2017 27 October

Myanmar Legal Alert: MIC Announcement on Work Permit Applications for Foreign Experts


The Myanmar Investment Commission (“MIC”) issued an announcement on 3 October 2017 which is relevant to companies with MIC permits/endorsements regarding applications for appointing a foreign expert. The announcement entered into effect on 21 October 2017.  Currently, limited information is available as to the exact criteria and process to secure approval. For example, there is no guidance as to whether this applies to short/medium/long-term appointments, or to all. 

This is what we know so far:

An MIC company must submit a work permit application in advance for the appointment of a foreign expert, or within seven days of the foreign expert’s arrival in Myanmar. 

The employer must also notify the MIC together with documentary evidence of resignation and departure airline ticket if the foreign expert resigns prior to, or at the end of the permitted period in Myanmar. This requirement indicates that the intended period of stay must be known from the outset of the foreign expert’s entry into the country, something which may be difficult to confirm.

If an employer intends to appoint a new foreign expert in place of one who just resigned, evidence must be submitted that the former expert has left the country. This requirement does not consider certain circumstances such as, the foreigner remained in the country to take a position with another entity, or, an MIC company employer may not be able to demonstrate that the foreign expert has exited Myanmar. 

The application to appoint a foreign expert requires the following documents:

  • Company’s cover letter;
  • Work permit Application Form 12-A for the foreign expert(s);
  • Payment order instruction (service fee is MMK 5,000) (Approx. USD 3);
  • Passport copy of the foreign employee(s);
  • Copy of the list of local and foreign employees as per the MIC proposal;
  • Copy of the list of appointed local and foreign employees; 
  • Copy of the latest Quarterly Performance Report (Form-10);
  • Evidence of the foreign employee’s expertise or educational degree, and curriculum vitae; and
  • Power of Attorney (if the investor cannot apply in person).   

Per verbal guidance sought from the MIC and the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population, definitions distinguishing “foreign employees” from “foreign experts” are not clearly set out in the current law. Generally however, technicians, senior management level positions, and foreign consultants can be considered as “foreign experts”.  

Under Section 206 of the Myanmar Investment Rules, an investor must obtain approval from the MIC when appointing foreign nationals to these roles.  Under the Rules, the employer must submit each foreign expert’s passport, evidence of expertise, or degree and curriculum vitae to the MIC. 

This announcement does not apply to foreign employees of DICA “service” companies. Foreign employees of companies without an MIC permit/endorsement are only required to obtain a business visa.  A valid business visa holder intending to work in Myanmar for an extended duration must apply for a longer stay and multiple-entry visa, and can apply for a stay permit. 

Though a similar work permit requirement existed previously, many MIC permit/endorsement companies view the newly expanded requirement as burdensome and disruptive. As a result, efforts appear to be taking shape to further discuss the matter with the MIC and Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population. We intend to continue submitting queries on the policy behind this announcement and follow all developments closely.

The information provided in this email is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified legal counsel for all specific situations.

DFDL Contact

William D. Greenlee, Jr.
Partner; Managing Director, Myanmar