When you decide to open a location in Botswana, you need to obtain a work permit for every foreign employee. Unfortunately, the work permit application process in Botswana is notoriously difficult, and ambiguous regulations can quickly lead to frustration. Officials and the country’s Immigration Board also have the authority to create further requirements and decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Types of Work Visas in Botswana
Botswana has one work visa, also known as a work permit, for all foreign employees working in the country under the Employment of the Non-Citizens Act. Employers cannot engage an employee unless they hold a valid Botswana work permit or a certificate of exemption. The Immigration Board reviews all permits, then issues an appropriate validity period. Typically, employees can renew their permits by going through the initial application process again.
Requirements to Obtain Botswana Work Visas
While the Botswana government recognizes the importance of foreign talent, the application process includes numerous requirements and ambiguities that often weigh down employers and applicants. As an employer, you must show:
- Proof that you tried to recruit Botswana citizens first
- Proof of a job advert that listed candidate requirements, contact details, a minimum advertising period, and an exclusive period during which only Botswana citizens could apply
- Proof that the advert circulated for at least 14 days and that applications were open only to Botswana citizens during that period
- Proof that the advert is no older than six months
Employees have their own separate requirements, including:
- A valid job offer reflected in an employment contract or appointment letter
- A work application
- A CV
- Certified copies of key certificates, including birth, marriage, and educational certificates, all translated into English
- A medical report
- Certified copies of a valid passport
- Four passport-size photos
- An applicable labor form
The Immigration Board may have additional requirements depending on the specific occupation. For example, some jobs require registration with professional bodies as well as specific documentation.
After filling out an application and compiling the documents listed above, employees must submit their application and fee to an authorized officer. The officer will review the application, make a recommendation, and even call the applicant in for an interview if necessary. If they approve, the officer will forward the application for consideration with the Regional Immigrants Selection Board. They can meet at any stage to request more information. They’ll also put more emphasis on a program that trains a Botswana citizen to replace the non-Botswana worker.
In total, it takes about 30 working days from the first submission of the application to receipt of a Botswana work permit. If the application gets turned down, your employees can appeal the decision. This process is common, and the National Immigrants Selection Board will follow the review process for all appeals. Many believe that appeals are common as a way for the government to gain another revenue stream. It’s P 1,500 for:
- The initial work permit application
- Renewal of a work permit
- An exemption certificate
- Replacement of a work permit
Other Important Considerations
Botswana recommends certain shots as part of the Botswana working visa application process. All travelers coming from or passing through countries declared yellow fever infected areas must have a certificate showing that they got the yellow fever vaccine. The government also recommends all individuals be vaccinated for malaria.
Note that all visa fees are non-refundable, and personal checks are not accepted. All copies of the required documents need to be notarized for acceptance by the Immigration Board.
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