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Marshall Islands: Labour Regulation

Work Permits

Work permits are required for non-resident workers intending to work in the Republic of the Marshall Islands , regardless of the term of their employment contract. The Government requires employers to follow a three-stage process in obtaining work permits for non-resident workers:

  • First, they must notify the Chief of Labor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by letter of their desire to employ a non-resident worker for a particular position.
  • Second, they must make an effort to hire a citizen for the position, including advertising the position in a local newspaper and on the radio.
  • Third, if their efforts to hire a citizen worker are unsuccessful, they can apply, using a prescribed form, to the Chief of Labor requesting a specific non-resident worker to fill the position. Submission of the application must wait at least 30 days following the initial advertisement for the position. In their application, the investor must show evidence of their efforts to hire a citizen worker. They also must demonstrate that the proposed non-resident worker has the skills and experience to effectively fill the position, does not possess any communicable diseases and does not have a police record. Every effort is made to provide the applicant with a decision regarding their application within 14 days of its submission.

A work permit is issued for a specific non-resident worker for a period of one year. The permit must be renewed at the end of the calendar year and can be renewed for a total of two years. It may be extended for a third year at the discretion of Cabinet. The Government requires all employers with non-resident workers to agree in writing to cover the cost of repatriating non-resident workers to the place from which they were hired.

Non-citizen investors issued with a foreign investment business license are exempted from having to obtain a work permit for themselves. Similarly, citizens of the United States, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau do not require work permits to be employed in the Marshall Islands. Non-citizen investors and nationals of the above-mentioned countries, however, are required to register with the Labor Office.



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