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The Ultimate Guide To
Employment in Kazakhstan

Employing in Kazakhstan: What You Need to Know

In Kazakhstan, labor relations are regulated by the regulatory legal instruments, individual contract of employment and, if one exists, a collective labor agreement. The labor laws and regulations of the Republic of Kazakhstan are based on the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan and include the Labor Law and other legal instruments, which regulate labor relations of some separate categories of the employees. The major sources of labor legislation are laws adopted by the Parliament, and technical acts, passed by the governmental agencies. According to Article 3 of the Labor Law of Kazakhstan, the labor law regulations in Kazakhstan are applicable to all workers who have entered into employment relations with employers. The most important source of Labor Law is the Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan of 15 May 2007 No. 251 "Kazakhstan Pravda" of 22 May 2007 No. 76 (25321). There are also a number of other legal acts, which regulate the labor and industrial relations, not covered by the Labor Law, such as:

  • The Law on Collective Labor Disputes and Strikes (July 8, 1996);
  • The Law on Collective Agreements (July 4, 1992);
  • The Law on the Occupation of the Population (1998);
  • The Edict on Approving a Position on Qualification Classes of State Employees (July 12, 1996);
  • The Law on Employment of Population (January 23, 2001);
  • The Law on State Service (July 23, 1999).

Key Factors to Consider When Employing in Kazakhstan

There are several key areas to be aware of within the Kazakhstan employment regulatory framework, especially for companies that plan to initiate a full local office and human resources department.  These challenges can be mitigated by use of a locally sourced payroll provider who is familiar with all of the local laws and rules for both local employees as well as foreign nationals.

Employee Entitlements

Information Explanation
Working on Sundays ?

With a five-day working week, employees shall be granted two days off per week, while with a six day working week, they shall have one day off.

Sunday shall be a day off common to both a five-day and a six-day working week. The second day off with a five-day working week shall be established by an act of the employer or the shift timetable. Both days off shall be consecutive, unless otherwise established in the collective bargaining agreement and employment contract.

Disclosure and Confidentiality of Personal Information ?

Personal data of the employee consists of information about the employee required on the initiation, continuation and termination of labour relations. Processing of personal data of the employee shall mean receipt, storage and transmission of the personal data of the employee.

During processing of personal data of the employee, the employer shall observe the following requirements: 1) processing of personal data of the employee shall be carried out for the purpose of ensuring observance of the laws and other regulatory and legal acts, assisting employees in job placement, training and career advancement, and ensuring personal protection of employees; 2) the volume and the content of the employee’s personal data processed shall be determined in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, this Code and other laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan; 3) personal data shall be supplied personally by the employee; 4) the employer shall not have the right to demand from the employee information on his political, religious or other convictions or his private life; 5) the employer shall not have the right to demand from the employee information on his membership or activities in public associations, including trades unions; 6) in adopting decision affecting the interests of the employee, the employer shall not have the right to proceed from personal data of the employee received as a result of their automated or electronic processing; 7) protection of personal data of the employee shall be ensured by the employer in the manner established by the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In transmitting personal data of the employee, the employer shall observe the following requirements: 1) not to communicate personal data of the employee to a third party without the written consent of the employee; 2) to allow access to personal data of employees only to specially authorised persons. The given persons shall, moreover, have the right to receive only the personal data of the employee required for fulfilment of specific functions, and shall observe the regime of confidentiality; 3) to transmit personal data of the employee within the organisation in accordance with an act of the employer, with which the employee shall be acquainted. 2. Persons to whom personal data of the employee are transmitted shall use them exclusively for the purpose for which they are communicated and shall not have the right to transmit them to third parties, with the exception of cases established by the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Employee Protection and Anti-discrimination Rights ?

The state guarantees its citizens, in the sphere of population employment, protection against any forms of discrimination and provision of equal opportunities to gain a profession and a job.

The principles of the labour legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan includes the prohibition of discrimination, forced labour and the worst forms of child labour.

According to the Labor Code, everyone have equal opportunities to exercise their rights and freedoms in the sphere of labour.

No-one may be subjected to any discrimination in exercising their labour rights depending on sex, age, physical disabilities, race, nationality, language, material, social or official position, place of residence, attitude to religion, political convictions, tribe or social stratum or membership of public associations.

Discrimination shall not include differences, exceptions, preferences and restrictions determined by requirements inherent in the nature of the work or dictated by the state’s concern for people in need of increased social and legal protection.

Persons who believe they have been subject to discrimination in the sphere of labour shall have the right to enter a lawsuit in a court or other instance in the manner established by the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Time Off Work ?

Employees shall be granted annual paid leave of twenty four calendar days, unless a greater number of days in envisaged by other regulatory and legal acts, the employment contract, collective bargaining agreement or acts of the employer.

Additional annual paid leave shall be granted:

1) to employees engaged in heavy work, work under harmful (particularly harmful) and (or) hazardous working conditions, the duration of which shall be at least six calendar days;

2) group one and two disabled, with a duration of at least fifteen calendar days.

For other categories of employees, provision of additional annual paid leave and its minimum duration may be established by the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements may establish for employees additional annual paid leave of an incentive nature for long, continuous work service, performance of important, complex and urgent work, as well as work of another nature.

The duration of annual paid leave shall be calculated in calendar days, not counting official holidays falling during the leave period, irrespective of the work regime and timetable.

