Working in Kyrgyzstan?

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Working in Kyrgyzstan

Career opportunities are scarce in Kyrgyzstan, but it is not impossible for expats to find a job: the country has still some leading industries, in particular agriculture, and there is a lack of local professionals. Find out more in our guide, from the economy to taxation.

Local Economy

Kyrgyzstan, due to its size and location, was one of the poorest countries in the Soviet Union, and it hasn't fared much better since it gained its independence. According to the CIA World Factbook and the UNDP, around a third of the population lives in poverty, with the country struggling to adapt its fledgling economy since the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s.

Kyrgyzstan is a predominantly agrarian economy, with cotton, meat, wool and tobacco being the main things that are produced. Cotton and tobacco are also the biggest exports. Unlike its oil and natural gas-rich neighbors, Kyrgyzstan has few reserves of its own, and imports most of its gas and petroleum from abroad. The economy relies a lot on foreign worker remittances. In 2013, the country ranked 70th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. 

Job Hunting in Kyrgyzstan

Because of the predominantly agrarian nature of the economy and the fact that Kyrgyzstan’s services sector is relatively underdeveloped, there are few job opportunities for expats. Many expatriates working in Kyrgyzstan are employed by NGOs, and the UN Jobs board sometimes has openings advertised.

It is also important to bear in mind that the working language in Kyrgyzstan tends to be Kyrgyz or Russian rather than English, so if you do not speak either of these languages fluently you will often be at a disadvantage. 

Income Taxation in Kyrgyzstan

Taxation is legislated by the Tax Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. Income tax for those earning up to the 50 minimal salaries rate is 10%. For those earning over the 50 minimal salaries rate, the first 50 minimal salaries rate is taxed at 10% and the remaining is taxed at 20%.

Kyrgyzstan levies a profit tax of 10% on other income, whilst there is a 20% Value Added Tax sales rate on goods, introduced by the government to try and boost the economy.

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