On 15th July a new immigration law will affect the hiring of foreign nationals in Belarus. The laws have been bought in to reduce high levels of local unemployment and will affect Work Permits (Special Work Permits).
Currently foreign employees in Belarus should obtain a Special Work Permit; all companies that employ more than 10 foreign workers must obtain a separate permit in order to hire foreign employees. The changes set out stricter criteria and procedures, this also includes the definition of “highly qualified employees”, all other amendments to the immigration laws are detailed below:
- If you started up the company or are the company”s director, you will not be counted in the 10 foreign workers calculation; you will also be exempt from obtaining labour-market testing approval by the employment office. Students at Belarus universities are also exempt from work permits during their studies and up to a year after their graduation if they gain employment in the field of their degree.
- To be considered as a “highly qualified employee” you must earn 15 times the national average; have a university degree and at least five years” professional experience.
- Special Work Permits which are initially valid for one year can now be renewed for an additional year for one time only, after this the foreign worker must apply for a new Special Work Permit. These limits are also applied to an employer”s permit to include foreign workers.
- All foreign nationals who are not permanent residents and who register employment contracts must ensure they register for a Special Work Permit within one month of their completion. All cancelled, unsigned or expired permits must be returned within five working days. It has also been announced that foreign employees must now contribute to the Belarus social insurance system, and also if you are working for several employers you must obtain a permit for each of these.
- The cancellation of Special Work Permits may occur on new grounds which includes five plus administration violations in one year or in the situation where the employer fails to comply with the rules on external labour migration.
It is important that employers and employees in Belarus prepare for the stricter rules that have been mentioned above. If you require any further advice on the above please contact us at email@example.com.