This information is derived from the State Department's Office of Investment Affairs' Investment Climate Statement. Any questions on the ICS can be directed to EB-ICS-DL@state.gov
Last Published: 11/2/2016

Afghanistan suffers a critical shortage of skilled labor. Only 31 percent of the population over the age of 15 can read and write. Decades of war, emigration, low education levels, and a lack of training facilities have resulted in scarcity of skilled technicians, qualified managers and educated professionals. Unemployment is high and the country possesses an extremely small formal sector.

A 2005 labor regulation allows for the employment of foreign workers but requires priority be given to equally qualified Afghan workers. Under the law on Foreigners Employment in Afghanistan, foreigners can be employed on the basis of a work permit issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Work permits are issued for one year and are renewable. Foreign citizens traveling to Afghanistan for employment are required to obtain business visas and work permits.

In the formal sector labor law contains some restrictions on termination of employment. The law provides for the right of workers to join and form independent unions and to conduct legal strikes and bargain collectively, and the government generally respected these rights. Broadly, labor-management relations are undeveloped. Freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively are generally respected, but most workers and employers are not aware of these rights. This was particularly true of workers in rural areas or agriculture. In urban areas the majority of workers participate in the informal sector as day laborers in construction, where there are neither unions nor collective bargaining. The 2007 Labor Law guarantees basic workers’ rights, such as wages, overtime, leave, and other benefits, and bans forced labor and child labor. The law does not contain provisions for criminal penalties for violations. The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyred and Disabled (MoLSAMD) lacks the capacity to conduct widespread inspections or enforce current regulations.

Comprehensive data on workplace accidents are unavailable, though there have been several reports of poor and dangerous working conditions.

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Afghanistan Economic Development and Investment Law