What is the change? Kazakhstan has announced several amendments to changes in work permit procedures that took effect Jan. 1.

What does the change mean? The amendments affect companies applying for general work permits and intracompany transfer permits. Under the amendments, several of the changes introduced in January have been relaxed or canceledForeign nationals heading company branches and representative offices will remain exempt from having to obtain work permits.

  • Implementation time frame: Jan. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits under the general scheme and under the intracompany transfer scheme.
  • Who is affected: Companies employing or assigning foreign nationals in Kazakhstan.
  • Impact on processing times: There is no change to the new processing time of seven business days, as implemented in January.

Background: In December, Kazakhstan announced several changes to work permit procedures, which took effect Jan. 1. Authorities have now made the following amendments to the changes:

Work permits

  • The list of occupations that are exempt from work permits has been released. As expected, primary heads of a local branch or representative office of a foreign company will remain exempt. Additionally, branch and representative offices of a foreign company are exempt from meeting foreign-to-local worker ratios if the number of employees is 30 or fewer.

Intra-corporate transfers (ICTs):

  • The government has confirmed a list of 21 economic sectors allowing ICTs.
  • Employers must conduct a search for local employees within at least 15 days of applying for a work permit. Work permit applications must be submitted no later than 60 days after the workforce demand is submitted.
  • Authorities have canceled a requirement that employment agencies publish workforce demands in print and on their websites.
  • Authorities have also canceled a requirement that employees demonstrate elementary Kazakh language abilities.

Other changes

  • Those applying for work permit extensions now have up to 30 days from expiration of their existing permit to apply for an extension.
  • Workers whose names or passport details have changed now have 30 business days to apply for reissuance of their work permit.
  • The government has canceled a rule requiring employers to notify authorities before foreign employees make business trips to other regions of Kazakhstan.
  • Another requirement has been canceled that required employers to obtain a written statement from employees that they will comply with Kazakh immigration and labor laws.

BAL Analysis: The amendments provide additional flexibility for employers and foreign nationals applying for work permits and ICT work permits.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Kazakhstan. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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