In calculating the total duration of annual paid leave, additional annual paid leave shall be added to the basic annual paid leave. The total duration of annual paid leave shall not, moreover, be restricted by any maximum limit.

Medical Leave ?

Sick leave is calculated on the basis of the average monthly remuneration rate. The amount of sick leave allowance is computed at the average wage rate, but the maximum required payment is 10 monthly payment indicators, or 8,230 KZT or approximately USD 54.

Employment Termination in Kazakhstan

Information Explanation
Resignation / End of Service Payment ?

1The employee shall have the right to cancel the employment contract on his own initiative by giving the employer at least one month’s written notice to this effect, with the exception of the cases envisaged by clause 4 of this article.

On agreement between the employee and the employer, the employment contract may be cancelled before expiry of the notice period envisaged by clause 1 of this article.

The employee shall serve written notice on the employer of cancellation of the employment contract at the time indicated in the application in cases when the employment contract is cancelled owing to impossibility of continuing work.

The employee shall have the right to notify the employer in writing of non-performance by the employer of the terms and conditions of the employment contract. In the event that, on expiry of a period of seven days, non-performance by the employer of the terms and conditions of the employment contract continues, the employee shall have the right to cancel the employment contract by serving at least three working days’ written notice on the employer.

During the notice period envisaged by this article, the employee shall have the right to revoke, in writing, its application for cancellation of the employment contract.

On expiry of the notice period indicated in this article, the employee shall have the right to cease work, while the employer shall issue to the employee the documents associated with his labour activities and any payments due thereto.

For individual categories of employees, this Code envisages a special procedure for cancelling the employment contract on the initiative of the employee.

Severance / Redundancy Pay ?

An employer has a right to annul a contract in case of company liquidation or a staff reduction. He has to notify an employee in writing at least one month in advance prior to the contract annulment. A one-time compensation equivalent to the monthly wage is to be paid to the employee.

Termination of Employment ?

The employer shall, on the grounds envisaged by subclauses 1) and 2), clause 1, article 54 of the Labor Code, serve at least one month’s written notice on the employee of cancellation of the employment contract, unless the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement envisaged a longer notice period. With the written consent of the employee, the employment contract may be cancelled before expiry of the notice period.

Using Shield GEO EOR Services: How We Can Help You

Compliance with local employment requirements is just one of the issues foreign companies face when employing staff in Kazakhstan. For companies, which intend to employ their staff directly through their incorporated Kazakhstan entity, professional legal advice is recommended. Shield GEO provides an alternative path for companies to outsource the employment of their staff in Kazakhstan.

As a Global Employer Organization (GEO), Shield GEO acts as the Employer of Record and ensures the employment is compliant with host country regulations regarding employment. In addition Shield GEO will handle payroll processing, tax and immigration. Using Shield GEO is the fastest and most cost effective way to deploy local and foreign workers into Kazakhstan.

The Shield GEO solution is an attractive alternative where

– the company is looking to employ staff quickly

– the company doesn’t have an appropriately incorporated entity in Kazakhstan

– the company wants to work within a defined budget

– the company wants to limit its initial commitment in Kazakhstan

– the company needs help with tax, employment, immigration and payroll compliance in Kazakhstan

Shield GEO can contract directly with the company to employ and payroll their staff in Kazakhstan. Shield GEO supplies local employment contracts for the staff which ensure that local statutory requirements are met covering issues such as termination, probation periods, leave entitlements and statutory benefits.  Shield GEO is able to advise companies how to cover local employment regulations whilst still providing consistent global employment policies. Understand more about outsourced employment through Shield GEO.

A GEO EOR Solution vs DIY Employment in Kazakhstan

GEO Solutions or DIY Employment

Companies entering Kazakhstan must make a decision whether to use their own resources for a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach, or to use a Global Employment Organization to handle payroll and employment responsibilities.  A GEO or Kazakhstan Employer of Record solution makes it faster, easier and cheaper to deploy staff if they don’t have a Kazakhstan entity established that can run payroll.

A DIY approach will typically take 6-9 months until there is a properly incorporated WFOE ready to run payroll and cost up to 6 figures if registered capital is required. Shield GEO can deploy foreign staff in 4-6 weeks and local staff in 48 hours. Additionally, Shield GEO is responsible for all compliance issues related to the employment.

Using Shield GEO Employer of Record Services in Kazakhstan

Payroll

Payroll Kazakhstan
Management Fee for Employer of Record Services / Monthly Payroll Costs

Please contact us for a quote

Notes

Shield GEO pays the employee on a monthly basis, typically on the last working day of the month although we can adapt to your preferred schedule. Income tax and social security (where applicable) are deducted at source and paid to the local tax authorities.

Currency ?

KZT (Approx. 0.0028 USD)

Tax Returns Supplied

Yes

Payroll and Tax in Kazakhstan

In 2015 Kazakhstan made paying taxes more complicated for companies by introducing a mandatory contribution to the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs and by increasing the vehicle and environmental taxes.

Your Payroll Options in Kazakhstan

Information Explanation
Remote Payroll ?

A remote payroll system is where a foreign company, i.e. a non-resident company, payrolls a resident employee in Kazakhstan. Under Kazakhstan Law, companies registered in other countries are allowed to obtain a license to do business and have employees in the country.

Local Payroll Administration ?

