HTLC Network | Sierra Leone
HTLC Network is a valuable support that can help you to transform the challenges of an international relocation into a successful and satisfying life experience. We provide global corporate and private relocation and immigration services and we are present in many different parts of the world, being able to meet your requests, to ensure the utmost attention to every detail
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WELCOME TO SIERRA LEONE

Sierra Leone is a West African country located between Guinea and Liberia. First a Portuguese, then a British colony, Sierra Leone attained self-rule in 1961. Also known as the ” blood diamond” country, it has an important role in the trade with illicit gems.

 

sierra-leoneThe land:

Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa, north of the equator. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The country has some 250 miles (400 kilometers) of coastline. Immediately inland is an area of low-lying mangrove swamps, then rain-forested plains and farmland, whilst across in the eastern side of the country is a mountainous plateau, where Mount Bintumani rises to 6,390 feet (1,948 meters).

 

History:

Archaeological finds show that Sierra Leone has been inhabited for at least 2,500 years, populated by successive movements of peoples from other parts of Africa. The name “Sierra Leone” dates back to 1462, when sailing along the Western coast of Africa, Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra saw the tall mountains rising up on what is now the Freetown Peninsula, and called them the “Lion Mountains,” or “Serra Lyoa.” Under British colonization, the name was modified to “Sierra Leone.”

 

The prime location of the country led to Sierra Leone becoming the center of trade and colonial administration in the region. The country gained independence from Britain in 1961. Sierra Leone has seen much internal fighting between ethnic groups, the recent civil war which ended in 2002 led to atrocities being committed against the population which reached the worlds headlines.

 

People:

There are between fifteen and twenty different ethnic groups within Sierra Leone, the two largest being the Temne and the Mende, each comprising about 30 percent of the total population. In addition, there are a number of people of Lebanese descent, whose ancestors fled Turkish persecution in Lebanon in the late nineteenth century. While each ethnic group speaks its own language, the majority of people speak Mende, Temne, or Krio. The official language spoken in schools and government administration is English, dating back to British colonial influence.

 

Economy:

Subsistence agriculture comprises the mainstay of the rural Sierra Leonean economy. Cash crops such as coffee, cocoa, peanuts, and tobacco are also important, as are small-scale marketing and commodity trade. Sierra Leone is rich in diamonds, bauxite, and gold, but the national economy receives little of the benefits that could come from the official export of these items, due to mismanagement, widespread smuggling, and corruption.

Much of Sierra Leone’s formal economy was destroyed in the civil war. Post war,massive infusions of outside assistance have helped Sierra Leone begin to recover. Full recovery to pre-war economic levels will require hundreds of millions of additional dollars and many more years of serious effort by the Government of Sierra Leone and donor governments. Besides mineral deposits, Sierra Leone has sizeable marine and timber resources; both sectors are however threatened by limited management and overexploitation.

 

Climate:

Sierra Leone has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and high humidity. Night time temperatures rarely drop below 24C and daytime temperatures reach 30C throughout the year. From October to March the weather is generally dry with many fine, hot, sunny days. From April to September, is the rainy season. The rainfall increases to a peak in July and August and then decreases until rain has almost ceased by November.

Sierra Leone is a West African country located between Guinea and Liberia. First a Portuguese, then a British colony, Sierra Leone attained self-rule in 1961. Also known as the ” blood diamond” country, it has an important role in the trade with illicit gems.

The capital:

The capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown, is the country’s largest city and sits on a coastal peninsula next to a natural harbor which is the third largest in the world. With a population of over a million it is the economic, financial, and cultural center of Sierra Leone. Many of the country’s largest corporations locate their headquarters’ home offices in Freetown.

Main expatriate destination cities:

Freetown is the main destination city for expatriates on foreign assignments, most foreign companies have their headquarters here. The second city of Sierra Leone and the main city of the Southern region is Bo. Bo is one of the only cities in Sierra Leone to be untouched by the war, owing to a citizen militia which kept the rebel soldiers out for the entire 10 years.

Main foreign investors:

Since independence, the Government of Sierra Leone has encouraged foreign investment, although the business climate has been hampered by corruption, a shortage of foreign exchange, and uncertainty resulting from civil conflicts.

