ASTANA – The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) Expat Centre provides English-language services, including visa and work permits, tax payments, consultations on healthcare, education, transport and accommodations to expats and their families.
“The centre’s activities are intended to contribute to the overall development of the AIFC. We believe that access to state and social services for foreign experts is one of the key factors affecting the decision to move or set up a business in a particular country. Therefore, our mission is to provide favourable conditions allowing foreign specialists, coming to Kazakhstan for several years and bringing their families, to arrive and easily integrate into Kazakh society,” AIFC Expat Centre Head Nurlan Toimbek told The Astana Times.
While Kazakh residents can access government services using Individual Identification Numbers (IIN) in Centres for Servicing the Population (CSP or TsONs), expats arriving in Kazakhstan have had to apply to several institutions, such as the migration office, local administrative bodies, tax departments and CSPs, and look for medical centres, schools and housing on their own. The centre has provided these services since January under the “single window” principle.
“More than 500 services, provided by local executive bodies, tax departments, migration offices, CSPs and private institutions, are now available in one place. Expatriates can obtain visa support, register as a taxpayer, obtain IIN and digital signature and use CSP services. Moreover, they can get consultations on housing, educational and medical institutions, transport and logistics,” he noted.
Services also include a call centre and the website xpataifc.kz. The centre is located on the former EXPO 2017 site and has assisted with approximately 200 visas and provided private consultations, CSP and tax services.
The centre services are available to all expats, not just those affiliated with the AIFC.
The Centre was developed based on the experience of local CSPs, the Government Services Offices of Dubai International Financial Centre (GSO DIFC) and the Holland Expat Centre.
“Since AIFC operates within a special legal regime based on English common law, it is particularly important to ensure that staff is capable of providing high-quality service for foreigners. Most of our workers are Bolashak scholarship recipients and studied abroad, have considerable experience working in central state and local executive migration bodies, consular services and overseas Kazakh institutions,” added Toimbek.
The centre is working with medical, educational and housing institutions and plans to expand services. It also helps to work with local and international business associations to attract foreign workers.
“We have already received positive feedback on our services and genuinely believe AIFC Expat Centre can become an indispensable part of business infrastructure and contribute to increasing the investment attractiveness of Kazakhstan. The centre, established in line with current economic and political priorities, is also a reflection of Kazakh hospitality,” he added.