In some cases, a company will register their business in Kazakhstan under one of the forms available: Limited liability partnerships (LLP), joint stock companies (JSC), and branches of foreign legal entities; but prefer to have another company administering its payroll.  This can be accomplished through a payroll provider. It is important to note that the company, as the Employer of Record, is still fully responsible for compliance with employment, immigration, tax and payroll regulations. But the payroll calculations, payments and filings can all be outsourced to the payroll provider.

Internal Payroll ?

Larger companies with a commitment to Kazakhstan may wish to run their own local payroll for all employees, foreign and local. In order to accomplish this, they will have to complete incorporation, register the business and then hire the necessary staff.  There will be a need for in country human resources personnel who have the background needed to manage a Kazakhstan payroll, and can fulfil all tax, withholding, and payroll requirements.

This approach carries significant cost and requires some knowledge of local employment and payroll regulations. The company will need a local accounting firm and potentially legal counsel to ensure full compliance with Kazakh employment laws.

Fully Outsourced Payroll & Employment ?

Companies can outsource the employment and payroll of their staff in Kazakhstan to a GEO, like Shield GEO. This is possible for both foreign workers and Kazakh nationals. This is the easiest, fastest and safest way to payroll staff in Kazakhstan.

Shield GEO manages all aspects of payroll for workers in Kazakhstan, including taxes, withholding, social security payments and other statutory requirements. Shield GEO becomes the Employer of Record and employs the staff on behalf of the client.

Staff are paid monthly with tax and social security deducted at source and paid to local authorities. Shield GEO will invoice the client monthly in advance of the payroll date. The invoice consists of the Total Cost of Employment (Base salary + Employers Statutory Contributions + Additional statutory contributions) and a Management Fee. Shield GEO provides the employees with payslips.

Read more about outsourced payroll and employment through Shield GEO.

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Setting up payroll in Kazakhstan

Information Explanation
National Currency ?

KZT (Approx. 0.0028 USD)

Tax Registration Requirements ?

Fulfilment of the tax liability shall be performed by the taxpayer independently, unless it is established otherwise by the Tax Code.

In fulfilment of the tax liability the taxpayer shall perform the following acts:

1) register with the tax authority;

2) keep records of taxable items and (or) items related to taxation;

3) calculate, proceeding from taxable items and items related to taxation, the tax base and tax rates, amounts of taxes and other obligatory payments, which are payable to the budget, as well as advance and current payments thereof;

4) make and present, except for tax registers, tax forms to the tax authorities in accordance with the established procedure;

5) pay calculated and assessed amounts of taxes and other obligatory payments to the budget, advance and current payments in respect of taxes and other obligatory payments to the budget in accordance with special part of this Code.

In payment of taxes, other obligatory payments to the budget, social assessments, transfer of obligatory pension contributions, obligatory professional pension contributions by a taxpayer’s authorised representative in cases established by this Code, the remitter of money shall specify in the payment documents the surname, name, patronymic (if any) or the official name of the taxpayer and its identification number.

Documentation Required for New Employees ?

For conclusion of an employment contract, the following documents are required:

1) identity document or passport (birth certificate for persons under the age of sixteen years);

2) residence permit or stateless person’s certificate (for foreigners and stateless persons permanently resident on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan);

3) document certifying education, qualifications, possession of special knowledge or occupational training on conclusion of an employment contract for work requiring corresponding knowledge, abilities and skills;

4) document confirming labour activities (for persons with a service record);

5) military registration document (for people liable for military services and subject to conscription for military service);

6) document on preliminary medical fitness certification (for persons required to undergo medical fitness certification in accordance with the Labor Code and the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan);

7) copies of allocation of a taxpayer registration number and individual social code.

Tax Figures

Information Explanation
Corporate Income Tax ?

20% on taxable profits

Income Tax Rate ?
Grossed income Tax Rate (%)

 

IIT deduction from payment source is made for: employee’s income; income of an individual from a tax agent; pension payment from saving pension funds; dividend, fees, winnings; scholarships; income under saving insurance contracts.

Assessment and payment of tax from self-declared income (property and other income, individual entrepreneur’s income) is performed by a taxpayer on its own.

Tax deductions (reduced tax base): standard tax deductions: minimum salary; property-related tax deductions: repayment of loan benefits received in the housing construction savings banks to carry out activities to improve living conditions; social tax deductions: sums of obligatory pension taxes, medical service costs, insurance premium costs.

Sales Tax ?

VAT: 12%

Withholding Tax ?

Dividends, capital gains, interest, royalties 15%;

Any income of an entity registered in a tax haven jurisdiction 20%;

Insurance premiums under risk insurance agreements 15%;

Income from international transportation services; insurance premiums under risk reinsurance agreements 5%.

Other Tax ?

Social Tax: 11%, calculated on gross salaries less obligatory pension contributions;

Property Tax: 1.5%, calculated on property annual average net book value;

National Chamber of Entrepreneurs contribution: 160*MCI (1 MCI = KZT 1,852 for 2014);

Land tax: KZT 28.95 per square meter (of land area);

Pension contributions: 10%.

Income Tax (Personal Allowance) ?

IIT deduction from payment source is made for: employee’s income; income of an individual from a tax agent; pension payment from saving pension funds; dividend, fees, winnings; scholarships; income under saving insurance contracts.

Tax deductions (reduced tax base):
standard tax deductions: minimum salary;
property-related tax deductions: repayment of loan benefits received in the housing construction savings banks to carry out activities to improve living conditions;
social tax deductions: sums of obligatory pension taxes, medical service costs, insurance premium costs.

Payments

Information Explanation
Payment Mode ?

