Kazakhstan: New Law Restructures Work Permit System, Eases Recruitment Requirements
The new law streamlines the work permit system and reduces recruitment requirements for sponsoring employers in Kazakhstan, but also increases the document requirements for work permit applications.
A new Kazakh law streamlines the country’s work permit system to provide employers with more clearly defined sponsorship options and redefine how foreign workers are categorized for the quota system. The law also removes labor market test requirements for sponsoring employers, though additional supporting documentation is now required. The new law will take effect March 12, 2012.
Work permits are now divided into more clearly defined classes, with one set aside for local hires and another for intracompany transferees. A third class will allow foreign specialists to enter and search for a job in their profession, though officials have not clarified how this category will operate in practice. The legislation also redefines how occupations are categorized under the quota system. The full impact of the change is not yet known, but some occupations, notably department chiefs, could benefit from a higher quota.
As a general rule, employers are no longer required to conduct labor market tests before applying for a work permit, though there may be some cases in which the government could require local recruitment. Previously, sponsoring employers had to advertise a foreign worker’s proposed position in a local newspaper and explain why local applicants were denied the position.
The law also makes changes to the special conditions that apply to most work permits. Most notably, employers will no longer have to replace a foreign worker with a local worker after a work permit expires. Most work permits will continue to be subject to conditions requiring employers to train local workers.
The law also introduces new supporting document requirements for work permit applications. Officials have yet to specify the documents that will be required, though they have stated that medical and criminal clearance and health insurance certificates will be required beginning March 12.
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