As we continue to discuss various immigration considerations when seconding employees to key African jurisdictions, this week we take a closer look at Lesotho.
Lesotho's corporate immigration framework
The regulation of the employment of foreign nationals in Lesotho is governed by the Labour Code, 1992.
Which visa is required?
Lesotho immigration law does not differentiate between a tourist visa and a business visa. On a tourist visa, a visitor to Lesotho is entitled to conduct business activities, such as attend meetings and seminars.
A tourist visa can be issued at the Lesotho border, alternatively at the Lesotho Embassy, in the event that the passport holder is visa restricted. Persons entering Lesotho on a single entry visitors visa may only enter once and the duration of the single entry visa is three months.
Persons entering Lesotho on a multiply entry visitors visa may enter Lesotho several times, for a period of six months. A person may not work in Lesotho on a visitors visa.
A foreign employee wanting to work in Lesotho requires a work visa. The requirements for work visas are as follows:
Work permits are for working purposes only. The right to reside legally in Lesotho must be obtained separately.
Any non-citizen taking up residence or staying for more than two years in Lesotho, must apply for a residence permit.
The application for a residence permit is approved by the Minister of Home Affairs in Lesotho. A residence permit is valid for two years and may be extended.
As permanent residence is not catered for under Lesotho Immigration Law, a foreigner may apply for citizenship after 20 (legal) years in the country.
Spouses and dependents
Spouses and dependents under the age of 21 years old may accompany the holder of an employment certificate. Same sex partnerships are not recognised in Lesotho.
In addition to obtaining immigration approval for the employee's assignment, employers should ensure that the requisite employment and secondment agreements are in place.
Where there will be an employment agreement in existence in both the home country and in the foreign country, the employer should be careful to avoid conflict between the two agreements. Thought should also be given to the action plan should either one of the employment agreements be terminated, for whatever reason.