Sierra Leone is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Sierra Leone continues to rely on significant amounts of foreign assistance, principally from multilateral donors. The bilateral donors include the United States, Italy, and Germany, but the largest are the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Expatriate living:

Sierra Leone is a generally a safe country although standard security precautions should be taken by resident expatriates. Petty crime is fairly common (mostly pick-pocketing and purse-snatching), while armed robbery, muggings, and assaults are not common. Corruption is widespread – corrupt police sometimes target foreigners for bribes; despite the fact that the government is taking measures to reduce this corruption. It is not recommended to walk around at night as theack of lighting can be a problem. Many roads are in very poor condition and driving standards and vehicle safety substandard.

Medical facilities are very poor and any required medication should be brought from your country of origin.

Cultural Awareness:

Sierra Leoneans as a rule are extremely polite and manner-conscious. Much attention is given, especially in urban areas, to one’s neatness of dress and style of presentation. Courteous and eloquent greetings are a way of life. Elders are especially respected. It is viewed as polite for a guest to leave some food on the plate, thanking the host profusely for his or her generosity.

The society is an integrated one, with Muslims and Christians living and worshiping side by side. Despite distinctive regional variations in language and local traditions, Sierra Leoneans today are united by many factors, such as their shared lingua franca Krio, widespread membership in men’s and women’s social associations and societies, as well as sporting events.

Leisure activities and opportunities:
The beaches of the Freetown peninsula are spectacular, and on an average day, almost deserted. An interesting place to visit is Bonthe Town on Sherbro Island, a former British Colonial Town, with several beautiful stone churches, and a rich culture. Tiwai Island (in the middle of a river in SE Sierra Leone) is teeming with rare wildlife. The rural areas still practice traditional crafts, among which are woodcarving, tie-dyeing, batik-printing, textile and fabric design, and basket making.

Prepare and Plan Visit
In this initial contact the Relocation Coordinator will brief the Transferee, introducing destination services commissioned, and provide access codes to HTLC Network on-line City-Specific Resource Guides. In addition, the Relocation Coordinator will help the Transferee assess personal and family’s housing needs, as well as their hopes and plans for the sojourn in your new destination. The Transferee will be asked to fill out a Personal Needs Analysis Form, which will enable customized service delivery. After gaining a sense of the Transferee’s needs, the Relocation Coordinator will arrange appointments with schools and real estate agents, an appointment will be set up with one of the Local Counsellors for a city briefing and a programme will be finalised for accompanied property and school viewings.

 

Airport Pickup and Greeting The Transferee and family will be met at the airport by a Local Counsellor and accompanied to designated hotel.

 

Destination Country and City Information
The Transferee will be given a briefing on the local city and life in your new destination in general, and will be encouraged to ask any questions. An Information Pack on the destination city will be provided. This Pack includes an information sheet with the HTLC Network office and Local Counsellor contact information and emergency telephone numbers. Further, it includes a city and transport map as well as a hard copy of HTLC Network own City-Specific Resource Guide, which contains a wealth of information such as telephone access codes, English-speaking doctors and expatriate clubs. When available, a copy of the English Yellow Pages, local English language periodicals and other relevant information will also be included in the Information Pack.

 

auto-europe-driving-informationCity by Zone Tour
The purpose of this tour is to familiarise the Transferee with selected areas of the city and type of housing and amenities available, in order to be better prepared to select the neighbourhood most suitable for personal and family needs. The City By Zone Tour is often delivered in conjunction with a house hunting programme.

 

International Schooling The Transferee will be briefed on educational opportunities in the area. The Relocation Coordinator will schedule appointments at the selected schools, and the Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to pre-arranged appointments although the appointments will be privately held between the Transferee and school administrators. Where possible, the Relocation Coordinator will organise enrolment procedure and arrange for company invoicing.

 

Full-Day Househunting Programme Following an in-depth briefing by the Relocation Coordinator a programme of property viewings will be arranged. The Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to pre-arranged viewings of up to eight properties.

 

Two-Day Househunting Programme Following an in-depth briefing by the Relocation Coordinator a programme of property viewings will be arranged. The Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to pre-arranged viewings of up to fifteen properties.

 

Lease Negotiation After the Transferee has selected a property, the Relocation Coordinator will negotiate lease conditions with the real estate agency or landlord according to The national destination law. HTLC Network coordinator will prepare a contract that ensures legal protection for the client. Particular attention is given to include a break clause, as international assignments often change in duration and the aim is to give maximum flexibility within the limits of the national destination law.

