Living and Working in Egypt:
If you are thinking of living or working in Egypt, it is important to be aware of the cultural differences. For example, Egyptians place a high value on personal relationships and family. They also have a strong sense of community. Here are some things you must know.
Pay & Benefits
The working week may not exceed 48 hours. Nor may an employee work for more than eight hours per day. There is no minimum wage but employees are legally entitled to one day off per week.
Taxes in Egypt are divided into two categories. The first concerns the direct taxation of individuals and legal entities on their income or profit. The second involves indirect taxation of goods, services, and events. Changes to the Egyptian taxation system are ongoing. The information below may not be up-to-date very long.
Individuals, meaning anyone living in Egypt, must pay income tax. Salaries paid in Egypt or abroad for services performed in Egypt are taxable. Income tax includes the value of all benefits; it is 20% on annual revenue between 0 – 50,000 EGP and 32% for more than 50,000 EGP. Employers are agents of the tax authority, deducting taxes from salaries due to employees.
Generally, companies are subject to a corporate profit tax at a standard rate of 40%. Lower rates, however, apply to companies engaged in the following activities: petroleum, export activities, and industrial and manufacturing companies.
To work in Egypt, you must apply for both a work and a residence permit. Your employer is in charge of the request to the “Ministère de l’Intérieur”. You may have to wait a few months before being granted a work permit. Numerous documents are required by your employer, including a tourist visa, birth certificate, and diplomas.
Living in Egypt
Why live in Egypt?
Cairo is a huge, vibrant city, the largest and liveliest city in Africa and the Middle East, with between 16 and 18 million residents.
For the approximately 30,000 Europeans and North Americans here, Cairo is welcoming and comfortable. The sun shines all the time and the atmosphere is energetic and vital. Expats love living here; they report their colleagues are warm, funny, and hospitable. There’s a lot to see and do here on weekends, including hiking mountains, enjoying world-class beaches, scuba diving, and exploring Egypt’s archaeological treasures.
General and specialist care, including surgery, maternity care, laboratory services, and rehabilitation are provided by those employers covered by the Health Insurance Organization. As a visitor, you should obtain health insurance in your country of origin.
University and private hospitals have good medical equipment. You pay around 3,000 EGP (around 349 Euros) in advance to get in. Healthcare professionals all speak English.
Although there are no particular health problems in the country, you should be vaccinated against hepatitis A, typhoid, and tetanus. It is also advisable to drink mineral water.
There is a wide bank network in Egypt. Misr Bank, the National Bank of Egypt, Barclays, HSBC, Crédit Lyonnais, BNP, Société Générale and many others operate in Egypt.
To open a bank account, you will have to provide various documents. For instance, you need the following documents to open an account with The National Bank of Egypt: a certificate from your employer, a monthly salary statement, a copy of your passport and visa, and some proof of residency.
You can check the MasterCard ATM locator page for the location of ATMs in Egypt.
Finding a Property
You can look at ads in the daily papers or supermarkets and ask porters (called nawabs) if an apartment is available in their building. It is best, however, to ask different real estate agents for help in finding a place to stay.
Take a decision quickly when you visit a place that suits you, otherwise the place will be gone. Then insist on rapidly drawing up an inventory of fixtures and signing the contract.
Cairo has a thriving international district, Maadi, where you will meet French, British, and Americans, but it is also the most expensive area in which to live. The International schools are located here.
Germans live in the Dokki neighborhood. Zamalek is in the heart of Cairo and has many rooming houses, bars, and restaurants. Heliopolis is a nice, green residential suburb you may enjoy.
There is a wide range of public transportation in Cairo including taxis, buses, the metro, and trolleys. Two metro lines are crossing Cairo from north to south and from west to east. The metro is considered convenient and comfortable by locals. Internal flights are available from Cairo Airport.
Buses are generally quite modern. They connect main cities at all times, but you should book your seat at least two days in advance.
You can easily hire a car in Egypt, it costs between 35 and 55 Euros a day, but you should know that doesn’t include insurance. You can use an international driver’s license.
White or yellow taxis are commonplace in cities. Taxis can be hired for whole days for between 100 and 200 EGP.
Cost of Living
The Egyptian currency is the Egyptian pound (EGP). The exchange rate at the time of writing is: 1 Euro = 8.48 EGP (May 2011) and 1 USD = 5.94 EGP.
Cairo is one of the most expensive cities in North Africa. Yet the cost of living in Egypt is twice as low as in France or the US. Commodity prices are up 17% and 23 % of the population lives below the poverty line.
Most Egyptians make their living on tips or baksheesh. Always have change on you, but separate it from your bills, otherwise, you may be asked for more money. Be aware that the price of nearly everything can be negotiated in Egypt, from renting an apartment to food or transportation.