SOME LEGAL ASPECTS RELATED TO FOREIGN CITIZENS IN TURKMENISTAN
The procedure of exit and entry and staying in Turkmenistan for foreign citizens (and persons without citizenship) as well as the registration of foreigners are regulated by the law of Turkmenistan “On legal position of foreign citizens in Turkmenistan” dated 08.10.1993., “On migration” dated 07.12.2005, by the decrees of the President of Turkmenistan № 6135 dated 21.02.2003 and №7367 dated 13.07.2005 and by approved regulations “On procedure of entry, exit and staying of foreign citizens in Turkmenistan” and “ On procedure of invitation of foreign citizens to Turkmenistan for temporary work”.
The laws and regulations define the below procedures:
а) entry of Turkmenistan and exit of Turkmenistan by foreign citizens;
b) transit journey of foreign citizens through the territory of Turkmenistan;
c) registration of foreign citizens for temporary staying in Turkmenistan;
d) traveling of foreign citizens all over the territory of Turkmenistan and choosing the abiding place in Turkmenistan;
e) punishment for the violation of the set procedures, reduction the period of staying in Turkmenistan and banishing from the country;
f) terms and procedure of issuing permissions for the invitation of foreign citizens to Turkmenistan for temporary work and extension the validity of invitations;
Foreign citizens staying in Turkmenistan must have their foreign passports or similar documents and a migration list and must submit them at the request of the authorized bodies of Turkmenistan.
In case of the loss of a foreign passport a foreign citizen must immediately inform the host company and law enforcement bodies in Turkmenistan of the case. The latter will provide the foreigner at his request with a related certificate.
While entering Turkmenistan foreign citizens fill in migration lists. There are three types of migration lists: transit, ordinary and for the simplified entry. Migration lists are filled in two copies, of is kept at the migration check point; the second one is kept by the foreigner and is submitted to the migration check point at the exit of Turkmenistan.
In case of the loss of a migration list its duplicate can only be issued at the migration check point.
Entry and exit of Turkmenistan by foreign citizens
Foreign citizens temporary entering Turkmenistan live either in hotels or in other dwelling spaces. They must prior inform of this the hosting companies, diplomatic representations and consular offices of the countries of their citizenship, representatives of international organizations and persons who invited them to Turkmenistan on private affairs.
The hosting companies in Turkmenistan are responsible for timely explanation of foreigners’ rights and responsibilities, following the set legal procedures related to foreign citizens, registration of foreigners and timely preparation of the documents giving the foreigners the right to stay, travel and exit Turkmenistan at the expiration date.
Those persons who invited foreign citizens on private matters and provided them with living areas are responsible for timely registration of foreign passports of these foreigners in the registration bodies domiciliary.
Those persons who invited foreign citizens must prior inform registration bodies of visa and registration expiration and help foreigners to exit Turkmenistan at the expiration date.
Foreign citizens entering Turkmenistan at private invitations by related visas can stay in Turkmenistan during the period mentioned in their visas.
Foreign citizens can entry and exit Turkmenistan through the migration check points at the State border of Turkmenistan open for international communication, having their valid foreign passports. Persons without any citizenship must submit related documents issued by competent bodies of the country of their residence and with related visas or permission received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan for further visa issuing. Entry visas are issued based on the decision of the Commission on visa issuing control.
Other entry and exit procedure can be in place according to the international agreements of Turkmenistan.
Foreign citizens being rewarded with the title of honor “An Honorable Citizen of Turkmenistan” can entry and exit Turkmenistan at the migration check points at the State border of Turkmenistan upon submission the certificate to their title of honor and their valid foreign passports or similar documents without visas.
Persons without any citizenship who live permanently in Turkmenistan and want to go abroad for the permanent dwelling abroad can leave the country upon exit visas.