On payment of wages, the employer shall notify each employee, every month, in writing of the component parts of the wage due him for the corresponding period, the amount of and grounds for withholdings made, including information about mandatory pension contributions withheld and remitted, as well as about the aggregate monetary sum due for payment.

Wage payments to employees shall be made at the place where they work, unless the terms and conditions of the employment contract or the collective bargaining agreement envisage otherwise.

Frequency of Salary Payment ?

Wages shall be paid in monetary form in the national currency of the Republic of Kazakhstan at least once a month, no later than the 10th day of the following month. The date for payment of wages shall be envisaged by employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements.

Minimum Wage ?

The minimum monthly wage established annually by the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the republican budget for the corresponding financial year shall not be less than the subsistence level and shall not include additions and mark-ups, compensatory and social allowances, bonuses or other incentive payments and shall be paid in proportion to the time worked.

The minimum standard labour compensation shall be determined on the basis of the minimum monthly wage established by the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the republican budget for the corresponding year, and branch multipliers determined by branch agreements and approved by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The minimum hourly wage of an employee fulfilling his job duties (work time standards), may not be less than the minimum monthly wage divided by the average number of working hours in the month according to the working time balance for the corresponding calendar year.

The minimum monthly wage or monthly base rate of a first rank employee envisaged by the terms and conditions of the employment contract, collective bargaining agreement and (or) acts of the employer, may not be less than the minimum monthly wage established by the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the republican budget for the corresponding financial year, while for employees engaged in heavy work or work under harmful (particularly harmful) or hazardous working conditions, it shall not be less than the minimum standard labour compensation.

Kazakhstan Immigration and Work Permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Kazakhstan, as established by immigration laws.  Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the Kazakh market.  If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use an outsourced management company or GEO Employer of Record to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.

Your Options

Have Your Own Business?

There are effectively two routes to obtaining a work permit for Kazakhstan:
Work Permit for Managers, Specialists and Qualified Workers  – for all individuals going to work in Kazakhstan (whether for an LLC, representative or branch office)

Representative Office Work Visa for Chief Executives – chief executives (first category workers) going to a representative office in Kazakhstan. The process is quicker than that for other categories of workers as no work permit application is needed. However, note that the applicant is required to be on local payroll and contract in Kazakhstan.

Processes and requirements will vary according to the job title, skills and salary of the applicant, the type of work permit being applied for, the nationality of the applicant, the country of application and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependants. We therefore recommend that you contact us for up-to-date information.

However, the general process generally involves:

  • a local labor market search to demonstrate that there is no one available from the local labor force;
  • medical screening;
  • submission of the work permit application;
  • bank guarantee from the Kazakh entity as proof that the foreign executive will leave Kazakhstan at the end of the work permit duration.

Family dependant applications are submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs once the main applicant’s work permit is issued. Then upon receipt of the original work permit the applicant and family can apply for entry visas at the Kazakh diplomatic post. Post-entry to Kazakhstan the assignee is required to register with the Migration Police in person.

Requirements will vary according to the job title, skills and salary of the applicant, the type of work permit being applied for, the nationality of the applicant, the country of application and personal circumstances of the assignee and any family dependants.
Applicants will be required to submit a variety of personal documents to support the application which include, but are not limited to:

  • passport and translated copy,
  • CV,
  • degree certificate,
  • job description,
  • employment contract/assignment letter,
  • lease contract in Kazakhstan,
  • birth and marriage certificates for any family dependants;

as well as a variety of corporate documents that may include:

  • Certificate of Registration,
  • confirmation of commitment to training,
  • Charter of Incorporation,
  • TRN Certificate,
  • employment contract with KZ entity,
  • bank guarantee,
  • company support letters.

Some personal documents may need to be legalized prior to submission. Some documents will also need to be translated.

Processing Time: Work Permit for Managers, Specialists and Qualified Workers – Typically takes 2 to 5 months until entry to Kazakhstan

Representative Office Work Visa for Chief Executives – 1 to 3 months until entry to Kazakhstan, and a further 1 day before the whole process is completed

Both types of Work Permit are initially granted for up to 12 months and can be renewed

Use the Shield GEO Employer of Record Solution?

Once you get in touch with us, one of our consultants will take all the work off your hand, co-ordinate with our local partners to get all the required permits organised, provide the processing time, costs, document-checklist and keep you informed through the process. Contact us to know more.

Types of visas in Kazakhstan

Category Description of Visa
Business Visa

Documents required

1. Completed visa application form (one per person). All fields must be completed and signed otherwise your application will be refused.

2. A) Single Entry Business Visas
A letter with a request to issue a visa addressed to the Consular Section of the Embassy of Kazakhstan.
Please, indicate the purpose of your trip, your contact in Kazakhstan, the dates of your planned trip, and places to be visited. Letter should be typed on computer, printed out and signed/stamped (if applicable)   
B) Double/Triple/Multiple entry Business Visas
A copy of the invitation letter from a host organisation in Kazakhstan is needed. This letter must be submitted by the host organisation in Kazakhstan to the Department of Consular Services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Department of Consular Services must provide the host company with a reference number.
In addition, a cover letter from the applicant’s company, briefly summarising the purpose of the visit and including some information about the company or organisation should be attached.

3. A valid passport (a photocopy will not be accepted) which should have at least one blank page for a visa. An applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months longer than the validity of the requested visa.

