Article written in 2006
Many people writing into the various message boards and forums about Tunisia have been asking the same question. How easy is it to find work here?
Women Have Many Options
Almost half of the Tunisian workforce are women; many more are studying at universities, however, because of the low cost of living, some actually don't feel the need to work. Mothers with children are able to exercise the option of staying at home with their children. There is not the pressure in Tunisia, on women to work as well as their husband, to provide a joint income, as there is in the UK.
Wages are not high, but food is cheap, your gas and electricity bills less than half that of British Gas, and even the water bills which are run by a meter are laughable compared to what you would pay in the UK! Depending upon which area you choose to live in, I know of somebody who is renting an extremely large 3 bedroomed apartment for about 150 dinars a month (£70).
Starting Your Own Business
Rather like Spain, back in the 1970s, Tunisia is an excellent place to start your own business, to offer your unique idea to the Tunisian people before hordes of people discover the place and try and muscle in on your idea!
There are many little ideas, that in Britain we take for granted as part of everyday life that could be perhaps introduced into the Tunisian way of life. Living here for a while could inspire you to come up with something to enable you to live comfortably in this hot, sunny climate all year round.
Full Time Vacancies
Full time vacancies are advertised in the newspapers such as La Presse or employment agencies. Most of these jobs require many qualifications and almost always languages, including being fluent in both French and Arabic.
Part Time/Seasonal Vacancies
For the expat in Tunisia, part time vacancies seem to be plentiful, especially in the summer. It would help if you have managed to get a grasp of the language. My 15 year old daughter was able to get part time summer work in a boutique.
This may have been because having lived here for a year, although not fluent, she has picked up the language quite well. Many of the cafes and sandwich bars also advertise for help in their shop windows and the supermarket Monoprix in Nabeul which was advertising the fact that it was open 24 hours during the summer, was also advertising for extra staff.
The English language is very much in demand, but still a relatively new language here. Children begin to learn the language at school in Year 5, aged 10. Having English as your mother tongue, could provide an opportunity for any of you with TEFL skills, perhaps to work from home giving private tuition, set up a homework club, or look for employment opportunities within the schools, local or international.
http://www.amideast.org/ Possibility of teaching English vacancies on this website, in Tunisia and throughout North Africa and the Middle East.
http://www.britishcouncil.org/learning-elt-teach-english.htm?mtklink=teach-english-corporate-homepage-link Teachers, Managers and Language Assistants. The British Council has downloadable materials and lesson plans, qualifications and jobs pages with the latest vacancies. Tunisia is one of the few countries where you are required to have a degree as well as a TEFL qualification in order to teach English as a foreign language.
Vacancies In Tourism
Anything to do with tourism obviously works well here, from guides, to taxi drivers, to selling ceramics on a market stall or simply bottles of iced coke to thirsty holidaymakers. Applying to the major British holiday companies such as Panorama or Thomson, or the British Embassy itself could be an ideal way of gaining employment whilst getting to know the country, settling in, and gaining knowledge as to what is available, or maybe studying the market for ideas for your own business.
Investing in Tunisia
http://www.wanadoo.tn/ has employment agencies featured.
La Presse also has an "Employment Required" column in its paper. http://www.lapresse.tn/
Below are links which have been sent to me for employment agencies or websites offering vacancies.
Advice From The British Embassy
The following is some useful advice about gaining full time permanent employment in Tunisia.
I should like to work in Tunisia. Is this allowed?
Only if you have a properly drawn-up contract which has been endorsed e.g. by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Foreigners are not allowed to do jobs which Tunisians could normally fill. There are special provisions for foreign-owned or off-shore companies.
How do I obtain such a contract?
You cannot apply for one yourself. When an employer has offered you a job, you will draw up a contract by mutual consent and it is incumbent on your employer to get proper ministerial endorsement of it.
How do I find a job?
If you do not have a personal contact who wishes to employ you or can help you meet prospective employers, you could answer advertisements appearing in the local press or place an ad yourself. You should register your CV and job application with the Bureau de l'Emploi Regional in the town where you wish to work
How do I place an ad in the press?
Call at, or write to "La Presse Publicité, 6 Rue Ali Bach Hamba, Tunis. Tel. 71 341 066 with the wording of your ad, and the dates you wish it to appear. They will tell you exactly what to do and how much it will cost. Try also "Tunis-Hebdo", Rue El Houdaibia, Tunis Tel. 71 249 859, "Le Renouveau", 8 Rue de Rome, Tunis, Tel. 71 352 168, or "Le Temps", Boulevard 7 Novembre, El Menzah, Tunis Tel.: 71 717 222.
How should I expect to be paid?
Monthly, in Tunisian dinars which are non-transferable (unless the terms of your contract specify otherwise).
Would I be liable for tax?
Yes. All income is taxable. Expect a rate of 20% but ask your employer for precise details. There is a UK/Tunisia non-double taxation agreement, signed in London on 15 December 1982.
Can I get advice on a contract when one is offered to me?
Certainly, and it is strongly advised that you do consult a lawyer before signing any contract. If you require it, a list of lawyers is available in the Consular Section, or from Consular Division of the FCO in London.
Is there anything special I should look out for?
Ask about provisions for medical care. There is no free treatment available to you here. Your employer may have a group medical-cover scheme, which you could join. If not, take into account the expense of doctors' and dentists' bills etc. when doing your sums. Expect to wait several weeks/months before salary payments start to reach you: Have funds available to tide you over until then.