In the issues of international assignments for foreigners, Kazakhstan requires a work permit and a Kazakhstan visa. However, in terms of signing of the agreement on EEU, the rules extended the number of countries (members of EEU), citizens of which will not need work permits in order to work in Kazakhstan. In particular, previously the rules did not apply to citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia.
Issuance of work permits is based on the following categories of employees:
- CEO and deputies only.
- Heads of structural units who meet qualification requirements set by the Qualification Handbook.
- Specialists who meet qualification requirements set by the Qualification Handbook.
- Skilled workers who meet qualification requirements set by the Unified Rating and Skills Guide for Jobs and Occupation of Manual Workers.
Effective from 28 April 2018, Kazakhstan Legal Entities with 100% foreign ownership are not require to apply for work permits for foreign individuals acting as CEO or deputies.
Foreign workers are eligible to independently file for a work permit if their profession is in the List of Professions Allowed for Independent Employment in Kazakhstan. In general, work permits are issued within the quota for:
- CEO and deputies: For up to three years; however, extensions are allowed for another one, two, or three years.
- Other specialists: For up to one year; however, an extension is allowed three times; overall term is four years.
From 1 January 2017, new work permit rules bring the following significant amendments:
- Performance of special conditions shall not apply with respect to employees of the first category, i.e. management and their deputies. Special conditions shall not also apply in relation to obtaining, re-issuance, and extension of work permits for companies participating in implementation of the projects of Industrialisation Map for 2015-2019 and certain of their contractors.
- Work permits shall not be issued for two or more administrative regions. However, as a compensational measure, the rules extend the possibility for expatriate employees to travel to other Kazakhstan regions with no special permission from 60 to 90 calendar days cumulatively during a calendar year. In case an expatriate employee travels to another region, the company should notify the state authorities of both administrative regions (region of stay/registration and region of arrival) on such travelling.
- The state authorities can refuse to issue a work permit if the employee does not meet the level of education and practical experience requirements stipulated in the Unified Qualification Handbook approved by the government.
- Companies signing employment contracts with foreign employees should include therein provisions on compliance with Kazakhstan immigration and labour legislation.
- There are additions to the list of professions (specialities) for self-employed foreign employees. Positions of database administrator (IT), system analyst, and specialist on the creation of digital technology are included.
A visa usually costs USD 200 consular fee. It typically takes up to 10 days to obtain a visa after application in the nearest country with a Kazakhstan embassy or consulate. When obtaining a visa through a Kazakh embassy or consulate, an invitation from a host organisation in Kazakhstan, two passport photos, and the completed application form are usually required.
Citizens of the following countries during the period from 16 July 2015 through 31 December 2018 can enter into Kazakhstan and exit from Kazakhstan without a visa if the period of their stay in Kazakhstan does not exceed 30 calendar days from the date of crossing the state boundaries of Kazakhstan:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- Republic of Korea
- Slovak Republic
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States