 

bigstock-Real-Estate-Home-Inspection-Re-20778977Property Inspection and Inventory Once the lease has been signed, a thorough property inspection is taken in the presence of the Transferee. This includes an inventory of any furnishings, general condition of the property, and meter readings for utility contracts.

 

Utility Connections, Phone Line and Bank Account The Relocation Coordinator will arrange all utility and telephone connections, and a Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to open a bank account in the selected area.

 

Settling-In Assistance The Local Counsellor will spend time with the Transferee and family, assisting with requested elements of the relocation process, such as arranging language training, obtaining a satellite decoder or internet service provider, shopping for furniture or securing house contents insurance. Duration of this service depends on various company authorizations.

 

Car Purchase or Lease The Relocation Coordinator will brief the Transferee on the logistics of making an automobile purchase and will research reputable dealers in the area. The Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to dealers and act as a translator. Once the Transferee has made the selection, HTLC Network will take care of necessary documentation including insurance cover. For long-term rental HTLC Network will advise local availability of this service.

 

Local Registration
If the Transferee requests, and is eligible, the Local Counsellor will assist with National Health Registration. City hall registration is a separate service and if authorizied, HTLC Network will assist with the whole bureaucratic procedure at the relative cityhall.

 

Closeup of a call center employee with headset at workplaceOngoing Phone Support The HTLC Network support Helpline is available to all Transferees for 90 days from date of property contract signing. Extensions to this Helpline can be added in periods of three months.

 

Car Importation Importation of car to your new destination, including full document assistance and re-registration with Vehicle registry.

 

Full Assignment Tracking Full tracking of all deadlines throughout duration of the Transferees international assignment, notification given of all scheduled renewal dates, such as housing contracts, Permit of Stay and Work Permits. Ad Hoc Services Service rendered both from back and front office is available on an hourly and daily basis.

Immigration procedures and requirements vary greatly from country to country. Documents requested from applicants depend on the citizenship of the individual applying and the status he wishes to obtain in the destination country, be it authorisation to work, authorisation for accompanying family members, tourist or study visas, temporary or permanent residency status.

 

Passport immigration stamp

• HTLC Network has been selected by many International Law and Immigration Firms as well as Global Relocation Companies to represent them exclusively for immigration

• We work closely with the relevant governmental and police authorities in each country

• Our Immigration Team are experts in immigration laws and keep abreast of changing requirements and procedures

• We prepare all documentation for HR, all you have to do is print out and sign

• We inform the Transferee which specific documents are required , which translations must be obtained and if these must be legalised

• We provide HR and Transferees with information on the process flow, timing and specific legal requirements of each destination

• We update all parties involved regularly as to the status of the application

• Whenever possible, we act with a Power of Attorney on behalf of the company and the Transferee; when the Transferee’s presence is required, he will be accompanied to the relevant office in the destination city

• Our Local Counsellors, residents and locals of the destination city, are able to present the all prepared documentation to the relevant offices in person; thus speeding up the process and ensuring an efficient service

 

For more info about our immigration services in Sierra Leone please contact our marketing department at: info@htlcnetwork.com

sierra-leone2Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone. It is a major port city in the Atlantic Ocean and is located in the Western Area of Sierra Leone. Freetown is Sierra Leone’s major urban, economic, financial, cultural, educational and political center.

The city’s economy revolves largely around its harbor – occupying a part of the estuary of the Sierra Leone River in one of the world’s largest natural deep water harbours.

As the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown is home to the Sierra Leone House of Parliament, the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone and the State House, the official workplace of the President of Sierra Leone. All of the foreign embassies in Sierra Leone are based in the city.

Freetown is home to the Fourah Bay College, not only played a key role in Sierra Leone’s colonial history, but also a key role in the history of the English-speaking West-African nations.

SIERRA LEONE FAQ - Housing
What can I expect to find in an unfurnished, a semi-furnished or a furnished property?

Unfurnished properties will usually have nothing although they may have a built-in kitchen, in some cases built-in wardrobes and necessary electro domestics.

Semi-furnished properties will have kitchen furniture, beds, maybe table and chairs, a wardrobes plus electro domestics.

Fully furnished property will be fully equipped for living.

What sort of flexibility will I have to negotiate rent or furnishings?

Some flexibility does exist but this depends on the Landlord in question, and any additional furnishings included in the property will lead to raise in rental fee.

How many properties will I be shown?