4. One recent, color photo of the applicant which should be stapled to the marked space in the upper right hand corner of the application form (see photo specs).

5. Payment (see Visa fee/Payment method below).

6. All applicants are required to personally submit their applications to the Consular Section. Australian and New Zealand citizens, who are living in AU or in NZ, must use courier service to deliver your documents to the Embassy. In order to submit documentation to the consular section all applicants must use secure courier service like DHL, Toll or TNT.

Cost: Single entry 55 USD / Double entry 80 USD / Triple entry 100 USD / Multiple entry (up to 1 year) 200 USD / Multiple entry (up to 2 years) 400 USD.

Private Visa

Documents required

1. Completed visa application form (one per person). All fields must be completed and signed otherwise your application will be refused.

Applicants who are Ex- Citizens of the Kazakhstan Republic or USSR, copy of renunciation letter must be attached together with application form.

2. For up to 30 days: A letter with a request to issue a visa addressed to the Consular Section of the Embassy of Kazakhstan. Please, indicate the purpose of your trip, your contact in Kazakhstan, the dates of your planned trip, and places to be visited. Letter should be typed on computer, printed out and signed/stamped (if applicable)

For up to 90 days: An original invitation letter issued by the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Republic of Kazakhstan is required. Your relatives or friends in Kazakhstan can obtain invitation from the local authorities of MIA and send it to your address in the UK. The period of stay in Kazakhstan is shown in a separate paragraph and must not exceed 90 days 

3. A valid passport (a photocopy will not be accepted) which should have at least one blank page for a visa. An applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months longer than the   validity of the requested visa.

   Applicants who are applying for their minor children must present additionally: 
– a copy of the both parents’ passports;
– a copy of the child’s birth certificate;
– a letter from one of the child’s parents stating non-objection to the child’s other parent taking him or her to Kazakhstan.

4. One recent, color photo of the applicant which should be stapled to the marked space in the upper right hand corner of the application form (see photo specs)

5. Payment (see Visa fee/Payment method)

6. All applicants are required to personally submit their applications to the Consular Section. In order to submit documentation to the consular section all applicants must use secure courier service like DHL, Toll or TNT.

Cost: Single entry 55 USD / Double entry 80 USD / Triple entry 100 USD

Tourist Visa

Documents required

1. Completed visa application form (one per person). All fields must be completed and signed otherwise your application will be refused.

2. A) Single/Double Entry Tourist Visas 
A letter with a request to issue a visa addressed to the Consular Section of the Embassy of Kazakhstan.
Please, indicate the purpose of your trip, your contact in Kazakhstan, the dates of your planned trip, and places to be visited. Letter should be typed on computer, printed out and signed/stamped (if applicable). For double entry full itinerary must be presented.
B) Triple Entry Tourist Visa 
A copy of the invitation letter from a host organisation in Kazakhstan is needed. This letter must be submitted by the host organisation in Kazakhstan to the Department of Consular Services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Department of Consular Services must provide the host company with a reference number.

3. A valid passport (a photocopy will not be accepted) which should have at least one blank page for a visa. An applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months longer than the validity of the requested visa.

4. One recent, color photo of the applicant which should be stapled to the marked space in the upper right hand corner of the application form (see photo specs)

5. Hotel booking should be provided in a printed form.

6. Travel insurance certificate should be provided in a printed form

7. Flight or rail tickets should be provided in printed form

8. Payment (see Visa fee/Payment method)

9. All applicants are required to personally submit their applications to the Consular Section. In order to submit documentation to the consular section all applicants must use secure courier service like DHL, Toll or TNT.

Cost: Single entry 25 USD / Double entry 50 USD / Triple entry 75 USD

Setting up a company in Kazakhstan

When setting up a company you may want to consider these factors:

  1. Business Factors

    In 2011, Kazakhstan eased business start-up by reducing the minimum capital requirement to 100 tenge ($0.70) and eliminating the need to have the memorandum of association and company charter notarised. In 2013, the country eliminated the requirement to pay in minimum capital within 3 months after incorporation and in 2014 reduced the time it takes to register a company at the Public Registration Center. Finally, in 2016 Kazakhstan made starting a business simpler by eliminating registration fees for small and medium-size firms, shortening registration times and eliminating the legal requirement to use a company seal.

  2. Human Rights and Corruption

    According to UN, despite freedom of association has been nominally guaranteed by Kazakhstan’s constitution, in practice a ‘web of laws and practices limit the real-world freedom of political parties, public associations, trade unions and religious associations to operate.’ Corruption can also be an issue; In 2015, Kazakhstan was ranked 123 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index and 41 in the World Bank’s Ease of doing Business index.

  3. Intellectual Property

    As IP rights are territorial, entrepreneurs willing to trade internationally should consider registering their IP rights in their export markets.

Your Options

The legislation in Kazakhstan provides for rather wide range of organizational forms of business entities. Limited liability partnerships (LLP), joint stock companies (JSC), and branches of foreign legal entities, however, remain the most popular.

Ltd Liability Partnership

Similar to practices in other jurisdictions, a limited liability partnership remains one of the most popular forms of a business organisation. This is mostly due to limitation of its partners’ liability to the amounts contributed to the charter fund. Under the law, LLP is a separate legal entity, and a business organisation, capable of having rights and accepting duties, and independently liable on its obligations with its own property. The law on partnerships as of 22 April 1998 is rather well developed and provides for a detailed legal framework for operation of a partnership. However, it must be noted that partnership’s foundation documents constitute its principal basis for operation. With some exceptions, a partnership’s foundation documents take precedence over the provisions of the law. 