Visas to entry Turkmenistan (entry visa) and to entry and exit Turkmenistan (entry-exit visa) are issued to the foreign citizens by the diplomatic representative agencies or consular offices of Turkmenistan abroad. Visas to entry Turkmenistan (entry visa) and to entry and exit Turkmenistan (entry-exit visa) are issued to the foreign citizens at the territory of Turkmenistan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan based on the decision of the Commission on visa issuing control.
Foreign citizens entering Turkmenistan to work, study or on private affairs for the period exceeding three months are issued visas upon submission of the medical certificate related to HIV/AIDS examination.
Upon the request of hosting companies of Turkmenistan foreign citizens may be given multiple entry-exit visas. The procedure for issuing such visas is defined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.
The procedure for preparing documents of foreigners entering Turkmenistan according to the simplified procedure is regulated by the international agreements of Turkmenistan.
The basis for exit and entry visa issue and its extension is:
For foreign citizens visiting Turkmenistan upon invitation of hosting companies of Turkmenistan and resident foreign representative offices - upon written applications of these companies and representative offices.
For foreign citizens visiting Turkmenistan on private affairs or for resident dwelling as well as for foreign citizens permanently living in Turkmenistan for their private trips abroad or in case of leaving Turkmenistan for permanent dwelling abroad – upon permission issued on the basis of these foreigners applications. Such permissions are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan;
Invitations of foreign citizens to visit Turkmenistan, issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan in two copies. The second copy is to be submitted upon entering Turkmenistan.
Other reasons stipulated by the international agreements of Turkmenistan.
Visa extension for foreign citizens is only possible upon previous registration stamps in the passports made by the State Service of Foreigners Registration of Turkmenistan.
In case of the loss of visas foreign citizens must immediately inform of this fact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.
Upon personal written applications of foreign citizens visiting Turkmenistan on private affairs or permanently living in Turkmenistan as well as upon written application of the hosting companies the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, based on the decision of the Committee on visa control, takes a decision on issuing exit visas to foreign citizens, upon notification of related authorities.
Registration of foreign citizens entering Turkmenistan on a temporary basis
Foreign citizens entering Turkmenistan on a temporary basis are registered and live in Turkmenistan using their foreign passports.
The State Service of Turkmenistan for Foreign Citizens Registration registers foreign citizens:
At the migration check points at the State border of Turkmenistan;
At the branches of the Service in velayats and cities.
Foreign citizens’ registration entering Turkmenistan by the simplified procedure for the period up to 5 days is made at the migration check points. Foreign citizens entering Turkmenistan by the simplified procedure must leave Turkmenistan through the same check point.
For transit purposes foreign citizens’ registration is made only at the migration check points in case they do not stay in Turkmenistan more than five days.
Foreign citizens entering Turkmenistan pay a registration fee of USD 10. Foreigners entering Turkmenistan by the simplified procedure according to the international agreements of Turkmenistan are exempted from this fee.
Foreign citizens entered Turkmenistan must be registered in the State Service of Turkmenistan for Foreign Citizens Registration within three days, excluding weekends and holidays.
Foreign citizens entered Turkmenistan as tourists are registered by the State Committee on Tourism and Sports of Turkmenistan.
Ministries and agencies inform the State Service of Turkmenistan for Foreign Citizens Registration of their registration of foreign citizens.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan registers foreign passports of:
Heads of foreign diplomatic representative offices and consular offices, members of the diplomatic personnel, consular offices staff, administrative and support staff of foreign diplomatic representative offices and consular offices, military attaché’s and trade representative offices staff and their spouses, children and parents be supported by the above persons, as well as guests of foreign diplomatic representative offices and consular offices if their guests live in their residents or at the territory of above foreign diplomatic representative offices and consular offices;
Staff of the foreign affairs agencies of foreign states visiting Turkmenistan on business and having diplomatic or business passports and the members of their families;
Representatives of international organizations visiting Turkmenistan on business, staff of the representative offices of the above mentioned international organizations in Turkmenistan and the staff of country representative offices at the international organizations having HQ in Turkmenistan, who have diplomatic immunity and privileges according to the Statutory documents of these organizations or international agreements, and the members of their families;
Those persons who come to Turkmenistan with UN passports if they are going to stay in Turkmenistan for more than five days;
Foreign journalists registered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and their family members.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan either issues accreditation cards or makes a registration record in the passports of the above persons.
