Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Английский язык в группе и индивидуально в Астане - English Class in Astana

Hello All, We have started an institute to offer English Language in Astana. The website is under construction and till the time, we do not have a dedicated website, we will provide you information from this blog and from other social media.

In Instagram, we have profile under "Astana English" and our handle is Astana_English_Teacher. Similarly, we will be launching our facebook, VK and twitter account soon.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Английский язык в группе и индивидуально

АНГЛИЙСКИЙ ЯЗЫК В ГРУППЕ И ИНДИВИДУАЛЬНО в Астане (Английский язык Класс в Астане)

город: Астана, Кенесары ул 4, Астана - 010000

·         Английский язык для всех от нулевого до продвинутого уровня/ Бизнес английский
·         Индивидуальные и групповые занятия
·         Cовершенствование грамматики и словарного запаса
Раджиб Дахал (учитель из Индии)
Instagram: astana_english_teacher

Репетитор по английскому языку.
Носитель английского языка и хинди (Индия).

Район: Есильский. Выезд по Астане.
Плюс: дистанционные занятия.
Английский язык

Saturday, October 3, 2015

How to get Permanent Residence in Kazakhstan?

A slightly different version of this Article has been published in Caravanistan - A Silk Route Forum. The article you can read here by following the link.

Or, in my blog below, a little longer version of it can be read on how to get Permanent Residence in Kazakhstan. If you are a foreigner looking for settling down in Kazakhstan by obtaining Permanent residence in Kazakhstan, please read this blog.

Kazakhstan Permanent Residency

Most of the foreigners who have got married with Kazakh Man or Woman may like to settle down in

Kazakhstan. Kazakh Government provides "Permanent Residence" card for such people and it will be

valid till the expiry of Passport of such foreigners. In the process, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the

Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Security Council (NSC, they are also called KNB or Kazakh

KGB in popular discourse), and migration police are involved.

The foreigners need to apply from the embassies or consulates of Republic of Kazakhstan (RoK)

located in their countries or in consulates/embassies located in nearest other country which looks after

such foreigners' country.

The process will take 2 months to 10 months in average but there is no definite guarantee within

which such applicant gets "Permanent Residence" of Kazakhstan. There is little clarity and a lot of

confusion due to involvement of multiple agencies in the process.

I have compiled below the list of documents required based on my experience. The information is

collected from different sources and I hope it helps to people looking to apply for Permanent

Residency in Kazakhstan.

The following documents are required from the applicant who is looking to apply for

Permanent Residency in Kazakhstan:

1. Duly filled application form;

2.  Consent of a national of the Republic of Kazakhstan (inviting party)  allowing the foreigner

to stay in the flat or house owned by the inviting party;

3. Copies of documents confirming permanent residence of an inviting party in the Republic of


4. Document confirming an exit permit for permanent residence abroad issued by the competent

authority of the state of nationality or permanent residence of an applicant;

5. Document confirming financial solvency during the period of stay in the Republic of


6. Statement of good health of an applicant and his/her family members in respect of illnesses

mentioned in the list of illnesses, which incidence prohibits the entry of foreigners and

stateless persons in the Republic of Kazakhstan;

7. Statement of presence (absence) of convictions.

In theory, above 7 documents should be sufficient to get the permanent residence. However, there is

every chance that the authorities may ask additional documents or above documents in specific

formats or should contain particular language or phrase.

After you submit the documents in the consulates or embassies outside Kazakhstan, the consular will

take your interview and will forward the documents to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) along with

his comments and recommendations. MFA will send it to Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and MIA

to National Security Council (NSC). The final decision maker is NSC based on your documents and

based on the inputs provided by Consular, MFA & MIA.

Once the decision is made, NSC forwards it to MIA, MIA to MFA and MFA to Consulates/Embassy

from where you applied. Consulate will inform you but in practice, it is suggested to contact

Consulate every week or on fortnight basis.

After the decision reaches Consulate (and if it is positive!), you need to apply for J2 Visa (applicable

to most of the foreigners) from the consulate which will be valid for 90 days. The moment you land at

Kazakhstan, the final leg of application for Permanent Residency Card starts which will take

approximately 40 days. That is the end of getting Permanent Residency in Kazakhstan. Keep in mind

that getting J2 Visa is not equivalent to getting Permanent Residency. J2 Visa expires within 90 days

and you must get Permanent Residency Card within those 90 days.

