Immigration Consultant Melissa Moses on processing short and long-term work permits for Corporates that are sending employees to Namibia on Work Permits.
Melissa has helped to process work permits in bulk for Namibia for two of its biggest sectors: mining and the Oil and Gas Industry. The clients were both large multinationals and this, combined with tight deadlines with massive assignee contingents meant that mistakes or miscommunications were not an option. Fortunately, Melissa’s experience, attention-to-detail and client communication talents, as well as the assistance of her capable team, resulted in successful outcomes for everyone involved.
In this interview, Melissa gives us a look into her practical experiences and the requirements involved when initiating short- and long-term work permit applications for large corporate immigration projects in Namibia.
Q&A: Practicalities Involved in Obtaining Namibian Work Permits
Q: What is the difference between short- and long-term work permits in Namibia, especially regarding processing times?
A: The short-term Namibian work permit is usually valid for 90 days and can be extended once, in-country. The processing period is usually around two to five weeks, whereas long-term work permits are usually issued for two years and the processing time can be anywhere from three to six months.
Namibia’s immigration system allows assignees to come in on the short-term work permit and then apply for their long-term work permit in-country, helping to offset processing delays.
Q: From the document-procurement point of view, how complex was it to get these short-term work permits, what potential red flags are there and what documents are required?
A: The short-term work permit process is simple in terms of document procurement. One red flag is that the documents do need to be certified or notarised. For us to submit the documentation correctly, we need to ensure that our clients understand what is meant by the certification and notarisation of documents.
There are only five or six documents required for the short-term work permit. Documents for the employer, for example, are pre-completed by us, so we take care of that for you. From the assignee, it’s really two or three documents for your application.
Q: Is there a minimum educational requirement involved in applying for a short-term work permit or can the assignee be unqualified?
A: You can’t be completely unqualified. You could hold a Matric certificate, for example, but then, I would advise my clients to at least have in-house certificates of training as well, so if they’re doing specific training (like well testing for Oil and Gas), I would always include that in the application.
Q: Where would the permit application be submitted?
A: We submit the applications in Namibia. We have a branch in Windhoek (where they’ve just moved into a new office space!), so the three employees there typically submit the applications in-country.
Q: When it comes to long-term permits, there are a few things to consider such as the transfer-of-skills plan, advertisement, and local labour market checks, so please speak a little on these.
A: The first step in the process for the long-term work permit is to advertise the position. With these larger projects, specifically in Oil and Gas and Mining, there may be some exceptions, so there may be pre-approval from the ministries, some negotiation between the government, where they’ve exempted these clients from submitting the local advertisement but, if we’re looking outside these sectors, then you will need to place an advertisement in the local newspaper.
We usually suggest three placements in different local papers to our clients and then the client, in Namibia, will need to proceed with the interview process, making sure they keep a record of all these documents so that we can submit it along with the long-term work permit application.
Q: And the transfer-of-skills plan?
A: The transfer-of-skills plan isn’t a requirement in Namibia, however, if you are transferring skills to a local understudy, I would add it as it strengthens the application.
Q: How did you manage handling processing permits in bulk for these larger projects? What was your secret sauce? How did you update the client and make it all work?
A: The most important aspect of making it work is to have a Human Resources (HR) Representative from the employer working with me.
I would first have a conversation about the project with this individual to understand it as a whole and then, we work around how we need to communicate and what they need from me, to make it a smooth process. A lot of my Oil and Gas clients like Excel sheets and I am fully committed to excel, so we typically do a weekly call and update our sheet together to check that we are on track with the application, who is coming up for renewals, for example, who do we need to swap out because of rotations and schedules and so on.
I believe it’s very important to have a responsive and proactive HR Representative from the Namibian entity on the case who also allows us to manage the process because, at the end of the day, we are the experts, so we can bring up any red flags or inform you of potential hurdles regarding your start date, for example. Trusting the process is important.
While handling short- and long-term work permit applications for large corporations can seem intimidating, it is evident from the interview that deep experience and a strong local network are the key differentiators corporates look for when deciding on an immigration partner to take care of their corporate mobility projects.
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