Foreign nationals are prohibited from working in Iran unless they receive work and employment permits (even if they are supposed to receive wage and salary outside the Iranian territory). The work permit serves as the employment license for the foreign nationals in Iran.
The work permit for the employment of foreign nationals in Iran is issued by the “Department General for Employment of Foreign Nationals” (also called Department for Employment of Expatriates) of the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare upon a request by Iranian employers. In provincial capitals it is issued by the Foreign Citizens Divisions of the Department General of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare. (The general procedure for admission of foreign investment has been brought separately in the following part.) The Iranian employers are obligated to seek the permission of the Department General for Employment of Foreign Nationals before concluding any contract that may lead to the employment of foreign citizens in Iran. The rules and regulations for acquiring work permit for the foreign nationals are available in the Labor Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ratified in 1990 (articles 120 through 129 and executive bylaw of Article 129). Although due to abundance of educated job-seekers in the country and for the purpose of reducing unemployment rate of the educated and skilled job-seekers the Technical Board for Employment of Foreign Nationals has strict rules and regulations (stipulated in Article 121 of Labor Law) for issuance of work permits, the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPPA), passed in 2002, has considered promising provisions for issuance of work permits for foreign investors, managers and experts in relation with the investments under FIPPA.