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Working in Turkmenistan

Find out how to get a job and work in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan has traditionally suffered from high levels of unemployment, but the fast improving economy is helping matters in that area. The cotton industry is big in Turkmenistan, which is one of the world's top ten producers of cotton. Work opportunities for expats lie elsewhere, though.

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Employment in Turkmenistan

Next to cotton, wheat is also one of the nation’s biggest crops. The banking and insurance industries are state-controlled, but the country’s heavy reliance on its natural gas resources means there are opportunities for expats in the energy sector.

Economic Overview

The natural gas bounty has been readily embraced by the Turkmenistan government, but it has taken steps to ensure economic growth can be sustained, rather than enduring boom then bust.

As the country continues to develop, the construction sector is bound to become more important, but at the present time the energy industry is where most expats will find opportunities.

Despite Turkmenistan’s 25 years of independence from the Soviet Union, much of the country’s resources still head towards Russia. However, a sign of the nation’s increasing economic confidence can be seen in the building of the Korpezhe-Kurt Kui Pipeline, which is the first of Turkmenistan’s pipelines that does not pass through Russian territory.

And while foreign investors have traditionally stayed away from Turkmenistan, the situation is slowly changing, helping to fuel development and economic growth in the country. 

Job Hunting in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan’s energy industry offers the most opportunities for expats, with the oil and natural gas sectors seeing rapid growth in the last few years as development is stepped up. Petrofac is one of the most important employers in Turkmenistan, with around 1,700 people working for the energy company in the country, many of whom are involved in the massive Galkynysh gas field project, which is worth in excess of 3.4 billion USD.

Many jobs may also be found around Avaza, a huge construction project near Turkmenbashi where a new international airport is being planned, with dozens of top hotels proposed in a development that has been compared to the growth of Dubai as an international hub for expats.

Turkmenistan does not have a large media industry or a central job board to speak of, so the best place to find work in Turkmenistan is the internet. Oil and Gas Job Search as well as Rigzone are some of the best websites for energy opportunities in Turkmenistan.

Work Permits for Turkmenistan

Individuals planning to move to Turkmenistan for work need a letter of invitation from their new employers in order to apply for a work visa. Costs vary from 35 USD for a ten-day single-entry visa up to 515 USD for a 12-month multiple-entry visa. 

Having visas and work permits arranged well in advance is recommended, as delays caused by missing documents could result in detainment on arrival in Turkmenistan.

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Updated on: April 28, 2015
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