Wishing you all the very best!

I intend to run a small consultancy to advise you on PR Process by charging a small fee. Please feel

free to contact me via comments.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

De-dollarisation of Kazakhstan Economy - some thoughts

I have read many news in the past that the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has stressed to work for de-dollarisation of economy. This means making people trust more on Tenge, and gradually phasing out dollars in local economy. This is absolutely required as highlighted by US Ambassador recently where he urged people to think in "Tenge".

I am writing on Kazakh Tenge for the past few weeks and had promised in this post that I will write something on what Kazakh Government can do. Here is my post on how to achieve de-dollarisation in Kazakh economy and its advantages.

I had mentioned previously that Kazakhstan is too liberal to allow to hold foreign currency to domestic population and there is a need to tighten legal provisions in the country to introduce de-dollarisation. I will argue it with some examples.

Let us first of all see what authorities are saying on the need of "de-dollarisation".

Here is a news published in Astana Times mentioning that the National Bank of Kazakhstan Head (National Bank Chairman Kairat Kelimbetov) is committed to do de-dollarisation step by step. Two interesting things have been mentioned in the news. They are: 1. there is no attempt to stop the dollar transaction completely, 2. the prescribed rate of interests in USD deposit can not be more than 3%. These attempts are partially good. The similar news was reported by

The news have also said that Kazakh authorities have mandated that the prices of the goods should be compulsorily mentioned in Kazakh, and not in USD.

Now, let me prescribe some ideas how Kazakhstan can implement de-dollarisation in this country.

1. Stop foreign currency deposit schemes: What I have seen in Kazakhstan is that it's easy to open fixed deposit bank account in foreign currencies (like in USD, EUR, GBP etc.) by anyone if he/she has a tax number. It is very shocking. Yes, it was a shocking revelation to me as in India, foreign currency account is not popular as there are restrictions.

In this respect, Kazakhstan is very liberal and it needs to move to slightly restricted regime.

So, it is time not to allow anyone (at least to citizens and permanent residents of Kazakhstan) to open fixed deposit in foreign currency. Therefore, government of Kazakhstan should give notice to all foreign currency deposit holders to convert their deposit to tenge within say 6-9 months and on certain cut-off date, the deposit will automatically convert to tenge account by applying the market rate of exchange of that day. National Bank of Kazakhstan can instruct with respect to rate of interest for such deposits which are made from conversion of foreign currency to Tenge. It may look harsh but this is in national interest and is absolutely required.

There can be small exceptions in this regard like in India but this exception will not be popular. This will have a positive impact on de-dollarisation policy of Kazakhstan. In India, there is a concept called Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) Account. It can be held by residents as current accounts in foreign currencies. So, first of all, this will be a current account and no interest will be paid. Secondly, in India, only maximum amount of USD 2,000 per person can be deposited in Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) Account. Kazakhstan can replicate the similar model where per person 2000-5000 USD may be allowed to be kept in Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) Account. I am sure such accounts where there will be no interests given will not be popular among the Kazakh masses and it will bring a positive impact on the de-dollarisation.

When it comes to Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) Account, Kazakhstan can replicate the similar model as in India. For example, what should be the source of money which goes to Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) Account? Can you buy some foreign currency in the bank or in open market and open a Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) Account? The answer is "No" in India.

The Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) Account in India should be funded out of foreign exchange repatriated from abroad. So, the source of such foreign currency should be abroad. For example, you could have sold your shares, or property outside the country, or should have got as a salary or wages outside country, or should have received as gifts/presents from someone outside country. Therefore, only such foreign currencies which were earned or gained outside Kazakhstan should be allowed to form part of Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) Account in Kazakhstan to achieve de-dollarisation

The source of fund for Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) Account can also be such foreign currency which is legally acquired for travel abroad and brought back unspent. However, such amount should be within the overall cap/limit (say USD 2000-50000).

2. Control Foreign Currency Exchange Facilities: Let me narrate my experience from India. I have never been able to buy foreign currency from Government Banks/Public Sector Enterprises Bank/PSU Bank/ Banks owned by Governments in India. I am not saying it is wonderful. Indian practice is too rigid. When it comes to Kazakhstan, I find it too open and liberal.