This depends on the Relocation Package you have selected: HTLC Network Basic Package includes 8 properties and the Standard Package includes 15 properties. You will be told at the outset how many properties you will be shown or how much time you have available to do the house hunting. The properties provided will be as close to your ‘Needs Analysis’ description as possible according to what is available on the market at the time.

How can I secure a property that I choose?

Once a property has been identified, negotiation takes place and a contract is drawn up. It is not common practice to make a pre-lease agreement.

What costs are involved in renting a property?

– There is a Real Estate Agency fee which is one month rent or 10% total rental fee.
– A security deposit is not usually required.
– First rental payment which will be annual payment.

What other expenses should I expect to pay?

Utilities are charged according to consumption.
In compounds, a service or condo charge will be added to rental fee to cover services such as generator, maintenance of common area, security etc.

What is the process flow to rent a property?

Once a suitable property is identified, the lease contract is drawn up by a lawyer, negotiated and is signed by both parties. Payment is made.

What responsibility do I have as a tenant towards maintenance of the property?

Generally the landlord is responsible for the outdoor maintenance, while the tenant is responsible for indoor maintenance. Gardening is the responsibility of the tenant unless otherwise agreed. In gated complexes the landlord usually takes care of gardening.

Major indoor repairs and maintenance are covered by the landlord. The tenant ‘s responsibilities are to see that the interior is kept to a similar standard as when the property was rented out.

What chance do I have of receiving my full deposit back when I leave the property?

Landlord is responsible for major maintenance and usually for all external maintenance. It will be specified in the lease contract what is the responsibility of the tenant.

What if I need to terminate the lease early?

It is not usually possible to include a break clause and it is not likely that any monies paid up front would be refunded should the tenant have to vacate early.

SIERRA LEONE FAQ - Utilities
What utility expenses will I have to pay?

All Utilities are to be paid by the tenant according to consumption: Electricity, Water and additional services such as Internet, Satellite TV and landline telephone calls. Gas is available bottled only.

How are these accounts charged?

Utility Accounts usually remain in the name of the landlord :

Electricity bills arrive to the address of the property or PO Box on a monthly basis if the supply is metered. It is becoming more common to pre-pay for electricity through a pre-payment system in which payment is made a certain number of units purchased.

Bills for water arrive to the property and are to be paid on a monthly basis- They can either remain in the name of the landlord or be changed into the name of the tenant. They are paid by bank transfer or cheque to the supplier.

Will I be able to get Satellite TV?

Yes, this is available.

What documents do I need to install a Telephone Line?

The landlord and tenant are to report to the relevant office to change the name of the telephone contract. Sometimes rental contract is required as well as ID of the individual concerned.

How long will I have to wait for my telephone?

Usually changes are made within 2 weeks of the request being submitted but delays are not uncommon.

How will I be billed?

Bills arrive monthly to the property address and can be paid by bank transfer or by cheque made out to the supplier.

SIERRA LEONE FAQ - Driving
Is my licence valid in Sierra Leone?

Foreigners require an International license, this can be used for 6 months and thereafter a local license must be obtained.

For how long can I drive my own car in Sierra Leone?

A foreign vehicle can be imported through customs. Foreign plates can be used for up to a month after arrival into the country.

Can I buy a car?

A foreigner can purchase a vehicle provided he has valid immigration documents.

SIERRA LEONE FAQ - Safety concerns
How can I ensure the security of my family?

24 hour security is advisable – this generally must be sourced by the tennant
General safety precautions should be taken.

Are there any precautions a foreigner must take?

General precautions such as not entering certain areas of the city and being aware not to make an open display of wealth due to petty theft and crime.

SIERRA LEONE FAQ - Health concerns
Do I have to be vaccinated before arriving to Sierra Leone?

We advise you to check with your embassy before embarking on travel as requirements do vary from time to time; malaria prevention should be taken.

Are there any particular health risks in Sierra Leone?

Please check with your embassy.

SIERRA LEONE FAQ - About HTLC Network
Why should I choose HTLC Network?

– Extensive rapidly growing client list.
– Exclusive partner/representative of many Global Relocation Service Providers.
– Exclusive representative of many International Law and Immigration Firms.
– Quality control guarantee: Head Office directs all relocations and immigrations in every destination.
– All staff required to attend on-going training sessions and workshops to keep updated as to global mobility needs.
– No language barriers – Assistance provided in all major European languages and many others.
– Corporate consultation with HTLC Network’s’ Representatives at location of choice.
– HTLC Network own ‘Resource Guides’ providing a wealth of everyday information for expatlife in destination city.
– Comprehensive FAQs for each country serviced.
– Red Alert List to prepare for the specific challenges of each destination.
– Extra ‘Safety’ section in Resource Guides for countries posing specific security threats.
– 24-hour Emergency Helpline for Transferees throughout the duration of the relocation.
– Complimentary 3-month Helpline.

