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 It is not clear why the Rules have remained unpublished for so long.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-à-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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Michael Wilson & Partners
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”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Michael Wilson & Partners
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions