Damalion Morocco desk
Doing business in Morocco
Morocco, an African country with a diverse history of different empires, has been one of the most advanced and developed markets in Africa.
The country enjoys political stability, an ideal location, and a robust infrastructure, with a fast-growing economy and an accelerated process of political, economic, and social reforms.
Morocco is an important market opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs and investors for many reasons. Its huge consumer class, strong economic growth, and successful enactment of financial restructuring programs supported by the World Bank had made it a very attractive nation to investors.
And being a gateway to the African continent, the country offers a variety of opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Morocco.
Overall, Morocco offers a favorable business environment for foreign investors, with a range of benefits that make it an attractive location for doing business.
Advantages of doing business in Morocco
- Morocco has experienced steady economic growth in recent years, and the government has implemented several economic reforms aimed at promoting investment and boosting growth.
- Morocco is situated at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and this has made it an ideal location for businesses looking to access these markets.
- Morocco has signed several free trade agreements with several countries and this made it an attractive location for businesses looking to access these markets.
- The country’s labor force is young, active, and qualified, the infrastructure is also solidly developed.
- Morocco has also implemented several reforms to improve its business environment, including simplifying procedures for starting a business and establishing a one-stop shop for foreign investors.
- The Moroccan government has enforced a number of incentives and tax benefits to bring in foreign investors, such as tax exemptions, and financial support for investment projects.
The legal system in Morocco is based on a mixture of Islamic law, French civil law, and traditional Moroccan law. The legal system in Morocco is a dual system, with a separate court system for secular and religious matters.
Morocco has a Secular Court System based on the French civil law system, a Religious Court System based on Islamic law, a Constitutional Court responsible for interpreting the constitution, an Administrative Court that handles disputes related to administrative matters, and Labor Court responsible for handling disputes related to labor and employment matters.
Foreign investment in Morocco
Morocco actively encourages foreign investment. In a bid to promote this further, Morocco authorized a series of measures and legal provisions to simplify procedures and secure appropriate conditions for project launching and finalizing. The measures include financial incentives and tax exemptions provided for in the investment code and the regional investment centers established to accompany projects.
Also, foreign and domestic private entities may establish and own business enterprises in Morocco.
Legal forms in Morocco
Morocco offers several business structures that entrepreneurs can choose from when starting a business. Here are the most common business structures in Morocco:
Sole Proprietorship (Entreprise Individuelle)
This is the simplest business structure in Morocco.
- It is owned and operated by a single individual
- The owner has full control over the business
- The owner is personally responsible for all its debts and obligations.
Partnership (Société en Nom Collectif)
This is a Moroccan business structure where two or more people share ownership and management of the business.
- Partners are jointly and severally responsible for the debts and obligations of the partnership.
- Partners share ownership and management responsibilities, as well as profits and losses.
Limited Partnership (Société en Commandite Simple)
This is similar to a partnership, but it has two types of partners: the general partners who manage the business and are jointly and severally liable for its debts and obligations, and the limited partners who contribute capital and have limited liability.
Limited Liability Company (Société à Responsabilité Limitée – SARL)
A SARL is a Morocco business structure that offers limited liability protection to its owners, meaning that the owners are only liable for the amount of capital they contribute to the business.
- It is a legal entity with a legal personality.
- SARLs require at least two shareholders.
- A SARL offers limited liability protection to its owners, who are called “associés.”
- There is no limit in terms of minimum share capital.
- SARLs require at least two associates and have a maximum of 50 associates.
- Its director(s) is not obliged to be residents in Morocco or to hold shares in the said company.
Joint-Stock Company (Société Anonyme – SA)
A Moroccan joint-stock company is a business structure where ownership is split into shares that can be acquired and sold by investors.
- Shareholders are not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business.
- SA companies require at least three shareholders.
- An SA company’s ownership is divided into shares, which are sold to investors.
- It has free transfer and negotiability of the shares
- Shareholders have limited liability and are not responsible for the company’s debts beyond their investment.
- An auditor must be assigned.
Simplified Joint-Stock Company (Société Anonyme Simplifiée – SAS)
The SAS is a Moroccan c business structure that offers limited liability protection to its owners.
- SASs can be created with a single shareholder
- The SAS offers limited liability protection to its shareholders.
A branch is a company created by a foreign parent company and it is considered a separate legal entity.
- A branch office is considered an extension of the parent company in Morocco.
- The parent company assumes full responsibility for the branch office’s activities and liabilities.
- Foreign companies must register with the Moroccan Trade Register before establishing a branch office in Morocco.
- Foreign companies must appoint a local representative in Morocco.
- The parent company must provide sufficient financial resources to support the branch office’s activities.
To establish your company in Morroco, contact your Damalion expert now.
Although banking in Morocco is already well-developed and it plays a crucial role in the country’s economy, Morocco continues to renovate its banking system.
