Foreign workers and entrepreneurs who intend to work and thus reside in North Macedonia should hold both work and residence permits, as well as a visa for the regulation of temporary stay (type D). As a rule, there are no special visa, working and residence rules for foreigners that travel and stay in North Macedonia and work under a contract with the government.
Nations from EU/OECD member countries, who acquire ownership over an apartment or house in North Macedonia in value of at least EUR 40,000, qualify to apply for e temporary residence permit in North Macedonia.
The Government has discretionary right to grant citizenship in North Macedonia for foreign nationals that meet specific criteria, if this is a matter of national interest in areas such as science, economy, culture, sports or others. By using this discretionary right in the past, there have been cases when the Government has granted citizenship to representatives/founders of foreign companies that should invest in North Macedonia.
Temporary residence permit
The request for issuance of a temporary residence permit due to employment is filed together with the visa application before the competent diplomatic or consular office of the Republic of North Macedonia, or an external service provider authorized by the local authorities for processing of such applications. In practice, in case the foreigner does not require visa to enter North Macedonia, the Ministry of Interior Affairs allows that the request for temporary residence permit is filed in the competent office of the Ministry of Interior Affairs where the foreigner should work. Note that as a rule the foreigner should be personally present to submit the request, as well as to receive the decision by the authorities. However, the Ministry of Interior is flexible and it allows that the request is filed by post or by a person holding a valid power of attorney, while the applicant still has to come in person to pick up the temporary residence permit.
A temporary residence permit for the purposes of work shall be issued on the basis of an application submitted (i) by the foreigner, (ii) by the legal entity with which the foreigner is to conclude an employment contract or (iii) by a person authorized by the foreigner. The foreigner has to provide series of documents, such as a passport which is valid for a period of at least three months, education certificates, CV etc. Together with the request for issuance of a temporary residence permit, and visa (if applicable), the applicant should disclose evidence that it meets the following conditions:
The temporary residence permit due to work in North Macedonia is issued upon obtaining a positive opinion by the Employment Agency. Note that the practice in these type of cases is severely unharmonized, thus on case-by-case basis authorities reserve the right to require additional documents from the foreigner for purposes of determining the relevant circumstances for issuance of a temporary residence permit.
As soon as the Ministry of Interior Affairs prepares the decision for granting temporary residence permit to the foreign national, it shall schedule an appointment for the foreigner to take his/her photo and issue an ID for a foreign national holding a temporary residence permit in North Macedonia. Upon receipt of the temporary residence permit, foreigners are granted with a unique identification number which is used in salary calculations, tax payments and in general for identification of the foreigner in North Macedonia.
The number of work permits issued in North Macedonia are envisaged by a quote determined by the Government, upon proposal and consultation with other relevant authorities. The quote cannot exceed 5% of the number of population which is actively employed. The quote does not include specific categories of foreign employees, such as professional athletes, residents of foreign countries which work in North Macedonia based on international agreement concluded with their country; seconded employees from foreign companies to group member companies in North Macedonia who perform managerial or specialized functions etc.
The quote is divided into work permits for four different categories of employees, as follows: (i) employment of foreign nationals in North Macedonia; (ii) foreigners seconded in North Macedonia; (iii) foreign seasonal workers; and (iv) individual services provided by foreigners.
Foreign nationals apply for their work permit together with their application for a visa and temporary residence permit. Since 2016 all applications for issuance of new or extension of existing work permits are submitted to the Ministry of Interior Affairs, which has an obligation to coordinate the procedure for issuance of a work permit with the Employment Agency. As an exception, the request for work permit could be submitted to the Employment Agency directly in cases when the employees have regulated temporary or permanent stay in North Macedonia on other grounds (e.g. marriage). The initial work permit is issued on a six month period, while later it is extended on an annual level.
Only in specifically envisaged cases, foreigners are allowed to provide short-term services or carry out work in North Macedonia based on registration only, without the need to obtain a work permit. These are usually cases when employees are sent to North Macedonia based on an agreement between their employer abroad and the local company for installation on specific equipment purchased from their foreign employer. Also, registration of foreign workers is sufficient in cases when they represent their employer only on a fair organized in North Macedonia and in specific situation of providing creative services in the cultural segment. Foreigners who work in North Macedonia based on registrations under the exceptions provided by law, do not have the right to obtain a temporary residence permit due to employment.