Persons mentioned in this paragraph are exempted form the registration in the State Service of Turkmenistan on the Registration of Foreign Citizens.
The following persons are exempted from registration:
Heads of states, Parliaments and Governments of foreign states, members of government and parliament delegations visiting Turkmenistan at the invitation of the President of Turkmenistan, Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, the staff of these delegations and their family members;
Heads and members of the intergovernmental international organizations visiting Turkmenistan at the invitation of the President of Turkmenistan, Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, Mejlise (Parliament) of Turkmenistan, the staff of these delegations and their family members;
Crew members of foreign military ships and aircrafts coming to Turkmenistan according to the set procedure;
Permission to walk to the shore and move inside the territory of Turkmenistan for the crew members of military ships (military aircrafts) is given by senior maritime (military) officer at the port (garrison) of Turkmenistan according to the plan of receiving coming ships (military aircrafts).
Crew members of foreign non-military sea (river) ships during their stay at the ports and port cities of Turkmenistan and for the arrangement of trips for these persons to other cities of Turkmenistan.
The State Service of Turkmenistan on the Registration of Foreign Citizens gives permission to these persons to leave their ships according to the current rules and regulations in force at these ports.
Crew members of civil airplanes of international airlines and international trains. The State Service of Turkmenistan on the Registration of Foreign Citizens gives permissions to crew members to leave airports and railway stations according to the current rules and regulations in force at these airports and stations.
Foreign citizens can obtain multiple entry/exit visas at the request of hosting company.
All the above mentions foreign citizens are exempted from the registration fee.
Responsibility for violation. Reduction of the period of staying in Turkmenistan and exclusion of foreign citizens from Turkmenistan
Foreign citizens are held responsible for the violation of the requirements according to the law of Turkmenistan “On the legal status of foreign citizens in Turkmenistan” the Code of Turkmenistan on administrative delinquency.
Reduction of the period of staying in Turkmenistan and expelling foreign citizens from the country are performed according to Articles 30 and 31 of the law of Turkmenistan “On the legal statue of foreign citizens in Turkmenistan” .
Article 30. Reduction of the period of staying in Turkmenistan
If a foreign citizen violates the regulations on the legal status of foreigners in Turkmenistan his period of staying in Turkmenistan can be reduced.
This period can also be reduced if there is no reason for further extension.
The decision on the reduction of the period of staying in Turkmenistan is taken by the internal affairs agencies.
Article 31. Expelling from Turkmenistan
A foreign citizen can be expelled from Turkmenistan:
· In case his activity contradicts the national security or public order;
· If it is necessary for health care of the population, on moral issues, or for protection of rights and interests of the citizens of Turkmenistan;
· In case he violated the regulations on the legal status of foreigners in Turkmenistan, customs, foreign exchange or any other regulation of Turkmenistan.
The decision on exclusion from Turkmenistan is taken by the internal affairs agencies. A foreigner must leave the country within the period mentioned in such decision. Those who try to escape and stay in the country are subject to be arrested and compulsory expelled from Turkmenistan. They can be arrested for the period necessary to perform the procedure of exclusion.
The decision of the reduction of the period of staying in Turkmenistan and exclusion from the country is taken by the registration service.
Hosting companies must immediately apply to registration bodies for exclusion in case the foreign citizens visited the country at their invitations.
Exclusion of foreign citizens from Turkmenistan on the basis of the decisions taken is performed by the registration service according to Article 31 of the law of Turkmenistan “On legal status of foreign citizens in Turkmenistan”.
All the related expenses are at the account of foreigners, hosting companies and individuals that invited foreign citizens to Turkmenistan.
