The world is too big to stay in one place, and life is too short to do just one thing. With today’s technology, it has become a lot easier to move from one place to another. Ghana is a beautiful country on the West coast of Africa with a rich culture. Since the 2019 Year of Return campaign, the spotlight has shifted to Ghana. The Black Star state has attracted lots of attention because of safety records, economic prowess, political stability and more recently, the move by Twitter to set up its African headquarters in Accra.
Here’s everything you need to know about moving to Ghana, finding a job, applying for a work permit and finding a place to live.
Step 1: Making the Decision
Why do you want to move to Ghana? Is it because of the fast rising economy, the rich cultural heritage, the ease of doing business, or the thriving tech and startup ecosystem? If you are an ECOWAS citizen, you have free movement within Ghana so you may decide to visit the country and look around first. Otherwise, you may decide to apply for jobs before making the big move. Ghana has a good number of foreigners working and living in the country, so you will have a good mix of diverse communities.
Step 2: Finding a Job
We know that Twitter is hiring for different roles at the moment. However, before Twitter moved to Ghana, there were thriving businesses across thousands of industries. In fact, this report shows the industries in Ghana with the most jobs available. You can start your job search in Ghana on LinkedIn, Twitter or instagram to work with medium or small scale brands, or check job boards like Job List Ghana and Reconnect Africa. Joining a diaspora community group like Ahaspora can also help your job search.
Step 3: Applying for a Work Permit
Your visa or ECOWAS passport may grant you access to visit Ghana, but it does not give you the permission to work. Every foreign national is required to apply for one of three different work permits:
- Immigration Work Permit – This is a work permit that allows you to take a job as a foreign national in Ghana.
- The GIPC-Ghana Investment Promotion Permit– This is a work permit slot given to companies that are registered under the GIPC. The company can apply for automatic immigrant quota, however they are issued on the basis of the companies level of investment or foreign equity in Ghana.
This guide will focus on the Immigration Work Permit because that’s the one that’s often applicable to foreign nationals trying to move to Ghana.
Immigration Work Permit
This application requires a team effort from you and your prospective employer. The work permit is valid for one (1) year and you have the option to renew it annually. With this permit, you cannot engage in any other business apart from what is specified on it. You can apply for an immigration work permit at the Ghana Immigration Service by filling out forms obtained at their office in Accra. The following documents should be submitted along with your application:
- Application letter on company’s letterhead
- Business registration documents of employer – certificate of incorporation, certificate of commencement of business, company regulations
- Tax clearance certificate (for existing companies)
- Letter of employment or contract
- Marriage certificate (if the applicant is married to a Ghanaian)
- Biodata page of passport of the applicant;
- Curriculum vitae or resume
- Police clearance certificate from employee’s country of origin or current residence
- Educational and professional certificates
- Passport & residence permit copy of the employer
- Medical report – to be done at the Ghana Immigration Service, Accra; and
- Non-citizen ID card – to be done at the NIA office in Accra.
Time Required: 2 – 3 weeks after forms are received
Cost of Application:
- Ecowas Nationals: $500
- Non Ecowas Nationals: $1,000
Your prospective employer can apply for the work permit and sign on your behalf. Once the form is submitted, Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) will carry out a thorough review of the application to validate all your documents presented. Bear in mind that the result of the application can be any of the following:
- Application refused – meaning the application lacks merit.
- Additional information required – meaning approval will be subject to additional information
- Application approved – meaning the application satisfies all the requirements and is granted by the Ghana Immigration Service.
Once the work permit is approved, you can proceed to apply for your residence permit.
Step 4: Applying for a Residence Permit
Now that you have your work permit, you cannot start working in Ghana immediately unless you are issued a residence permit by the Director of Immigration to remain and work in Ghana. Upon obtaining your residency permit, you may now work and live in Ghana. The application process is similar to that of a work permit. You will need the following documents:
- Attach two (2) recent passport pictures
- Copy of non-citizen ID card
- Original passport of employee
- Approved work permit
- Current Company tax clearance certificate (for existing companies)
- Police clearance report from home country
- Medical report
- Business registration documents
- Offer letter/appointment letter/ contract of employment
Cost of Application:
- One year work and residence permit fee – $500
- Medical screening from Ghana Immigration – $155
- One year work and residence permit fee – $1,000
- Medical screening from Ghana Immigration – $200
- Non-citizen ID card from National Identification Authority (NIA) – $120
You can find out more details about other immigration programs here
If you plan to gain Ghanaian citizenship in the long term, you will need to live in Ghana for (7) years and show proof of contributing to the economy before you are eligible to apply.
Step 4: Finding a Place to Live
Accra is a cosmopolitan city by all standards. It is a hub of activities, beaches, lakes, waterfalls, nightlife and restaurants. Also, housing can be pretty expensive. Typically, renters are required to pay their rent for two years in advance. Outside of Accra, cities like Kumasi and Takoradi are also great places to live. There is a great range of properties available for rent on sites like Ghana Property Centre.
When you decide to move to Ghana, remember to be patient, observant and enthusiastic about your new home. Also, remember to follow the country’s COVID-19 guidelines. The people who enjoy Ghana the most are those who are flexible, open to new cultures, ready to try out spicy foods and people-friendly. As we say in Ghana, Akwaaba! Welcome.
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