Morocco Banking system
The Moroccan banking system is comprised of two types of banks: commercial banks and specialized credit institutions. The Bank Al-Maghrib is the central bank of Morocco that oversees the country’s monetary policy, it also set standards for capital adequacy, risk management, and consumer protection.
Moroccan banks offer a spectrum of services to individuals and businesses, including savings accounts, checking accounts, insurance, and investment products.
Moroccan banks also facilitate international transactions through compatible banking relationships with banks around the world, and they provide foreign currency exchange services.
In addition, Islamic banking is available in Morocco, with various banks offering Sharia-compliant products and services that conform to Islamic principles.
Opening a bank account in Morocco
For immigrants, opening a bank account in Morocco is ideal to handle your finances for a long stay in the country. You’ll also save up a lot of money in currency change fees and have your finances in check.
Overall, opening a bank account in Morocco is a relatively straightforward process, although the specific requirements may vary depending on the bank and type of account.
The process of opening a bank account in Morocco start by choosing an applicable type of bank account. You will then need to complete an application form and supply the required document, which includes Proof of identity, Proof of address, a copy of your residency permit, and Proof of income.
It’s not a must to be a Moroccan resident to open a bank account, but you can’t open an account in dirhams if you are not legally resident in the country.
Opening a bank account in Morocco is quite easy, but the language barrier could be a complication if you do not speak French, Arabic, or Darija fluently. So it’s recommended to get a professional, e.g., Damalion, to help.
Is it the rich and diverse history of different empires, the spectacular mountains, and deserts, or the various business opportunities? There are many reasons to make Morocco your home. Like any other country full of opportunities out there, you need to get a residency permit in order to move to and live in Morocco.
Morocco residence permits
Morocco residency comes in form of a tourist visa and a long-term visa. A tourist visa is for individuals who are planning on staying in the country for no longer than 90 days, while a long-term visa is issued to individuals who want to stay in Morocco long-term.
Morocco long-term visas
Morocco long-term visas allows the holders to apply for a Residency Card (Carte de Séjour) from the eligible services of the Moroccan General Directorate of National Security.
Morocco long-term visa is divided into many subtypes, such as:
- Work Visa: this type of visa is issued to foreigners who find a job in Morocco. For this type of visa, the applicant needs to have a job offer from a company in Morocco, and the company will need to provide him/her with the necessary paperwork to support the visa application.
- Student Visa: this type of visa is issued to foreigners who want to study in a Moroccan educational institution. Applicants will need to be accepted into a recognized educational institution in Morocco and provide proof of enrollment.
- Investment Visa: this type of visa is for applicants who are planning to invest in a Moroccan business. Applicants will need to provide proof of investment and the business plan for the project.
- Retirement Visa: this is for individuals over 55 years old that have a stable source of income. Applicants must provide proof of retirement income and a police clearance certificate.
Family Reunification Visa: this is issued to foreigners wanting to join a family member who is living in Morocco. Applicant must provide proof of relationship and the necessary paperwork to support the application.
Moroccan permanent residency
Foreign nationals can get Moroccan permanent residency once he/she has renewed his/her residency card for the third time and gained the 10-year permit. The first card will be valid for one year, the second card will be valid for five years, and the third card will be valid for 10 years.
The Moroccan tax system includes both direct and indirect taxes. The taxes are imposed by the government and the organization responsible for tax policy in the country is called the “General Management of Taxes”.
The main taxes in Morocco
- Corporate Income Tax
The corporate income tax rate in Morocco is 31%. This tax is imposed on the worldwide income of resident companies, public institutions, and other legal entities, and on the income earned in Morocco by non-resident companies.
- Value Added Tax (VAT)
The VAT rate in Morocco is 20%. VAT is charged on the sale of goods and services, and is payable by the consumer. There is a reduced rate of 7% for specific consumer products, 10% for some food products, beverages, and hotel industry-specific and 14% for other products.
- Personal Income Tax
This tax applies to the income and profits of individuals and partnerships that have not opted for corporate income tax. The tax rate in Morocco ranges from 0% to 38% and is levied on the worldwide income of Moroccan residents.
- Withholding Tax
This tax is charged on specific payments made to non-residents, and its rate varies depending on the type of payment.
- Property Tax
This tax is levied on real estate in Morocco and its rate varies depending on the value of the property.
Morocco has signed tax treaties with numerous countries to avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion. These tax treaties provide rules for determining which country has the right to tax different types of income and also provide for the exchange of information between tax authorities.
Some of the key features of Morocco’s tax treaties include Double Taxation Relief, Withholding Tax Reduction, Capital Gains Tax, and Exchange of Information
Some of the countries with which Morocco has signed tax treaties include France, Spain, Italy, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The Moroccan tax regime is a little complex and requires careful planning and compliance, so it’s important to seek professional advice when conducting business in Morocco to ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations. Contact your Damalion experts now and let us help.