A foreign citizen has the right to appeal the decision on exclusion or reduction of the period of staying in Turkmenistan.
The following penalties are applied in order to raise the responsibility for the violation of the entry/exit procedures and the order of the staying of foreigners in Turkmenistan:
for the violation of the entry/exit procedures and the order of the staying of foreign citizens and persons without any citizenship in Turkmenistan the penalty in amount of 10-20 minimal salaries is to be paid or exclusion from Turkmenistan with further entry restriction for the period up to 5 years;
for the violation of the set procedure for registration, visas issue and extension, preparation the documents for the staying in Turkmenistan, movement along the territory of Turkmenistan and change the place of living by the officials of hosting companies of all forms of ownership the penalty in amount of 10-20 minimal salaries is to be paid;
in case citizens of Turkmenistan who invite foreign citizens and persons without any citizenship to Turkmenistan on private matters do not register then in time and do not take measures for their timely exit Turkmenistan after their visas expiration, or violate the rules on providing foreign citizens and persons without any citizenship with dwelling, transportation or any other services the penalty is paid in amount of 10-20 minimal salaries.
Invitation of foreign citizens for temporary work in Turkmenistan
Invitation of foreign citizens for temporary work in Turkmenistan can be made by the companies of Turkmenistan of all forms of ownership, foreign company in Turkmenistan, their branches and agencies, individuals of Turkmenistan using the wage labor.
The decision on issuing or rejection the invitation and extension are made by the Committee supervising the procedure of invitation for temporary work foreign citizens. The President of Turkmenistan approves the members of the Committee.
Based on the decisions of this Committee the State Service of Turkmenistan on Foreign Citizens Registration issues permissions to employers to invite foreign workers for temporary work, and confirmations to foreign workers of their rights to work in Turkmenistan. Head of this Service signs the above documents.
The major activity of this Committee is to study the documents and make decisions to issue permissions to employers to invite foreign workers for temporary work and to supervise the compliance with labor legislation.
Foreign citizens visiting Turkmenistan to perform their professional activity, including private entrepreneurs, with registration certificates have the right to work on the territory of Turkmenistan on the basis of permissions given to employers and confirmations given to foreign workers.
Upon receiving permissions and confirmations employers and foreign citizens submit written obligation to follow the rules of staying in Turkmenistan by foreign workers.
The State Service of Turkmenistan on Foreign Citizens Registration follows the principal of the priority of the citizens of Turkmenistan to be employed in case of vacancies available as well as the principle of shares of workers from Turkmenistan and foreign workers. The number of foreigners should not exceed 30% of the total number of workers.
Under this condition wages and salaries, labor protection, social security and insurance of foreign workers are defined by the legislation of Turkmenistan and international agreements.
Conditions and procedure for issuing permissions
Decisions on permissions to invite foreign workers for temporary work to Turkmenistan and extension the period of work are taken base on the consideration of the documents submitted by the employer within 30 days.
In case there is a need in additional documents or in a check the decision is made within 15 days after submission additional information.
In order to receive the permission or extend its validity the employer submits the following documents to the State Service of Turkmenistan on Foreign Citizens Registration:
Application with reasons to invite foreign workers to Turkmenistan;
List of workers according to set form;
Copies of constituent documents of an employer or a patent;
Legal entities submit statement from the unified state register of legal entities confirmed by the State Service of Turkmenistan on Foreign Citizens Registration;
Certificate from the Main State Tax Agency of Turkmenistan on the absence of arrears on taxes and charges;
Copy of the contract, protocol of intention, labor agreement or a contract with foreign legal and physical entities on intentions and conditions for foreign workers invitation. The documents should be registered and reflect the specifications of the works under implementation;
Copy of the education certificate and profession of a foreign worker that should comply with the position and type of work he is invited to perform;
Inquiry form for foreign worker with his picture of 3x4cm;
Bank certificate on the payment of set charge for the permission;
Medical certificate on HIV/AIDS examination in case a foreign worker is invited for the period of more than three months.
