Searching for and then recruiting top talent in any overseas territory is a significant operation for companies intent on building their international profile, potentially involving many obstacles. Recruiting in Egypt is no different. Egypt is the cradle of western civilisation and the land of the Pharaohs. In the 21st century’s global marketplace, the nation has become a prime target for international companies that must recruit top talent to make their business operations at the highest level. A population of 100 million has a workforce of 30 million that includes highly-educated and well-trained personnel in a competitive employment market.

Sectors attracting high levels of investment are also likely to be those seeking top-level recruits, such as construction, architecture, engineering, healthcare and education, telecommunications, electric power generating, and safety and security equipment. Nevertheless, recruiting staff in this extraordinary land can be a challenge. Where to begin? This is where Bradford Jacobs’ global experience is vital for taking the smartest recruitment route into Egypt. Our benchmark platforms as a Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) have worldwide reach and include a total understanding of the complexities of Egypt’s employment market. 

Recruiting in Egypt

Searching for the perfect job in Egypt from abroad will be difficult, and the pay will not necessarily compare with salaries for similar positions back home. The capital Cairo is, of course, the financial centre where most opportunities lie, both with multinationals and local companies. Incoming expatriates may need a contract offer to obtain the necessary visas and permits. Making extensive use of the internet is a must, along with linking up with expatriate organisations, as personal contacts will prove vital.

For employers searching the recruitment market, restrictions apply to hiring non-Egyptians. Only 10% of employees can be foreigners or ex-pats, and they cannot account for more than 20% of the total payroll. In Free Trade Zones, 25% of staff can be foreign. Software engineers, systems and network administrators, data analysts, and project managers are in demand, as well as positions in sectors enjoying investment. These include construction, architecture, engineering, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications, electric power generation, and safety and security equipment. Education is another option, with teachers always in demand among Cairo’s international schools and universities.

Recruitment is the first stage of making your company operational and competitive in Egypt. The competition will be intense. Although Egypt’s unregulated and informal economy affects millions of lower-grade workers, the employment pool of 30 million includes highly skilled, motivated and well-educated men and women from Egypt’s outstanding universities and abroad.

Employers are responsible for various procedures and registrations and must ensure their employees comply with several regulations. Once recruited, companies must then consider the implications of handling payroll for their staff and dealing with the Tax Authority of the Ministry of Finance and the National Authority for Social Insurance. Responsibilities include:

  • Agreeing on an employment contract must be in Arabic with copies for the employer, the employee and the social insurance authority.
  • Registering employees with the relevant local authority with confirmation of contract, ID/passport, educational qualifications, Form (1) for social insurance, birth certificate and, if required, work permit.
  • Registering employees with the relevant Tax Authority office to obtain their Tax Identification Number.
  • Employers must maintain employees’ employment records and payroll accounts and keep them for a minimum of five years, whether or not they are still with the company.

Employees' Legal Checks in Egypt

In general there are few specific restrictions regarding background checks on applicants.

Criminal record:  Can be carried out with the applicant’s permission and is conducted through the local area court in the relevant jurisdiction to obtain the individual’s Police Clearance Certificate.

Immigration:  Check the applicant has all relevant documents.

Education and Professional Qualifications:  Permitted to verify authenticity of degrees, diplomas and certificates etc.

Basic Facts when Recruiting in Egypt

Legislation that regulates the employer-employee relationship in Egypt is based on the Labour Law, officially Labour Law No. 12 (2003). The law covers all employees, Egyptians or foreigners, working for Egyptian-registered entities. Subsidiaries, branches or other entities established by foreign companies in Egypt come under the Labour Law and must comply with its provisions.

The Egyptian Social Insurance Law of 1975 applies specific regulations in some instances, while areas falling outside the scope of the Labour Law come under the Civil Code. Egypt’s Senate began drafting amendments to the 2003 Labour Law in April 2022 that could change various aspects of the employment relationship. Basic requirements include:

  • A contract must be in place at the start of employment, written in Arabic with copies for the employer, employee and the local office of the National Authority for Social Insurance
  • The contract can be open-ended and indefinite or fixed-term, which cannot exceed five years in total
  • Any probationary period, which cannot exceed three months, must be detailed in the contract
  • Two months’ notice applies to employees who have worked for the company for up to 10 years, with three months for more than ten years of service

After hiring and onboarding, employers must comply with statutory minimums set by the Labour Law and the Social Insurance Law. Examples include:

  • Illness or injury must be certified by a medical practitioner or authority, entitling employees to up to 90 days paid leave at 75% of salary and up to a further 90 days at 85%
  • Maximum working hours are set at eight per day in a regular 40-hour week or up to 48 hours in a six-day working week
  • Maternity leave proposals announced in January 2022 included four months’ paid leave before and after the birth, with an absolute minimum of 45 days post-natal. Women will be entitled to a maximum of three maternity leaves in their working life. The benefit is 100% of the salary, 75% from social security and the balance from employers.
  • The statutory paid vacation allowance is 21 work days after completing one year’s service. Employees qualify for a pro-rata entitlement after working for six months. Those who have worked for more than ten years with one or more employers receive 30 days, as do those over-50s


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