According to a notice released on Tuesday by the National Bank of Angola (BNA), and published on July 28, foreign workers in Angola will be obliged to receive their wages in an account domiciled in an Angolan bank, through which they can transfer their wages to the outside.
Thus, it is no longer possible for such a transfer to be made through the account of the employer domiciled in a bank in Angola directly to the account of the worker abroad.
The new provisions have several implications for foreign workers, Pwc Angola ’senior manager’ Rita Ramos told Lusa.
Many have not yet managed to return to Angola after the country closed its borders on 20 March to control the spread of covid-19.
“Naturally, this issue, in this period, is a problem because it is not known when it will be possible to return to the country and even those who already have an account may need to sign a transfer order. As for those outside Angola, they cannot even open a bank account ”, he explained.
To open an account with an Angolan bank, a foreign citizen needs, among other documents, to have a work visa, residence visa or resident card, but many expatriates collaborate on sporadic or short-term projects and resort to other types of visas (temporary stay, tourism, ordinary, etc.).
In addition to the additional bureaucracy, workers will also have to bear bank charges and the effects of currency devaluation.
“Another big question that arises is the effect of devaluation. If expatriates are going to have to open an account, it is obvious that the exchange rate risk will run on the side of the worker, not the company. The worker will have to request the transfer, which sometimes takes an immense amount of time and this has so far been ensured by many companies ”, he said.
With the changes introduced by the BNA, “the worker will have to worry about these bureaucratic issues, unless they find solutions with the banks to mitigate these issues”, added Rita Ramos.
On the other hand, workers will also be penalized due to bank charges "since the costs of transfers will be debited to workers' accounts", as well as the costs associated with maintaining accounts and the card.
On the banks' side, Rita Ramos admits that wage processing is going to be “more difficult to manage because it now has to deal with multiple interlocutors”.
The consultant says that they also have doubts about what will happen with contracts for the posting of workers, which are widely used in the oil industry, in which a certain foreign entity detaches workers and is reimbursed directly by an Angolan entity.
"I am in doubt as to whether this type of contract will continue to be admissible is an issue that we are trying to clarify with the BNA and the banks," said the head of PwC.
Asked by Lusa about the reasons that led to the adoption of the new rules and the concerns expressed by expatriates, the BNA sent clarifications to later.
Notice 17/2020 takes effect 30 days after publication. In addition to the changes relating to the requirement for an account domiciled in an Angolan bank for foreign workers who earn remuneration under an employment contract, the notice also changes the reference to the "work visa" and is now considered a "visa that allows the pursuing a paid activity ".
Foreign non-resident foreign exchange workers may purchase foreign currency and transfer their legally earned income abroad under an employment contract, and may do so at any time, with any periodicity that exceeds the receipt of income.
In foreign currency purchase operations, banks must verify the length of a series of conditions, namely the existence of a visa that allows the exercise of a remunerated activity and its validity, an employment contract duly approved by the supervising ministry, which the values that the worker intends to transfer are consistent with the earned income or compliance with tax obligations.