One of the principal foundation documents of an LLP is a charter agreement of its founders. Legally, a partnership begins its existence from the moment of its state registration. However, formation of a partnership starts from conclusion of a foundation agreement by its partners. This document lays down the basis for foundation and operation of an LLP. Provisions of a foundation agreement constitute a commercial secret, and may be revealed to the state or official bodies or third persons only at the discretion of LLP’s management, or in cases required by the legislation. A foundation agreement must include:

  • a decision on foundation of a partnership;
  • its name and address;
  • a list of names, addresses and bank details of its founders;
  • rights and obligations of the participants (founders);
  • the amount of the partnership charter;
  • contributions of individual partners and their evaluation;
  • provisions on additional contributions;
  • partners’ equity in the partnership;
  • the procedure for allocation of net revenue.

A foundation agreement may include any other provisions at the discretion of the participants. The terms of a foundation agreement are binding upon the partners, and are enforceable in the court. Under the law, a foundation agreement must be notarised. 

As noted above, the major advantage of this form of a business entity is limited liability of its partners on partnership’s obligations. LLP has a status of a separate legal entity, capable of acquiring rights and obligations, and liable on its obligations with its own property. Unlike partners in other types of partnerships, partners are liable only to the extent of their contributions to the charter capital.

Major disadvantages include restrictions imposed by tax and currency legislation. Having a status of a legal entity, a partnership is a resident of Kazakhstan for purposes of tax and currency legislation. The partnership, and not the partners, is liable on Kazakhstan taxes. Residency for the purposes of currency legislation entails stricter regime on import and export of foreign currency and conducting currency operations. Please see sections on tax and currency legislation in Kazakhstan for more detailed information.

State registration of legal entity (online or in person), obtaining of a digital signature and tax registration at the Public Registration Center.

Registration of medium-sized and large-sized business entities is performed based on a “one-stop-shop” principle: all the registration documents should be submitted to one state authority, the Public/Population Service Centers: The relevant justice authority shall issue a certificate of state registration of a company not later than 1 day following the day of submission. If documents are filed online via electronic government portal the state registration shall be performed within 1 hour from the moment of documents submission. SMEs are exempted from payment of a registration fee as of January 1, 2015. The list of the required documents includes the following: 1) a notification on commencement of entrepreneurial activity; 2) copies of IDs; and 3) power of attorney (if applicable). At the same time entrepreneurs need to obtain an electronic signature. An electronic signature can be obtained at public registration centers in 2 days’ time. On the second day following the application for an esignature entrepreneurs need to present themselves at the registration center for the identity check.

Notarize certificate of state registration and other post-registration documents

Under the Tax Code of January 1, 2009 Article 536(15), the notary fee for certifying copies of the state registration and other post registration documents shall be 10% of the MCI per page. Each registration document is a two-page document, and the total for one set of certified copies (if the charter had 10 pages) would be 10% of MCI x 16 pages. One set of notarized copies of the registration documents and the charter is usually required to open a bank account. Additional copies would be needed if the company were to apply for work permits to employ expatriates, obtain licenses and other operational permits, or set up subsidiaries or acquire shares or ownership interests in other legal entities.

Open the current account in the bank

To open a current account, the founder must provide the bank with the following documents:

  • Cards with sample signatures and an imprint of the company seal.
  • Copy of the state registration certificate of legal entity from the registration body of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan. • Copies of identity documents for person(s) listed on the signature card(s) and company founders.
  • Application for bank account setup (bank-provided form).

Register for the obligatory insurance of life and health for employees

Each employee should have employer-paid insurance according to the Law On Obligatory Insurance of The Liability of the Employer for Life and Health Tort to The Employee in Discharge of Labor and (Official) Duties (February 7, 2005) that became effective on July 1, 2005.The amount of insurance premium payable by an employer depends on insurance risks and wages. To assess risks, the insurance companies place all insurable personnel into three categories: administrative, operational, and support. Amounts of the insurance premium vary from 0.04% to 9.99%. According to 7 May 2007 amendments to the law on obligatory insurance, an employer is required to get an insurance policy within 10 business days from the date of state registration indicated in the company’s Certificate of State Registration Payment of insurance premium (set out in an insurance agreement) is required. 1. The amount of the insurance premium depends on insurance risks and the amount of annual payroll fund and is calculated as the amount of insurance coverage multiplied by an insurance tariff which as set out by the law in the range of 0.12% to 2.96%. 2. Insurable personnel is not divided into three categories (administrative, operational and support) as previously for the purposes of risk assessment. 3. An employer is required to get an insurance policy within the first decade of the month in which the company began operating.

Processing Time: Approx. 4 weeks

Charter Capital: Minimum charter capital: Small Enterprises – KZT 100 (approximately USD 1), Medium and Large Enterprises – 100 Monthly Calculation Index (KZT 161,800– approximately USD 1,200).

Joint Stock Companies

The law on Joint Stock Companies adopted on July 10, 1998 defines the legal status of a joint stock company, rights and responsibilities of its shareholders, and sets procedures for its establishment, reorganisation and liquidation.

The law provides for closed and open joint stock companies. A closed JSC may have no more than 100 shareholders who have a preemptive right to acquire shares of other shareholders, and by charter, may also expel shareholders who have violated the company interests. If the number of shareholders exceeds 100, a resolution to reorganize the company to an open joint stock company must be adopted at a shareholders meeting within three months.

