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Staff Recruitment in Myanmar

Myanmar offers a young, large and low-cost working population, with about two-thirds of its 53 million people reaching working age (Myanmar Labour Survey, 2015). A key problem faced by foreign companies in Myanmar, however, is being able to recruit workers at the right skill level, with less than 10% of workers in Myanmar attaining tertiary education levels (Myanmar Labour Survey, 2015). As such, investing in Myanmar will pertain to strategies to manage the difficulties of finding skilled workers, and this may include the provision of specific training courses. Meanwhile, Myanmar permits the employment of foreign workers, particularly in managerial, supervisory or technical roles. More recently, Myanmar has made it easier to employ foreign workers after the enactment of Myanmar Investment Law (2016).

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population (MOL) is responsible for labour and employment matters in Myanmar. Labour laws in Myanmar can be viewed on the MOL’s website. Familiarisation of Myanmar’s labour laws will be necessary before recruiting, but the key points for Hong Kong companies to be aware of are:

  • Companies investing in Myanmar can apply for work permits for foreigners in managerial or supervisory roles or for those holding technical skills. To do so, a company must have an Investment Permit and receive an endorsement to employ foreign workers from the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).

  • The daily minimum wage is currently applied at MMK3,600 (US$2.6) per day. It is set to increase to MKR4,800 (US$3.5) and apply to all businesses with 10 or more employees. This followed a decision by the National Committee on Fixing the Minimum Wage in late 2017, pending formal confirmation within the following 60 days.

  • The Social Security Act 2012 requires an employer with more than five workers to provide Social Security Scheme benefits to workers, such as general benefit insurance and insurance against employment-related injuries. Contribution rates by employees and employers are 2% and 3% of the total salaries and wages respectively. At present, the maximum monthly contribution is limited to MMK9,000 (about US$7) by the employer and MMK6,000 (about US$4) by the employee.

  • Workers in Myanmar are free to join trade unions. All labour organisations should be legally registered and meet the requirements set out by law.


A Practical Guide to Doing Business in Myanmar

  1. Regulatory Environment
  2. Establishing a Presence
  3. Intellectual Property Protection
  4. Staff Recruitment
  5. Tax Considerations
  6. Import/Export Procedures
  7. Further Information

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