Kazakhstan: Foreigners Falling Foul of 120 Day Rule

19 Jun

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Kazakhstan has been witnessing a drop in the numbers of foreigners residing and working in the country following the introduction of business visas that limit stays to 120 days in any one-year period.

The laws were tightened up a few years ago to stop foreigners living and working illegally in the country. The intention was that businesses employing non-citizens would have to get work permits for these staff members. But the process to obtain these permits has proved to be a costly and complicated one that has left many in limbo.

With stays limited to 120 days, it is no longer practical for foreign nationals to work or live in Kazakhstan. This in turn has had an effect on the business sphere as it is now difficult for firms to hire foreign experts without having to stump up a lot of cash upfront and wade through endless red tape. Foreigners are no longer coming on the off-chance that they will be able to find work once they arrive in the country.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about Kazakhstn lifting visa requirements for short-term tourist visas for citizens of ‘developed’ countries. While this may boost tourism, there also needs to be a re-think, about the 120 day law. For somewhere that is trying to make itself one of the world’s 50 most competitive countries, this law is actually harming the coutry’s ability to achieve these aims as it can no longer attract the expertise it needs to move forward.

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