Morocco has a comprehensive regulatory and legislative system for the protection of intellectual property (IP) and this is in line with international standards. The country has carried out several laws and regulations to protect several types of intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and industrial designs.
In addition, Morocco is a signatory to several international agreements on intellectual property, including the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
Morocco recognizes several types of intellectual property rights, which are protected by laws and regulations. Here are the main types of intellectual property rights in Morocco:
- Trademarks are signs, symbols, or words used to differentiate the products or services of one company from another.
- Trademarks are protected under the Moroccan Industrial Property Law in Morocco.
- The law provides for the registration of trademarks and also restricts the use of similar or comparable trademarks that may confuse consumers.
- Violation of a registered trademark in Morocco may be punishable under either the penal or civil laws of Morocco.
- Trademark protection in Morocco is valid for several years from the filing date and can be renewed indefinitely for successive periods after.
- A patent is a legal protection granted to an invention that meets specific requirements, such as novelty, and industrial applicability.
- Patents in Morocco are protected under the Moroccan Patent Law.
- The law provides for the registration of patents and also stipulates the requirements for patentability and the rights of patent holders.
- Patent rights in Morocco may be willingly transferred to third parties, but, the transfer must be registered with the Patent Office to be productive against third parties.
- In Morocco, the duration of patent protection is 20 years from the filing date.
- Copyrights are legal protections granted to authors of original works, such as literary and artistic works.
- Copyright confers upon the author two principal rights: a property right and an ethical right.
- Copyrights are protected under the Moroccan Copyright Law.
- The law provides for the protection of literary and artistic works and also specifies the rights of copyright owners.
- In Morocco, copyright protection lasts for the lifetime of the author plus 50 years after their death.
- An industrial design is a legal protection granted to the visual appearance of a product or its ornamentation.
- In Morocco, industrial designs are protected under the Moroccan Industrial Property Law.
- The law provides for the registration of industrial designs and also specifies the rights of industrial design owners.
- Industrial design protection in Morocco is valid for 5 years from the filing date and can be renewed for up to four consecutive periods of 5 years each.
Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement
The Moroccan government has founded a specialized court, the Commercial Court, to handle intellectual property disputes. The court has the authority to issue injunctions, order the destruction of infringing goods, and award damages to the rights holder.
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
Employment laws in Morocco which are uniquely conformed to the country’s way of life have been shaped by the guidance of the International Labor Organization and are considered liberal and easy to follow.
The Moroccan labor and employment laws are governed by the Labor Code, which regulates the rights and obligations of both employers and employees.
Employment contracts in Morocco
Employment contracts in Morocco are quite essential because employment relationships in Morocco must be defined through a written contract that summarizes the terms and conditions of employment, such as wages, working hours, and leave entitlements.
In Morocco, there are many types of employment contracts that can be used by employers banking on the nature of the work and the period of the employment relationship.
Here are the main types of employment contracts in Morocco:
- Open-ended contracts: these types of employment contracts are the most common type in Morocco and are used for permanent employment. They are indefinite and have no fixed duration.
- Fixed-term contracts: these types of employment contracts are used for temporary or seasonal work, or when the employer needs to hire someone for a certain project or task. These types of contract have a fixed duration.
- Part-time contracts: these types of employment contracts are used for employees who work less than the standard full-time working hours in Morocco. The employees under this type of contract are entitled to the same privileges and benefits as full-time employees but on a pro-rata basis.
There are also Probationary contracts, Apprenticeship contracts, and Internship contracts in Morocco.
Employment Benefits in Morocco
In Morocco, employers are expected to provide employees with a range of benefits, as summarized in the Labor Code. Here are some of the main employment benefits that are provided to employees in Morocco:
- Working hours: the standard working hours in Morocco are 44 hours per week, with a maximum of 10 hours per day. Employees are entitled to a minimum of one day off per week. Employees are also liable to overtime which is subject to extra pay.
- Social Security: Moroccan employers must contribute to the social security system on behalf of their employees, which provides benefits such as healthcare, pensions, and disability insurance.
- Paid leave: in addition to several paid public holidays each year, including the Islamic holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Employees are entitled to annual paid leave after six months of continuous service with the same employer.
- Maternity and paternity leave: Morocco employment law offers 14 weeks of maternity leave to new mothers, and Fathers are entitled to 3 days of paternity leave.
- Sick leave: Moroccan employees are eligible for sick leave if they have 54 days of contributions in the previous six months of coverage.
- Health and safety: Moroccan employers must provide a safe and healthy working environment for their employees.
- Termination of employment: Moroccan employers must have a legal reason for terminating an employee’s contract. Employees who are terminated without cause are entitled to severance pay.
Are you looking to enter and benefit from this North African country market?
Your Damalion experts can help. We have the expertise that allows us to guide clients in building a company in Morocco. We also provide business solutions, including compliance, entity management, accounting, taxation, payroll support, and many more across the country.
Contact us now to register your company in Morocco
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