Kyrgyzstan's economy is rooted in its natural resources, with around a third of the country's GDP derived from agriculture. Other prominent industries include mining, manufacturing and exports.
Most expats will earn salaries far lower than what is possible in Western countries or other expat destinations in general. Still, the low cost of living eases financial pressure and, while expats aren't likely to become rich in Kyrgyzstan, they will be able to live comfortably while experiencing a new culture and working environment.
Job market in Kyrgyzstan
Expats working in Kyrgyzstan are mainly employed in the development sector, either for large, international organisations such as the United Nations and the European Commission, or for smaller non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
In addition to development opportunities, there are several foreign-owned mining companies operating in Kyrgyzstan. Native speakers of English, and of European languages to a lesser extent, are always in high demand for teaching positions across all education levels.
Finding a job in Kyrgyzstan
As most international organisations and NGOs are required to post job openings online, interested expats should research the websites of organisations and companies operating in Kyrgyzstan. It is not impossible to find such a position once in Kyrgyzstan, but most employers advertise and hire for positions based on online correspondence instead of looking for potential candidates who are already located in-country.
Every foreigner planning to work in Kyrgyzstan must have a valid work permit. Most employers will organise the visa and work permit, and expats should be wary of language schools and smaller organisations that do not assume this burden.
Work culture in Kyrgyzstan
The Kyrgyz work week is Monday to Friday, and the typical workday is eight to nine hours. Teachers could have an altered schedule depending on their class load. Punctuality is not an obvious aspect of business in Kyrgyzstan and, though expats should be punctual themselves, they should be prepared to plan meetings around other participants arriving at least 15 minutes late.
When preparing business cards to distribute in Kyrgyzstan, it is useful to have one's information printed in both English and Kyrgyz or Russian. Expats should dress smartly for business purposes and always remember to keep their shoes clean.
►For more on adjusting to life here see Culture Shock in Kyrgyzstan
Are you an expat living in Kyrgyzstan?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Kyrgyzstan. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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