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Uzbekistan: Government Looks to Create Favorable Conditions for Attracting Qualified Foreign Employees

(Jan. 25, 2019) On November 7, 2018, the president of Uzbekistan signed a resolution aimed at providing impetus for the inflow of qualified foreign specialists in Uzbekistan. (Resolution of the President of Uzbekistan on Measures to Create Favorable Conditions for Employment of Qualified Specialists from Foreign Countries in the Territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Nov. 7, 2018, Uzbekistan legal information portal LexUZ (in Russian).)

According to the Resolution the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications, in cooperation with the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, is to be responsible for developing within a three-month period a special multilingual information portal that will provide information on visas, residence permits, registration, taxation, and employee benefits. (Resolution of the President of Uzbekistan para. 8.)

In contrast with the government’s previous policy, under which it was up to employers to determine the level of qualifications of potential foreign-national employees, the new policy will introduce a differentiated uniform approach toward employment-based immigration by simplifying the issuance of employment authorizations and employment-based visas to qualified and highly qualified foreign specialists. (Regulation on Procedures for Attracting and Employing a Foreign Work Force in the Territory of Uzbekistan, Oct. 10, 1995, Uzbekistan’s Norma legal information portal (in Russian).)

The Resolution categorizes specialists as either “highly qualified” or “qualified” and affords them different legal treatment. “Highly qualified specialists” are foreign citizens who

  • are graduates of the 1000 institutions of higher education rated highest by internationally recognized organizations and affirmed by the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education and by the State Inspectorate for Supervision over Quality of Education under the Cabinet of Ministers,
  • have more than five years of professional experience, and
  • have secured conditions of employment in the territory of Uzbekistan with remuneration of at least US$60,000 annually. (Resolution of the President of Uzbekistan para. 3(a).)

“Qualified specialists” are foreign citizens who

  • possess a graduate degree and at least five years of professional experience, and
  • have secured conditions of employment in the territory of Uzbekistan with remuneration of at least US$30,000 annually. (Id. para. 3(b).)

According to the Resolution, from December 1, 2018, employers no longer need to obtain or extend employment permits for qualified and highly qualified foreign specialists. In order to work in Uzbekistan, it is enough for such workers to have confirmation of their right to work.

The government has set the fee charged for registering and issuing or renewing employment permits at an amount equivalent to the monthly minimum wage (about US$25) for highly qualified specialists and at twice that amount for qualified specialists. (Id. para. 2.)

The new Resolution provides for employment permits for qualified and highly qualified specialists that are valid for up to three years, depending on the applicant’s need, with an unlimited number of three-year extensions available. Under the previous regulation, permits were renewable only for one-year. (Id.; Regulation on Procedures for Attracting and Employing a Foreign Work Force para. 11.)

Among other changes introduced by the Resolution are allowing foreign nationals who have invested in Uzbekistan 8,500 times the monthly minimum wage to be employed in the enterprise where the investments were made, without prior authorization procedures and, as of January 1, 2019, reducing by 50% the income tax rate for qualified specialists. (Resolution of the President of Uzbekistan para. 5.)