When your company expands into a new country, you may transplant current employees to the new office or source fresh talent from around the world. Doing so can provide benefits, but immigration and employment laws change between countries. To legally hire and operate in another country, you must ensure your employees have the proper documentation, including any necessary work visas or permits.
Types of Work Visas in Samoa
Every noncitizen seeking employment over three months in the country must apply for a Foreign Employee Employment Permit (FEEP). The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labor accepts these applications and issues employment permits.
Before granting an employment permit, the Ministry will consider:
- The applicant’s training and qualifications.
- Any relevant references.
- Recent industry trends and development.
- The number of citizens employed in the same industry.
- Employment requirements outlined in the Foreign Investment Act 2000.
The Minister may set conditions for individual employment permits, including fixed periods of validity. While this decision may depend on the expected length of employment, all FEEPs expire within two years of issue. Within the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labor, the Industrial Relations, Work Permits, and Occupational Safety and Health Division (IRWPOSH) handles all issues concerning FEEPs.
Requirements to Obtain Samoa Work Visas
To get a work visa, your employees will need several documents that verify their identity and confirm various personal details:
- A cover letter explaining your need for an international employee
- The completed and signed FEEP application
- The application and lodgement fees
- Two passport-sized color photographs
- A copy of their passport or travel document
- Information and details about you, the employer
- A medical clearance report
- A police clearance report
- Evidence of relevant training and qualifications certified by the Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA)
- Work references
- A copy of the job offer letter and job description
- The signed employment contract or another document outlining the terms of the job offer.
The following requirements do not apply to domestic workers. Applicants entering the workforce must supply copies of:
- The advertisement searching for an international employee.
- Your business license.
- Your Foreign Investment Certificate (FIC).
- Your payroll from one wage period.
To obtain a FEEP, your employee must follow these steps:
- Fill out their application and collect the fee.
- Gather all relevant documents.
- Submit the application and required items to the Ministry.
- Wait for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to approve the application and issue their employment permit.
- Apply for a temporary residency visa from Immigration & Consular Services.
Other Important Considerations
FEEP holders must carry their identification cards at all times. Anyone with an employment permit may only perform the work that they received a permit for.
If you or the employee terminates an employment contract before the contract or permit expires, you must notify the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labor. If the Ministry cancels the permit, your international employee must leave the country.
Under special circumstances, another employer may ask that the IRWPOSH issue a new permit for the employee to work at their company. However, employers cannot poach employees from other companies during their contract.
Partner With Globalization Partners
At Globalization Partners, we have legal and cultural experts in the 187 countries we serve. This experience lets us keep your company and employees compliant with local labor laws.
Reach out today to learn more about how we support your international expansion to Samoa.