Spotlight on Iraq
If you are looking for employment opportunities in Iraq or want to expand your business there, you may be interested in learning more about the employment terms and the benefits of doing business in this country.
Iraq in Brief
Iraq has a large and diverse population of about 40 million people, with a young and educated workforce. The official languages are Arabic and Kurdish, but English is widely spoken in the business sector.
Iraq has the world’s fifth largest proven oil reserves and the 12th largest natural gas reserves, making it a major player in the global energy market. The oil and gas sector accounts for most of the government revenue and exports, but there are also opportunities in other sectors such as construction, agriculture, tourism, banking, telecommunications and manufacturing.
Iraq has a federal system of government, with 18 governorates and a semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. The legal framework for employment and business is based on the Labour Law (37/2015), which applies to the private sector in Federal Iraq, and other laws and regulations issued by the central and local authorities. The Labour Law has not yet been implemented in the Kurdistan Region, where the previous Labour Law (71/1987) is still in effect.
Employment contracts in Iraq can be oral or written, but they must be in Arabic or Kurdish, depending on the location. They must specify the salary, allowances, bonuses, working hours, holidays, probation period, termination conditions and other terms of employment. The minimum wage in Iraq is 350,000 IQD (about 240 USD) per month.
Employers and employees are required to contribute to the social security system, which covers retirement, disability, death, work injuries and health insurance. The employer’s contribution is 12% of the employee’s salary, while the employee’s contribution is 5%. Foreign employees can opt out of the social security system if they have a similar coverage in their home country.
Visas and Work Permits
Foreign investors and workers need to obtain visas and work permits to enter and work in Iraq. The visa and work permit requirements vary depending on the nationality, purpose and duration of stay, and the location of work. Generally, foreign investors need to register their business with the Ministry of Trade and obtain an investment license from the National Investment Commission or the relevant governorate or regional investment commission. Foreign workers need to have a valid employment contract with a registered employer in Iraq and obtain a sponsorship letter from their employer to apply for a visa and work permit.
Doing Business in Iraq
Doing business in Iraq can offer many benefits, such as access to a large and growing market, abundant natural resources, strategic location, preferential trade agreements with neighboring countries, tax incentives for investors, and potential for economic recovery and development. However, there are also challenges and risks involved, such as security issues, political instability, corruption, bureaucracy, legal uncertainty, infrastructure deficiencies, currency fluctuations and social unrest.
If you are interested in working or doing business in Iraq, you should be aware of the challenges that you may face in this country. Iraq is a complex and dynamic environment, with many opportunities but also many risks. Here are some of the main challenges that you should consider:
Iraq is still recovering from decades of war, violence and instability, which have left a legacy of insecurity, sectarianism and terrorism. The security situation varies across the country, but it is generally volatile and unpredictable. You may encounter threats such as kidnappings, bombings, shootings, robberies, protests and civil unrest. You should take appropriate security measures, such as hiring a reputable security company, avoiding travel at night, following the advice of local authorities and monitoring the media for updates.
Iraq has a federal system of government, with 18 governorates and a semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. The political landscape is fragmented and polarized, with multiple parties, factions and militias competing for power and influence. The central government is often weak and ineffective, while the local authorities have different laws and regulations. The political process is often marred by corruption, patronage, nepotism and interference. You should be aware of the political sensitivities and dynamics in your area of operation, and avoid any involvement or affiliation with any political group or actor.
Iraq has a complex and evolving legal system, which is based on a combination of civil law, Islamic law and customary law. The legal framework for employment and business is not fully developed or harmonized, and it may differ between Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. The judicial system is often slow, inefficient and inconsistent, and it may be subject to political pressure or corruption. You should seek professional legal advice before entering into any contract or agreement, and ensure that you comply with all the relevant laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.
Iraq suffers from a lack of adequate infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, airports, ports, electricity, water, telecommunications and internet. The infrastructure is often damaged or destroyed by war, neglect or sabotage. The infrastructure development is often hampered by bureaucracy, corruption, security issues or funding shortages. You may face challenges such as power outages, water shortages, traffic congestion, poor connectivity or service interruptions. You should have contingency plans and backup systems in place to cope with any infrastructure problems.
Iraq’s currency is the Iraqi dinar (IQD), which is not freely convertible and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The official exchange rate is set by the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), but there is also a parallel market rate that may differ significantly from the official rate. The CBI imposes strict controls on the movement of foreign currency in and out of the country, and requires documentation and approval for any currency transactions. You may face difficulties or delays in transferring money to or from Iraq, or converting IQD to other currencies. You should consult with your bank or financial advisor on the best way to manage your currency exposure and transactions.
WeHireGlobally: Your Partner in Iraq
If you are planning to expand your business to Iraq, you might be wondering how to hire and manage your employees in a country with complex and evolving labor laws. Iraq is a challenging market for foreign investors, but it also offers many opportunities for growth and development. One of the best ways to overcome the legal and administrative hurdles of hiring in Iraq is to partner with a global employment organization (GEO) like WeHireGlobally.
Benefits of Partnering with WeHireGlobally
WeHireGlobally is a leading provider of global employment solutions, with a network of local experts and partners in over 150 countries. We can help you hire, onboard, pay, and manage your employees in Iraq, without the need to set up a legal entity or deal with local authorities. We take care of all the compliance and payroll issues, so you can focus on your core business activities.
By partnering with WeHireGlobally, you can benefit from:
- Speed: We can hire your employees in Iraq in as little as 5 business days, saving you time and money on the lengthy and costly process of establishing a local presence.
- Flexibility: We can adapt to your specific needs and preferences, whether you want to hire full-time, part-time, temporary, or contract workers. You can also scale up or down your workforce as your business needs change.
- Compliance: We ensure that your employees are hired and paid in accordance with the local labor laws and regulations, avoiding any risks of fines, penalties, or lawsuits. We also handle all the tax and social security contributions, as well as the mandatory benefits and insurance for your employees.
- Support: We provide ongoing support and guidance for both you and your employees, from the initial hiring process to the termination of employment. We also handle any employee disputes or grievances that may arise, ensuring a smooth and harmonious working relationship.
If you want to learn more about how WeHireGlobally can help you hire and manage your employees in Iraq, contact us today for a free consultation. We are ready to assist you with your global expansion goals.