Despite last week’s announcement that heads of branches and representative offices of foreign entities in Kazakhstan will no longer be exempt from the Work Permit requirement, the government has decided to retract this announcement and the exemption will remain.
Nationals of 39 countries will become eligible for a new business and tourist visa exemption for stays of up to 30 days on or after January 1, 2017, after the Government Resolution is signed by the Prime Minister.
Nationals of the following countries will be eligible for the exemption:
On or after January 1, 2017, Work Permit and Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Work Permit applicants will be subject to a simplified work authorisation process, including the removal of the labour market test and bank deposit requirements, among other simplifications. However, heads of branches and representative offices of foreign entities in Kazakhstan will no longer be exempt from the Work Permit requirement, and it is unclear whether a grace period will be introduced for those who will now require a Work Permit.
On or after January 1, 2017, companies in the oil and gas, financial, consulting and other sectors will be subject to a work permit fee.
Companies hiring intra-company transferees in any sector will be exempt from paying the work permit fee but will still be subject to special conditions if hiring foreign nationals.
Employers will no longer be able to expand the coverage area of their work permits from the original region to two or more cities or regions, due to the approval of recently-announced Work Permit rules changes. The amended rules are expected to be published and effective in the next few weeks.
Once the rules are effective, foreign workers will not be able to remain in a region other than the one under which their work permit was granted for more than 90 days. Although this restriction is not meant to apply to time spent in other regions for personal reasons, authorities reserve the discretion to track such trips.
What This Means for Foreign Nationals
Because nationwide work permits are not an available option, employers planning to send employees to work in multiple cities or regions are advised to consult with their immigration professional about the best course of action on a case-by-case basis.