Closed joint stock companies are not required to register their shares with the National Securities Commission and may independently maintain their own shareholders register. As opposed to closed JSCs, open JSC may have unlimited number of shareholders. JSC with shareholders of more than 500 are separated into a subcategory of large public JSCs.

Other features of this subcategory include trading of the company shares on a recognised securities market, assets at 200,000 times the monthly calculation index, a minimum board of 5 directors, and maintenance of the shareholder register by the Central Depository or an independent registrar. Independent directors must make up for at least half the board of membership of a public JSC.

The open public joint stock companies are subject to higher standards and scrutiny. For instance, they must submit their annual audited financial statements to the National Securities Commission, notify the Commission on loss of more than 10% of the assets, loans to the company of more than 25% of issued capital, and transactions or events materially affecting shareholder interests.

The law sets the minimum charter capital at 100 times the monthly calculation index for closed JSCs and 5,000 times the monthly calculation index for open JSCs. Concepts of stated and paid capital are introduced. Companies may have authorised but unissued shares, allowing it to issue new stock by board resolution without having to hold a shareholder meeting, amend the charter or reregister the company. 

Closed, private and open share placements are authorised. Closed placement is limited to company founders and other identified persons. Closed placements do not require registration, although a national identification number must be assigned. If the company is an open JSC, placements after the initial one are open or private.

Open placement involves selling stock to anyone by auction or otherwise in accordance with security laws and is subject to registration with the National Securities Commission. Private placement is made to qualified investors who are legal entities with 50,000 monthly calculation indexes in equity capital, operating on the securities market, and not subject to registration. Currently, Kazakhstan parliament is discussing a draft of the new law on joint stock companies. It is not clear yet what changes it will introduce to the legal regime of JSC and its overall impact on development of JSCs in Kazakhstan.

How to get the service in the state agency (required documents)

  • Application form
  • Statute or the statement of legal entity.
  • Statutes (statements) of legal entities that are belonged to the private enterprises objects, their branches and representatives, except for the statutes (statements) of joint stock companies, their branches and representations are not submitting.
  • Protocol of constituent committees (for public and religious inions – conference, congress), accepting the statute signed by the chairman or secretary of meeting (conference, congress) or determination of executive agency of legal entity or the founder of legal entity organizing. Протокол учредительного собрания (для общественных и религиозных).
  • Receipt or the document confirming the payment to the registration budget tax except for the legal entities, appertained to the small and medium enterprises subjects.
  • By the public unions additionally submitting the document confirming its location; initiators-citizens list admonishing the data of middle name, first name, last name, day, month, year of birth, individual identification number, and place of domicile, home and mobile telephone numbers, personal sign.
  • By the religious unions additionally submitting: document, confirming the place of location confirming the union’s location, initiators-citizens list admonishing the data of middle name, first name, last name, day, month, year of birth, individual identification number, and place of domicile, home and mobile telephone numbers, personal sign in electronic and paper form, printed religious materials, disclosing the history of origin and doctrinal statements and containing the data of corresponding religious activity.
  • By political parties additionally submitting every party’s program in two exemplars; list of party members, in which structure must be no less than 40 thousands of party members, representing the structural departments (branches and its representatives) parties in all regions, city of the republic significance and capital, with quantity more than six hundreds of party’s members  admonishing the middle name, first name, last name (upon its occurrence), month, year of birth, number of the personal identification document of the Republic of Kazakhstan, IIN, address of place of domicile.
  • To legal entities, belonging to the subjects of private enterprises with foreign participation, if other is not established by the International contracts, confirmed by the Republic of Kazakhstan, additionally submitting:
  • Legal abstract from the trade register or other organisation, confirming that the founder-foreign legal entity is the legal entity by the Legislation of foreign country, with notary certified translations in Kazakh and Russian languages.
  • Copy of passport or other document, confirming the founder’s personality of foreign founder with notary certified translations in Kazakh and Russian languages.
  • For legal entities, whose business profile is the financial services delivery, additionally submitting the settlements from the National bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
  • For legal entities, that are not appertain to the market subjects, possessing the dominating or monopoly position on the correspondent market trade, and state organisations, legal entities, more than 50 percent of accesses (part of participation in state capital) appertain to the state, and affiliated with them persons, which will be implement their activity on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, except for the cases when such organisation directly envisaged by the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, implementing by registration agency with preliminary agreement of the antimonopoly agency.
  • Consumers cooperatives additionally submitting the list of members of its cooperatives admonishing their first name, last name, middle name (under the occurrence), year of birth and personal sign of the document identifying the personality (IIN) and place of domicile – for  citizens and location data, bank tags, data of business-identification card for legal entities.
  • For rural enterprise cooperatives of water users additionally submitting the cooperative members list admonishing the full name, date of birth, ID card, and name of locations of legal entities with admonishing the business-identification number and data of irrigated lands occurrence of agricultural meaning.
  • Housing and house building cooperatives submit the list of their members admonishing the full names, date of birth, individual identification number and address of place of domicile.

Data of ID cards of legal entity’s state registration the service recipient obtain from corresponded state informational systems through the “electronic gateway”.

Under the connection, merger submit the attached act, under the separation, allocating – separating balance admonishing the state of legal succession by the obligations of reorganized legal entity  of confirmation transmission acts and separated balance, and document confirming the written notification of creditors of legal entity’s reorganization.

