Foreign Labor in the Light of the Iraqi Labor Law No. 37 of 2015

By Mustafa Muayad - Head of Baghdad office in Salt & Associates - m.ridha@saltandassociates.com - 00964 78 050 10222

Foreign Labor in the Light of the Iraqi Labor Law No. 37 of 2015

Introduction

The new Labor Law in Iraq number 37 of 2015 was issued and published in the Iraqi Gazette, the Official Gazette in Iraq for publishing laws, issue No. 4386 dated on 9 November 2015. The need to cope with of the ongoing development in the concepts of labor laws, and the methods of preserving workers rights, local and foreign workers alike, were behind the passing of this law. Article 2 of the same reads that the aim of the law is to “regulate labor relations between workers, employers and their organizations for protecting their respective rights and achieving sustainable development based on social justice, equality and ensuring decent work condition for all without any discrimination, ┬áto build national economy and realize human rights and fundamental freedoms, organize the work of foreigners working or wishing to work in the Republic of Iraq, and implement the provisions of Arab and international labor agreements legally ratified by Iraq.”

In certain circumstances, the country may need to hire foreign workers to meet the local needs of the labor force, whether due to lack of manpower, the lack of skilled labor, or the need for workers not working in jobs not wanted by local workers.

Hence, the new law has to deal with this matter with legal articles and clauses that make foreign workers subject to the necessary legal conditions.

The new labor law dealt with the regulation of foreign workers in Article 30 and subsequent articles. It prohibited administrations and employers from employing any foreign worker in any manner without a work permit.

This work permit is issued according to the law by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs through a request duly filed at the relevant department of the Ministry. The Minister of the said ministry shall issue the necessary instructions concerning the recruitment of foreign workers to Iraq. The employment and registration of a foreign worker and obtaining a work permit for him shall be subject to some fees exacted by the Ministry of Labor.

The labor law imposes a fine of three times the minimum daily wage, and three times the minimum monthly wage, for each worker upon the entity or person who violates the provisions of the law in this regard.

Where the activity of a foreign worker is located inside Iraq, it shall be covered by the Iraqi Taxation system and in accordance with the instructions for the tax deduction by means of direct deduction according to Direct Deduction Instructions No. (1) of 2007.