When you start your international expansion, you’ll likely hire nationals in the country to support your company’s goals. You may also choose to send some of your current employees abroad to encourage success. Sending your existing workers to your new company can help bolster your international expansion efforts, but doing it legally requires the appropriate visas.
Types of Work Visas in Tonga
As a company owner, two types of visas are crucial to your company’s development and workforce. These types are:
- Employment visas. This visa type is for any non-Tongan citizen who wants to work in the country as a paid employee or volunteer.
- Business visas. International employers and business owners looking to set up a company in the country must apply for this visa.
Business visas are relevant if you intend to establish a subsidiary in the country, while employment visas are crucial for any nonnational worker. For your company to remain compliant, all your noncitizen employees must hold a valid employment visa.
Requirements to Obtain Tonga Work Visas
Applicants need a series of materials to apply for an employment visa, including:
- A valid passport.
- Two copies of their passport photo.
- A medical report from a licensed doctor.
- A police report from the past three months from the applicant’s country of residence.
- Two character references.
- A permission letter from the Ministry of Labor, Commerce, and Industries.
These items are required for employment lasting less than two years. If an applicant intends to work longer, they need additional application materials, including:
- An offer of employment.
- An employment contract.
- Evidence of professional skills and any required licenses for the position.
The Immigration Department may request information about your company, including proof of your company’s registration and license. The Ministry of Labor, Commerce, and Industries may also request the current number of nationals working at your entity.
As an employer, it’s not your responsibility to apply for non-national employees’ work visas, though you may choose to guide the process. You also need to provide materials for applicants to submit to the Immigration Department.
Applicants must first request a letter from the Ministry of Labor, Commerce, and Industries, permitting them to work in the country. From there, they can gather all the other required materials, including police reports, character references, and medical information. Applicants should submit these items with a completed work permit application form to their nearest consulate or the Immigration Department.
The Immigration Department requires all attached documents to be in English. If the applicant’s attachments are in another language, they need to create translated material and include a certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirming the translation is correct.
It can take up to a month to process employment visas. You should consider this processing time when establishing start dates for non-national employees.
Other Important Considerations
Tonga has an array of visa regulations for countries around the world. Residents from certain countries can get a visa on arrival. However, visas on arrival only apply to visitor’s visas, not employment visas. If an applicant is from a country on Tonga’s visa-on-arrival list, they must still apply for a work visa before entering the country.
Partner With Globalization Partners
Globalization Partners offers the resources and expertise you need to succeed during your expansion. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.