Kazakhstan: New Work Permit Rules: Step Forward Or Step Back?

Work Permit Rules have been under discussion for a long time, and their publication on October 6 in the electronic data base was not a surprise. However, what was a surprise is that apparently they were adopted by the Order of the acting RK Minister of Healthcare and Social Protection No. 559 on 27 June 2016. It is not clear why the Rules have remained unpublished for so long. We can only guess that the reason could be  the fact that the recent legislative change shifting authority to adopt such rules from the Government to the Ministry will enter into force only on 1 January 2017. It is yet to be seen how exactly the authorities will justify this discrepancy.

The new work permit rules1 (New Work Permit Rules) will become effective starting from 1 January 2017.

The New Work Permit Rules envisage two types of work permits to be issued to employers:

  • Work permit for attracting foreign labor force (i.e. so-called 'general regime'); and
  • Work permit for employment under "inter-corporate transfer."

Self-employment of foreign nationals will be regulated by separate rules.

Major features of the New Work Permit Rules

1. Unlike the currently effective rules, the New Work Permit Rules do not contain a list of exemptions. Such list is provided by the law2 which will provide for a substantially revised list of exemptions (New List of Exemptions), compared to the one provided under the currently effective rules. For instance, and most importantly, the New List of Exemptions will not include, inter alia, heads of branches and representative offices of foreign legal entities.

Since the New Work Permit Rules do not envisage a transition period, it is not clear whether currently employed heads of branches and representative offices of foreign legal entities who are not nationals of Kazakhstan and the Eurasian Economic Union should receive work permits immediately once the New Work Permit Rules will come into effect.

2. Ratio of local personnel3 against foreign personnel as provided under the currently effective rules will remain the same. In particular, the following ratio will apply:

  • Ratio applicable to foreign employees attracted under 'general regime' is 70% of local personnel for the 1st and the 2nd categories, and 90% for the 3rd and the 4th categories.
  • In case of inter-corporate transfer, foreign managers and specialists may not exceed 50% of the local personnel of the same level.

In other words, the New Work Permit Rules do not require hiring more local personnel than required under the currently effective rules.

An important helpful change for the purposes of calculating the ratio is that the New Work Permit Rules expressly provide that nationals of state-members of the Eurasian Economic Union (i.e. Russia, Belorussia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan) will not be counted as foreign employees for the purpose of calculating the local content in personnel. This means that nationals of these states will be counted as Kazakh nationals for the purposes of the ratio calculation.

Work permits to be issued under 'general regime'

The most significant amendments introduced by the Work Permit Rules into the 'general regime' include:

  • Introduction of new state fee for issuance and (or) extension of work permits. Amount of new state fee will vary depending on type of economic activity (by industries) and category of foreign employees (ranging from approximately US$154 to US$1,500).
  • Abolishing the requirement to make a guarantee fee deposit to ensure departure of a foreign employee upon expiration of relevant work permit.
  • Abolishing special conditions that currently could be imposed on an employer attracting foreign labor force as conditions for obtaining a work permit (e.g. training of local personnel, creation of vacancies, etc.).
  • Abolishment the requirement to conduct a search for candidates on the internal market prior to the application for issuance of a work permit.
  • Change of the term of a work permit for the 1st category (directors and deputy directors). Now the maximum term of a work permit will be decreased from three years to 12 months with possible extensions.
  • Change of the term of a work permit for the 2nd and 3rd categories (medium level managers and specialists). The maximum number of extensions of work permits for these categories of foreign employees will increase from two to three extensions.
  • Change of the term for issuance of work permits. The competent authority will have seven business days (but not 15 as provided under the currently effective rules) for making a decision to issue or refuse a work permit.

Work permits to be issued for inter-corporate transfer

The most significant amendments introduced by the New Work Permit Rules in relation to the procedure of issuance of work permits for inter-corporate transfer include:

  • Introduction of a new condition for issuance of work permits of this category i.e. exam on knowledge of the state (i.e. Kazakh) language. A foreign employee will be required to pass an exam on knowledge of Kazakh language at elementary level to be certified by the local competent authority.
  • Clarification of the procedure for  searching for candidates on the internal market. This requirement (to conduct search) will be effective until 1 January 2021.
  • Possibility to provide a letter or an agreement on inter-corporate transfer (instead of a labor agreement) to the competent authority for the purpose of determining the term of a work permit.

There are some other changes envisaged in the New Work Permit Rules. The New Work Permit Rules contain a number of discrepancies/inconsistencies and ambiguities vis-ŕ-vis other legal acts. Thus, further collaboration with the RK Government/competent authority on rectification of such discrepancies/inconsistencies is needed.

Dentons will actively participate in bringing the problematic issues of the New Work Permit Rules to the attention of the Government with the aim of adopting the necessary amendments and clarifications.  We will keep you posted on the progress.


1. Rules and Conditions of Issue and (or) Extension of Permits to Employer for Attraction of Foreign Labor Force as well as Inter-Corporate Transfer.

2. RK Law on Occupancy of Population dated 6 April 2016 effective as of 1 January 2017.

3. Reference is made to nationals of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways. Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons' global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national and global needs of private and public clients of any size in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries. www.dentons.com.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
6 Dec 2017, Webinar, New York, United States

Join Dentons for a complimentary webinar focused on the ongoing challenge of integrating new technologies into existing information governance policies and risk management frameworks.

7 Dec 2017, Seminar, Cape Town, South Africa

Dentons South Africa would be delighted if you could join us for our upcoming event.

8 Dec 2017, Seminar, Johannesburg, South Africa

Dentons South Africa would be delighted if you could join us for our upcoming event.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.