‘’What is the difference between Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) quota and Work Permit? ’’, is one of the most common questions I get asked by expatriates and investors starting a business in Ghana. What is the cost of obtaining a GIPC quota or Work permit from Immigration and what is the processing time? These are some of the questions that linger in the minds of prospective investors.

To address these questions, let us first understand the application process and requirements for obtaining GIPC Quota vs a Work Permit from Ghana Immigration.

Work Permit from Ghana Immigration Service

Foreign nationals wishing to work in Ghana may register their business in Ghana and afterwards, apply to obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Interior through the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). Work permits may be renewed subject to satisfying the conditions for renewal. The duration for processing work permits is within 2 to 3 weeks and the official fee for a 1-year work permit in Ghana is $1,000.

A work permit is an approval granted by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for the employment of foreign nationals specifying the name (s) of personnel, number and description of persons authorized to be employed.

Once the work permit application is approved and processed, the GIS will serve the company with a work permit approval letter with which the person can proceed to apply for a residence permit.

Requirements for work permit

To apply for a work permit, the following documentation needs to be provided;

Application letter on company’s letterhead
Business Registration Documents – certificate of incorporation, certificate of commencement of business, company regulations, form 3&4
Tax Clearance Certificate (for existing companies)
Letter of employment / Contract
Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Certificate (If registered)
Letter of support from Ministry, Department or Agency (if required)
Biodata page of passport of applicant
Curriculum Vitae / Resume
Medical Report to confirm fitness of employee to work from Ghana Immigration Service Cllinic
Police Clearance Certificate from employee’s country of origin or current residence
Educational and Professional Certificates
Passport & residence permit copy of employer

The work permit is the first stage in the work authorization process and therefore does not entitle a prospective employee to engage in work activities in Ghana. To commence work activities, the applicant is required to apply and obtain a residence permit, after their work permit applications are approved.

Residence Permit application process in Ghana

A Residence Permit is usually obtained after the grant of a work permit. A formal application must be made on behalf of the employee to the Ghana Immigration Service.

The following must accompany the application;

Attach two(2) recent passport pictures
Copy of Non-Citizen ID Card
Original Passport of employee
Approved work permit/Automatic Quota
Current Company Tax Clearance Certificate (for existing companies)
Letter of support from Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Ghana Free Zones Board or Minerals Commission (where applicable)
Police Clearance Report from home country
Medical Report
Business Registration Documents
Offer letter/Appointment letter/ Contract of employment

GIPC Automatic Quota

Companies with foreign ownership (whether jointly / wholly foreign owned) are required to register with the GIPC after the initial company registration at the Registrar General’s Department of Ghana. All GIPC registered companies may subsequently then apply for automatic immigrant quotas based on their equity investment from the GIPC.

The breakdown of automatic quotas a company can enjoy is;

•       US$ 50,000 – US$ 250,000     – 1 quota

•       US$ 250,000 – US$ 500,000   – 2 quotas

•       US$ 500,000 – US$ 700,000   – 3 quotas

•       US$ 700,000  and above     – 4 quotas

The first step in obtaining an automatic quota from GIPC is to initially register the company with the GIPC. After registration, the company may apply for the applicable level of quota (s) by submitting the following;

Official application letter, addressed to the CEO of GIPC indicating the name and designation of the personnel for whom the quota is being applied for.
Resume of the personnel
Passport bio-data page
Copy of employment contract
Bank draft of GHS 3,150 in payment of the GIPC automatic quota fee

The GIPC processes all quota requests within an average period of 2 weeks and if approved, the GIPC will serve an official notification letter to the Ghana Immigration Service on behalf of the company.