Under the state registration of legal entity, appertain to the media and large enterprise subjects , application signing and submitting to the registration agency by one of the founders or by the executed founder in case when only founder is a foreign person, Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, or National bank with constituent documents attachment identified in notary order in cases envisaged by the legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakstan.

Under the state registration of legal entity, that does not appertain to the private enterprise subject, application signing and submitting to the registration agency by the founder or executed person with attachment of constituent documents, certified in notary order in cases envisaged by the legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Processing Time: Approx. 8 weeks

Charter capital: There is no division into open and closed joint stock companies in Kazakhstan. Minimum charter capital is 50,000 Monthly Calculation Index (KZT 80,900,000 – approximately USD 540,000).

Representative Offices and Branches of Foreign Legal Entities

The Civil Code of Kazakhstan sets out a legal framework and provides for legal status of representative offices and branches. The Law on Foreign Investments as of 27 December 1994 reiterates provisions of the Civil Code and extends their application to representative offices and branches of foreign legal entities.

According to the law, a branch of a foreign legal entity is a separate subdivision, located and registered in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and conducting all or part of the operations of the legal entity establishing the branch. A branch does not constitute a separate legal entity and operates on the basis of the Regulations of the Branch. The content of the Regulations of the Branch is similar to the contents of a legal entity’s charter. It includes name and location of the branch, as well as name and location of the founding entity, the term and purpose of existence of the branch, and management of the branch. The Regulations of the Branch do not constitute a commercial secret and should be available to the public.

Unlike representative office branches may engage in entrepreneurial activities. This is the major and only difference between the legal regimes of representative offices and branches. The law limits the scope of representative office’s activities to representation functions only.

The major advantage of a branch of a foreign legal entity flows from the definition of residents under the currency legislation of Kazakhstan. For purposes of the currency legislation, branches and representative offices of foreign legal entities are non-residents. This implies more liberal regime on conducting foreign currency operations, such as settlement of transactions in foreign currency and free export of foreign currency.

The disadvantage of legal regime of branches and representative offices may arise under the licensing and customs legislation. Under the licensing legislation of Kazakhstan, a number of activities subject to licensing require applicants to have a status of a legal entity. As mentioned above, branches and representative offices do not have a status of a legal entity, and therefore do not qualify for certain types of licenses. As for restrictions under the customs legislation, non-residents of Kazakhstan, such as representative offices and branches of foreign legal entities, require assistance of customs brokers to import goods to the territory of Kazakhstan. Although, services of customs brokers are readily available, in practice this restriction may still prove rather burdensome.

Registration Process.

Application for record registration of branch (representative office) according to the 5, 6, 7, 8 appendixes to the standard signed by the executive person, organizing the branch (representative office) and attaches by the legal entity’s stamp (under its occurrence).

Receipt confirming the payment to the budget tax for record registration of branch (representative office).

For branches (representative offices) of legal entities that does not appertain to the private enterprises subjects and joint stock companies additionally submitting the statement of the branch in three exemplars in Kazakh and Russian languages confirmed by the legal entity, copies of statement and legal entity’s statement (except for the public and religious unions) issued to the branch’s manager.

Record registration of the branches (representatives) of foreign legal entities implements in order established by the legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan for record registration of legal entity’s branches op persons of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Besides the documents envisaged by this order, if other does not established by the international contracts, ratified by the Republic of Kazakhstan additionally submit:

  • Legal reference from the trade register, constituent documents or other legal document of legal entity confirming the tax registration in country of incorporation legal entity with admonishing the number of tax registration (or its analogue).
  • Documents of foreign legal entity, organising the branch (representative office), submitting with notary certified translations in Kazakh and Russian languages.

Under the branch organising by the state organisation additionally submitting the document confirming the agreement of the National bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan or the executive agency on managing the state property on the branch organisation.

Processing Time: Approx. 4 weeks

Charter Capital: No legal restrictions are applied to accreditation terms. The amount of public due depends on the subject of registration (resident/non-resident of Kazakhstan). We also register representative/branch offices of foreign banks, including receipt of corresponding licenses.

Outsourcing Employment Through a GEO Employer of Record Service

Whether to incorporate in Kazakhstan, and what sort of entity to setup are just two of the many choices companies must make when expanding into a new market.

If the company intends to have staff in Kazakhstan they must also decide whether they will administer that employment internally or use a Global Employment Organization to handle payroll and Employer of Record responsibilities.  A GEO Employer of Record solution is an attractive alternative where

– the company is looking to setup an office quickly

– the company wants to work within a defined budget

– the company wants to limit its initial commitment in Kazakhstan

– the company needs help with tax, employment, immigration and payroll compliance in Kazakhstan

The complexity of employment regulations in Kazakhstan makes the use of a GEO advisable coupled with local legal counsel to ensure full compliance with employment laws, for example the drafting of local contracts for workers.

Shield GEO provides a comprehensive service in Kazakhstan allowing companies to deploy their staff quickly with reasonable, clearly stated costs and timeframes. The company contracts directly with Shield to employ and payroll their staff on their behalf in Kazakhstan.

Shield GEO then becomes the Employer of Record. Shield GEO assumes the legal responsibility for these employees, sponsoring them on work permits, complying with local employment law and running their monthly payroll. Using Shield GEO is the fastest and most cost effective way to deploy local and foreign workers into Kazakhstan. Read more about outsourced employment through Shield GEO.

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