In case a foreign specialist is invited to the manager position (in a company, construction site, division, workshop, etc) copies of the certificates of his positions for the last 5 years should be attached to the invitation.
For issuing permission and extension of its validity the employer pays average salary set in Turkmenistan for each invited worker.
Decision to reject the invitation or extension must be justified. It is sent to the employer within 5 days.
The employer can apply to the court (kazyet) if he does not agree with refusal.
The documents can be submitted again after six months since the date of refusal. As an exemption the Committee can consider the documents earlier.
The permission can be rejected in the following cases:
A foreign worker is invited to perform the work that does not need high qualification, professional training and specific knowledge;
To perform the work that is not stipulated by the Charter;
The number of workers invited exceeds the set quota
Permissions are issued for 6 months. Application for extension should be submitted a month prior the expiration date. Extension can be given for 6 months maximum.
In case the employer violates the set procedure for documents submissions his documents shall not be considered.
Invitation of foreign citizens for temporary work in Turkmenistan by ministries and agencies of Turkmenistan are issued upon the permission of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan.
Confirmation and permission should be consistent in duration.
The permission can not be given to other employers. A foreign worker can move from one employer to another upon the permission of the State Service of Turkmenistan on Foreign Citizens Registration.
In case the employer violates the set conditions or the legislation of Turkmenistan leading to the infringement of the rights of the citizens of Turkmenistan the State Service of Turkmenistan on Foreign Citizens Registration can suspend the permission until such violations are remedied. In case there are no changes in the set period the Committee cancels the permission.
In case of the violation by foreign workers the set procedure for invitation and staying in Turkmenistan they bear responsibility according to the legislation of Turkmenistan.
The permission can be cancelled without prior notification of the employer in case of any threat to the people’s life or harm to their health due to the activity or inactivity by the employer.
In all the cases of termination or cancellation the funds paid are not reimbursed.
In case the employer terminates his activity or reduces the number or workers the permission becomes invalid irrespective of its validity.
Foreign citizens visiting Turkmenistan to perform their professional activity and being employed with a violation of the set rules are subject to exclusion from the country at the expense of the employer.
Duration of work of foreign workers should not exceed the validity of permission and confirmation.
Foreign workers in their employment relations have the same rights and obligations as the citizens of Turkmenistan.
Contracts (labor agreements) made between employers and foreign workers in accordance with the legislation of Turkmenistan stipulate the order for the foreign citizens’ work in Turkmenistan.
The contract (labor agreements) should include:
Major information of the employer and employee, subject of the contract, its duration, terms of labor payment, working hours and days off, life insurance from accidents on site;
Fulfillment of obligations and responsibility of the parties;
Other terms of the contract are determined by the parties;
Upon receiving the permissions employers should submit to the State Service of Turkmenistan on Foreign Citizens Registration information about contracts concluded within two weeks.
The State Service of Turkmenistan on Foreign Citizens Registration is responsible for compliance with legislation of Turkmenistan of all related issues. The Service reports on a quarterly basis to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, Ministry of Economy and Finance, National Institute of State Statistics about professional composition of foreign workers, periods of their work in Turkmenistan and employers.
The set procedure for permissions and confirmations set in the above Regulations is not applicable to the following foreigners:
Officially recognized refugees;
Persons who received residence permit in Turkmenistan;
Persons who applied for refugee status received permission for temporary dwelling;
Personnel of diplomatic representations and consular officers of foreign states and international organizations accredited in Turkmenistan;
Official representatives of international, humanitarian, charity organizations, scientists, education officials and cultural officials working in Turkmenistan in the offices set according to the international agreements;
Correspondents and journalists accredited in Turkmenistan;
Religious officials performing their activity in the religious organizations and societies registered in Turkmenistan;
Lecturers and instructors invited by the ministries and agencies upon agreement of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan to deliver lectures;
Foreigners visiting Turkmenistan by private or business visas;
Persons, subject to different labor procedure according to the international agreements.