Labor Law

Foreign Companies and Foreign Workers

The Labor Law contains several articles regarding the subject of foreign companies and foreign workers. It states in detail the mechanisms of work, granting work permits to foreign workers and fines. Some of the topics and articles clarifying the issue of foreigners shall be mentioned hereinbelow.

Inclusion of workers of foreign companies

  1. Every foreign company, upon commencing work in Iraq, shall formally notify the Department of Labor and Social Affairs in the event that it employs one worker or more regardless of their nationalities in order to include them within the provisions of social security.
  2. The notification letter shall include the information below
    • The name of the company, its nationality, address, the nature of its work and a copy of the articles of incorporation certificate.
    • Details of the company’s branches in the governorates.
    • The said letter shall be enclosed with a detailed schedule of the workers in the company including the names of the workers, their nationalities, the dates on which they commence work in the company, the amount of wages, allowances and professions.
  3. After the Department of Labor and Social Affairs reviews the notification letter and the schedule attached thereto, it shall be transferred to the Department of Employment and Loans - Inspection Department to prepare a report on the company's inclusion within the provisions of the applicable security. Our Department shall make a decision to include the company based on the inclusion report.
  4. When the company receives the inclusion decision issued by the said Department and no objection is made thereto within seven (7) days from the date of notification, the inclusion decision shall be deemed effective and the company’s management shall pay the contributions in accordance with the law.

Regulating the work of foreigners in Iraq / Work Permits

Requirements of Work permit

  • A manpower recruitment application printed on the company’s form shall be issued and addressed to the Ministry of Labor / Employment and Loans Department, Foreigners Department.
  • An authorization printed on the company’s form shall be issued and addressed to the Ministry of Labor / Employment and Loans Department, Foreigners Department.
  • A copy of the passports of the foreign employees for whom work permits shall be issued in the company.
  • A copy of the documents of the company Director (civil status ID - nationality certificate - residence card) if he/she is Iraqi national or a copy of the passport if he/she is a foreigner.
  • A copy of the last payment receipt and social security forms.
  • Every foreign worker shall be matched by two Iraqi workers registered in the Retirement and Social Security Department.
  • A recently certified copy of the company’s documents.
  • The transaction procedures shall commence from the Arabs and Foreigners Department by transferring it from the competent officer to the Vocational Training Department after the approval of the Director of the Foreigners Department.
  • Then the transaction shall be transferred after submitting the recruitment application to the database to verify whether the listed professions exist in the database or not.
  • After confirming the existence of the professions, the transaction shall be transferred to the Legal Department in order to make a written undertaking. Then it shall be returned to the Vocational Training Department to determine an interview appointment in order to know the reason for recruitment and information about the workers, and to approve issuing a work permit.

Work permit procedures

  • The application shall be submitted to the Department Director to refer it to the competent officer in order to check it.
  • After checking the company's documents by the competent officer, they shall be referred to the treasury office to pay the fees related thereto. The legal fee is (250,000) Iraqi dinars, after receiving the work permit, an amount of (1,500,000) Iraqi dinars shall be paid.
  • The application shall be submitted to the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs in order to approve the granting of a work permit.
  • If the approval is obtained, the work permit shall be referred to the Directorate of Residence Affairs in order to issue an entry visa.
  • After the entry visa is issued and the foreigner enters Iraq, he/she shall be granted a work permit and a residence permit for one year.

The legal consequences of non-compliance with the issuance of a work permit

Article (30) of Labor Law No. (37) of 2015 prohibits the employment of any foreign worker in any capacity, unless he obtains a work permit. In the event of employing foreign workers without issuing a work permit, the company shall be subject to the penalties stipulated in the provisions of Article (36) of the aforementioned Law which stipulates the employer shall be fined with a fine of up to (3) three-fold of the minimum wage of the two workers. Law No. 18 of 1987 on performing work by foreigners in Iraq has clarified the provisions for granting and canceling work permits."

Procedures in the Directorate of Residence Affairs in order to obtain residence permit

  • Submit a work permit issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
  • Issue an authorization addressed to the Directorate of Residence Affairs, and it shall be on the form of the company.
  • Submit newly certified company documents.

The most important legal articles of Labor Law No. 37 of 2015 related to the issue of foreign workers

Article 30

It is prohibited for departments and employers to employ any foreign worker in any capacity unless it obtains a work permit issued by the Ministry against a fee determined by instructions of the Minister.

Article 31

It is prohibited for a foreign worker to join any work before obtaining a work permit.

Article 32

  • The employer shall grant the foreign worker who brought him/her to Iraq a travel ticket at its own expense to the country from which it brought , unless he/she stopped working before the end of the contract period for an illegal reason.
  • Upon the death of the foreign worker, the employer shall be liable for preparing and transporting his body to his original place or residence if the family requests so.

Article 34

A foreign worker legally residing in Iraq for the purpose of work shall not be deemed in an illegal or irregular status simply because he lost his job. The loss of the job in itself shall not lead to the withdrawal of a residence permit or work permit, unless the worker violates the laws Iraqi.

Article 35

Each of the Ministry, workers' organizations and employers ’organizations shall separately have the right to communicate and exchange information regularly with their counterparties in the foreign workers’ mother countries or the countries from which they came and to conclude bilateral agreements with a view to following up the terms of employment and working conditions of these workers from both parties in order to ensure fair employment and equality of opportunity and treatment.

Article 36

Each entity or person violating the provisions of this Chapter shall be subject to a fine of (3) three-fold of the minimum daily wage and of (3) three-fold of the minimum monthly wage of a worker.