What has changed in the sphere of external labour migration in Belarus since 1 July 2023?

On 1 July 2023, a new version of the Law of the Republic of Belarus of 30.12.2010 No. 225-Z "On External Labour Migration" (hereinafter - the Law) came into force, which adjusted the rules of employment of Belarusian citizens abroad and attraction of foreign labour force. 

 In this regard, let us consider the main changes that affected the rules of admission of foreign citizens to a Belarusian employer and the conditions of employment of citizens outside Belarus.

The conditions for classifying a foreign worker as highly qualified have been amended

Thus, the requirements for the amount of monthly salary for a person to be recognised as a highly qualified worker have been reduced. Now a foreigner is considered a highly qualified worker: 

  • having a high level of professional knowledge, skills and abilities, confirmed by documents on education, work experience in the relevant type of professional activity for at least 5 years, 
  • with the amount of the monthly salary specified in the labour contract exceeding 5 times the monthly minimum wage (MWP) established in the Republic of Belarus (previously this indicator should exceed 15 times). 

At the time of publication of this material the amount of MZP in Belarus is 554.00 BYR. 

Clarification of the scope of the Law

The Law expands the categories of foreigners who are not subject to the requirements of Chapter 4 regulating the issues of labour activity of immigrant workers in Belarus. These include, in particular, the following categories:

  • professional athletes competing for the Republic of Belarus in international sports competitions, professional coaches who train athletes and supervise their training and (or) competition activities;
  • seconded to work in representative offices of foreign organisations for a period of up to 2 months;
  • who are seasonal workers and employed under labour contracts in agriculture for a period not exceeding 6 months in a calendar year, etc.

The need to obtain special permits for certain positions is abolished

Thus, the Law details the competence of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection (hereinafter - the Ministry of Labour) and now the Ministry of Labour is empowered to determine by 1 February of the year following the expired calendar year, the list of professions of workers (positions of employees) for which foreigners are hired without taking into account the restrictions on the protection of the national labour market (hereinafter - the List).

Cancellation of the permit to hire foreign labour force (hereinafter referred to as the Permit)

Under previous legislation, a Belarusian employer was required to obtain a Permit to employ more than 10 foreigners who did not have permanent residence permits in Belarus. 

Now this requirement is excluded from the Law. Permits issued before the entry into force of the new version of the Law ceased to be valid as of 01.07.2023. Employers were obliged to return the permits to the citizenship and migration units at their location no later than 01.08.2023.

Establishing requirements for managers of commercial organisations who do not need to obtain a special permit for the right to engage in labour activities in Belarus (hereinafter - Special Permit)

Previously, a foreign manager of a commercial organisation in the creation of which he participated (as an owner of property, founder or participant) was not required to obtain a Special Permit.

Now, however, this rule only applies if the following conditions are present:

  • the manager has professional knowledge, skills and abilities, which is confirmed by education documents and work experience of at least 2 years, 
  • the amount of his/her monthly salary must exceed 5 times the monthly minimum wage established in the Republic of Belarus.

Regulating the employment of minors abroad

Previously, the Law did not contain norms regulating the peculiarities of labour activity of underage workers with foreign employers. This gap has been eliminated in the new version of the Law, Article 21 of which defines the procedure and conditions for such employment.
Specifically, the Act defines:

  • grounds for employment of underage workers;
  • guarantees in the case of minor workers staying abroad without legal representatives;
  • consequences of the occurrence of circumstances preventing them from performing their labour duties, etc.

Amendments concerning issues of concluding a labour contract with a foreign worker

The new version of the Law contains a reservation that only a fixed-term labour contract may be concluded with an immigrant worker, with the exception of a contract. The mandatory terms and conditions of such a labour contract have been partially changed. Now, instead of the procedure and grounds for termination, amendment and extension, the employment contract must contain the amount of wages not lower than the minimum wage in force in the Republic of Belarus on the date of conclusion of the employment contract.

At the same time, the employer is obliged to notify in writing the citizenship and migration units at its location of the conclusion (extension) and termination of the employment contract with any foreign worker within 3 working days from the date of occurrence of the relevant event.
In addition, provided that all of the following conditions are met, the parties to a labour contract may elect the law applicable to it if the contract is concluded:

  • in the territory of a foreign country;
  • between the immigrant worker and the foreign employer;
  • to work in the representative office of this foreign organisation in Belarus.

Previously, such an employment contract could only be concluded under the law of the state in which the foreign organisation was located.

Addition of the list of grounds for cancellation of a Special Permit

Thus, the list now contains such additional grounds for cancellation as:

  • detection of the fact that the immigrant worker has not carried out labour activity for 6 months, including at the declared place of work;
  • failure to conclude an employment contract within 6 months after obtaining a special permit;
  • non-payment by the employer of the Republic of Belarus of compulsory insurance contributions to the budget of the State extra-budgetary fund for the social protection of the population of the Republic of Belarus during the period of employment of an immigrant worker in cases where payment of such contributions is compulsory;
  • loss or theft of the special permit form;
  • expiry of the special authorisation;
  • inclusion of the occupation of a worker (position of an employee) for which an immigrant worker whose labour contract has not been terminated in the List.

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