On December 28, 2011 the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Kazakhstan announced the foreign labor quota for the year 2012. Per the decision, foreigners cannot make up more than one percent of the working population of Kazakhstan, therefore a maximum of 48,135 work permits are to be available for foreigners in 2012. In deciding on the specific number, authorities also took into account requests from local companies submitted to the district labor offices until September of the previous year.
The quota is additionally divided among the regions of Kazakhstan, and further divided in each region per the four work permit categories. The quota for the cities of Almaty and Astana are set as the following:
Fourth category work permits are not granted for the two cities and such permits are mostly allocated to the South Kazakhstan Province (Оңтүстік Қазақстан), where 2,000 fourth category work permits are available to qualified foreign workers.
In addition to the above restrictions, a quota applies to companies as well based on their ratio of foreigners versus local hires. Effective January 1, 2012 first category work permit holders at a company must not exceed 30 percent of total number of employees from this category, while second/third category work permit holders must not exceed 10 percent of the total number of employees from this category. This quota requirement, however, does not apply to small businesses, state institutions, as well as to work permits issued under quotas for priority projects and for seasonal foreign employees.
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