Employment Contract with Foreigners in Iran

Employers and businesses have traditionally found it difficult to hire foreign workers and to engage into employment contracts with them, as it might lead to a number of legal complications. Employers who hire foreign nationals face a variety of legal challenges. Employers hire overseas workers primarily to avoid the high expenses associated with hiring local labor.

Iran has long attracted foreign investors and entrepreneurs looking to launch a business due to its strong investment potential. They must hire staff in order to complete this process. One of the safest methods for hiring foreign workers is to seek legal advice. Employers who seek to avoid laws and regulations regarding the employment of foreign nationals by consulting with non-specialists and using their advice risk dire repercussions. Karimi & Associates Law Firm offers legal services in this field for employers, entrepreneurs, and investors in large commercial projects in the recruitment of labor. This is because the firm has a team that specializes in labor law, employment contracts, and consulting in various fields of business, commerce, and contract drafting.


The employment contract is the first key idea in this subject. In accordance with article 7 of the Iranian Labor Law, “an employment contract is a written or oral contract by which the worker/ employee works for the employer for a temporary or non-temporary period in exchange for receiving royalties/ salaries.”

The following questions are prompted by this definition: How do we sign an employment contract with a foreign national? What prerequisites must be met for this? What are the limitations of hiring foreign workers in Iran? Who are the authorities in law? You can read the solutions to these queries in this article.

Requirements of the Employment Contracts

The Iranian Labor Law states in Article 120 that “foreign nationals cannot work in Iran unless they have entry visas with specific work authority and, they receive a work permit according to the relevant laws and regulations.” Articles 121 to 129 of Iran’s labor law also make clear all the requirements and exclusions for hiring foreign workers.

Consequently, the principle is to limit the employment of foreign nationals, as stated in Article 121 of the Labor Law. These people can only possibly find work in Iran if they enter the nation with a valid visa with specific work rights. People who meet these requirements can apply for a work permit upon entering Iran. This raises the question of whether or not all foreign nationals are granted this permission. Exist any unique requirements to acquire it?

The Labor Law’s Article 22 provides a comprehensive response to this query. This article states that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs may issue, extend, or renew a work permit to a foreign national provided they satisfy the requirements listed below:

  1. A foreign national who has lived in Iran continuously for at least ten years is eligible.
  2. A foreign national married to an Iranian woman.
  3. Foreign nationals, particularly those from Islamic nations and political refugees, as long as they possess a valid immigration or refugee card and have the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs’ formal consent.

The Validity Period of the Work Permit and the Extension or Renewal

Article 124 of the Labor Law specifies that a work permit is valid for a maximum of one year as long as it is issued, extended, or renewed in accordance with the terms of this Law. The end of the credit period is mentioned in Article 125 of this law, which mandates that each party notify the appropriate authority and the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare within 15 days of the credit period’s expiration. Additionally, the worker must submit the work permit within the allotted time frame.


Does employment in Iran require compliance with Article 120 of the Labor Law for all foreign nationals? This subject is addressed, and the exceptions to this general principle are raised in the note of Article 120. In light of this note, the following foreign nationals are exempt:

  1. Foreign nationals who, with permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are serving only in diplomatic and consular capacities.
  2. United Nations staff and experts and their affiliated organizations with the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  3. Correspondents of news agencies and foreign press under the condition of mutual agreement and approval of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

Provisions of the employment contract arranged with foreigners

Workers with work permits receive the same rights and benefits as Iranian workers, and the terms of the employment agreements between foreign nationals and Iranian citizens are identical.

Employers are eager to hire illegal immigrants because they are not entitled to certain legal rights and protections and because there are legal barriers to obtaining a work permit. This topic is covered in more detail in the following section.

The Consequences of Foreigners Employment without Permission

The majority of foreign nationals in Iran are refugees from Afghanistan, and as they are unable to secure a work permit, they are unable to engage in legal employment. Consequently, in order to make a living, these folks labor illegally and without a contract. Regretfully, employers overlook this problem and hire foreign workers without authorization.

Employers seem to benefit from hiring foreign nationals without authorization. Because employers are exempt from having to pay the legally mandated minimum salary, social security, insurance, leave, pensions, and other minimal requirements.

The drawbacks of this problem, however, shouldn’t be disregarded. A foreign national’s work permit may have expired, or it may not have been issued, but employers who hire foreign nationals for employment other than that specified in their work permit or in situations where the link A foreign national’s employment is terminated by their employer; if they fail to notify the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the terms and circumstances may stipulate that the offender and the seriousness of the offense will be imprisoned for 91–180 days.

Dispute Resolution

There is no distinction between Iranian and non-Iranian workers in this regard if the employment of a non-Iranian worker is carried out legally and with a work permit, in which case conflicts will be handled by the labor department.

It should be highlighted that no official authority will assist an employee who is employed illegally, and both the employer and the employee will suffer severe repercussions should the official authorities learn of the employer’s hiring of illegal employees.

Due to the need for both high-quality and large quantities of labor in Iran, business owners and investors may encounter a variety of difficulties when recruiting both professional and non-expert labor, including legal difficulties. Consulting with legal specialists in this sector is the best approach to address existing difficulties and prevent more ones.

Karimi & Associates Law Firm is prepared to offer legal services with the advantage of a staff with expertise in a range of legal areas, including contract drafting and labor law. Please use the Contact Us sector to get in touch with our team if you require legal counsel or guidance in this field.

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