SIERRA LEONE FAQ - For corporate
How does HTLC Network assist with Immigration?

HTLC Network will prepare all the necessary paperwork, email it to the Company and direct as to how the various documents are to be printed out and signed. We will send one of our Local Counsellors with Power of Attorney to act on behalf of the individual and company.

When the Transferee has to be present to apply for a document, he will be accompanied by our Local Counsellor.

What time scale should be allowed to process Work Permit applications?

When all paper work has been prepared, approved and signed by the relevant companies, it can take 6-8 weeks during which time Italian law states that the expatriate must not be in Italy.

How can we determine a realistic Housing Budget for Transferees?

During HTLC Network’ initial teleconference with the client we go through an in-depth ‘Needs Analysis’ which can include Housing Budget variables for the Destination City. HTLC Network will work with the Company to ensure the workforce locate properties of a suitable standard within the parameters set by corporate policy.

Can the contract be signed in the name of a foreign company?

Legally, yes, as long as it can be proved that the individual who signs the contract has the legal right to sign as a representative of the Company. Many landlords however, will not accept this as it is harder to take a foreign Company to court should there be any missing rent payments or problems. As landlord’s rarely accept a foreign Company signing the lease, it is usually signed by the local company that is VAT registered in locally.

HTLC Network will prepare the contract in the name of a legal representative of the Company. We require full data of the individual, a photocopy of his/her passport ID pages and a photocopy of the Company’ s document demonstrating position within the Company.

The prepared contract will be emailed to the appropriate Company contact and instructions will be given on how it is to be printed out and signed. Once signed, one of HTLC Network’ Local Counsellors will collect the contract and deliver it to the real estate agent for the signature of the landlord. A signed copy will be returned to the Company whilst the three copies of the contract are being registered, thereafter a registered copy will be delivered.

Arrangements will be made to take a thorough inventory in the presence of the tenant and landlord.

Is it necessary for the Transferee to be present to apply for documents?

For the presentation of document application, it varies from city to city. Wherever possible HTLC Network will prepare power of attorney in order for a Local Counsellor to act on behalf of the Transferee and family.

To release the obtained documents, the Transferee and other members of the family must be present as an original signature is required.

How can we guarantee all Transferees will receive the same standard of service? (staff relocating to main cities versus more rural areas)

All Local Counsellors are really ‘local’ to the area where they assist Transferees. They are selected for their good knowledge of their city area.

All Local Counsellors are trained by HTLC Network to follow our set pattern of delivering services using an in-house ‘Training and Operations Manual’.

All Local Counsellors are closely directed by Office Coordinators, ensuring a consistent standard of service is delivered.

How does HTLC Network handle Group Moves?

All relocations are handled by the same system of centralisation. When required, we arrange for a member of our office team to go to the location of a group move to be an in-house Coordinator, working from the Client Company’s premises as a point of reference for HR, Transferees and their families.

In main centres we have several Local Counsellors.

What ongoing support is provided for Transferees and families?

HTLC Network aims to equip your workforce to settle into their new environment as soon as possible. Upon arrival they are presented with a local Information Pack. They are given access to our on-line City Specific Resource Guides that provide general local information as well as specific local information once a suitable property has been located.

We have a 24hour emergency helpline throughout the duration of the relocation. We provide a 90 day complimentary phone line that can be extended throughout the duration of the assignment.

Our aim is to teach the Transferee how to live in his new city and to equip him to be as independent as possible.

Geography

Area: 71,740 sq km
Time Zone: UTC
Capital city: Freetown
Bordering countries: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)

Government

Stateform: Republic of Sierra Leone
Legislative Branch:
Unicameral Parliament
National Holiday:
Independence Day 27 April (1961)
Currency: Leone (SLL)

Population

Ethnic Groups: Temne 35%, Mende 31%, Limba 8%, Kono 5%, Kriole 2% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century; also known as Krio), Mandingo 2%, Loko 2%, other 15% (includes refugees from Liberia’s recent civil war, and small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians) (2008 census)
Religion: Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%
Languages: English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%).