World Monitor Magazine WM_KIOGE 2018_Web - Page 30

EXPERT OPINION Employment of foreigners in Kazakhstan – key issues for foreign investors Like in many countries, employers in Kazakhstan need to obtain a permit to employ a foreign worker. Almira Abraimova, Senior Manager at People Advisory Services, Tax & Law Department, EY Kazakhstan Depending on the scheme of engaging foreign labor, to protect domestic labor, Kazakhstan has adopted different measures regarding em- ployment arrangements with foreigners, which include: • regional and industry employment quotas. • state duties or ne wly issued and extended work permits. • specific requirements for employers, such as the creation of new jobs and training pro- grams for local citizens in exchange for work permits for foreign employees. • qualification requirements for foreigners de- pending on their occupation or role. • employment ratios of foreign workers in a company by level (so-called local content re- quirement). The local content requirement for staff often becomes the most significant barrier for em- ployers applying for permits. According to the generally established proce- dure (excluding intra-company transfers men- tioned later), work permits are issued for the following categories of foreign workers: • Category 1 – CEOs and deputy CEOs of companies • Category 2 – Leaders of business divi- sions/departments • Category 3 – Professionals • Category 4 – Qualified workers Permits are generally granted subject to the following conditions: • Kazakhstani nationals should account for at least 70% of all employees falling within Categories 1 and 2. 28 world monitor • Kazakhstani nationals should account for at least 90% of all employees falling within Categories 3 and 4. There is, however, an exception to this rule for foreign investors operating in Kazakhstan through a branch or representative office that employs up to thirty (30) workers. Despite these measures, there is quite a bit of flexibility in hiring foreign workers in Kazakh- stan. Unlike many countries where employers are required to sign employment contracts with foreign nationals to hire them as local em- ployees, Kazakhstan offers different options, including the following: • employing a foreigner directly as a local em- ployee. • transferring a foreigner to a local branch office/representative office/subsidiaryfrom the parent company established in a mem- ber country of the World Trade Organization (intra-copany transfers/ICT). • engage foreign specialists through a service contract with a foreign contractor not pres- ent in Kazakhstan (including secondment arrangements that are common around the world). In addition, there are opportunities for foreign nationals, with highly sought-after qualifica- tions in key industries, to come to Kazakhstan on their own and take a local job. For that to happen, they need a local certificate prov- ing their qualifications are suitable to directly engage in employment. To obtain such a cer- tificate while abroad, a foreign worker should apply to Kazakhstan’s foreign mission in their