In India, the private money exchange rate determined by individuals freely will be unfavourable to the public but most of the times, they are the only source of buying forex. If you manage to go to Private Banks, they will sell forex after some inquiries but will make you go through the documentation.

As compared to Indian practice, the practice in Kazakhstan is very smooth and easy. You can go over the Counter of any bank or private money exchange and can easily sell or buy foreign currency in Kazakhstan. I feel there is a need of slight restriction on this practice.

One practice they can bring from India is requirement of having valid Visa before buying Forex and requirement of proof of recent Visa/travel from foreign countries. This will check a lot of forex transactions. I know a country like Nepal, where the forex seller has also to stamp on the last page of passport (Nepali Passport Holder) mentioning the amount of forex bought by him in Nepal. So, Kazakhstan can think of mixed model while buying/selling of forex. At least, it can make holding of Valid Visa mandatory to buy foreign currency with certain exceptions when the buyer is intending to travel to Visa free countries.

3. Prohibition on Loan facility in Foreign Currency: I have read that almost 30% of Kazakh loans are in foreign currency. This is surprising to me as why a Country like Kazakhstan having its own Currency - Kazakh Tenge - needs to make loan facility in foreign currency. The people who have taken loan on USD/foreign currency are going to get suffered by this current devaluation and it may bring some instability in financial market as certain portion of debt may be "bad debts". Therefore, there is a need to put strict guidelines on extending loan facility in foreign currency.

I will draw my example again from India. In India, only those businesses which are engaged in imports-exports of goods and services are allowed to take loan on foreign currency. The bank will extend such loans only after studying the credit rating of those businesses. The credit ratings are obtained from International Credit Rating Agencies. Therefore, in practice only the well established big business houses/corporates can avail the facility of loan in foreign currency in India.

For the common man who wants to buy the flat in Mumbai or Delhi, or even the housing colony developer can not access such loans. Whereas in Kazakhstan, any normal salary earning person can get loan in USD and I have seen even a medium scale businessman getting loan easily in USD/foreign currency. I think Kazakhstan should think of revising its policy.

Kazakhstan must implement above three policies among others for de-dollarisation of Kazakh economy.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, August 24, 2015

How Russia and China are affecting Kazakhstan and its currency #Tenge?

By this time, you must have been made aware by someone (by TV, FM, by Internet) that on August 20, Kazakhstan allowed its currency tenge to devalue and left the exchange rate to markets. That means the past practice of maintaining currency band by the national bank has been abandoned. This new development of Kazakh policy has pushed #tenge from 187 per dollar to 255 per dollar.

Mostly, why economies expand or contract depend mostly on its own economy like situation of forex reserves, ability to pay its external loans, export data, industrial output data, local/domestic economy etc. All these factors are responsible this time to bring tenge down from 187 to 255.

However, it must be understood that there were few external factors responsible for devaluation of Kazakhstan Tenge. First of all, the reduction on price of oil was the biggest culprits as it has affected the foreign currency earnings of Kazakhstan. On this scenario, Kazakhstan could not have done much as prices of crude oil is falling everywhere and it is not on its hand. War will help to put the price up but that is not a desirable option and it is unlikely any major war anywhere in the world will erupt any time soon. Ok! I am kidding. The point is Kazakh Government does not have much say on its stumbling prices of oils. This had definitely put pressure on Kazakh #Tenge and it had to be devalued slowly.

On the top of this pressure, the move by Russian and Chinese authorities to let it devalue/devalue their currency added extra pressure on tenge. The exports from China and Russia became cheaper due to sliding of Yuan and Rouble and #Kazakhstan had no other options than let the #Tenge devalue. Government has adopted a good mechanism by handing the currency to the market forces so that tenge can find its stability there.

You must be aware that #Kazakhstan #Tenge is not the only currency that has devalued due to China's deliberate move of devaluing Yuan. Due to China's deliberate move, and due to Russia's free falling #Rouble, other Asian countries' currencies are also falling either by market forces (where free floating exchange rate is adopted) or government is intervening to devalue them.

For example, look at this Bloomberg Article which writes on the devaluation of Vietnamese currency (dong) by government and losses made by other currencies like of Rand (South African Currency) and Lira (Turkey's Currency) in markets. The article also talks of chances of devaluation in other countries' currencies. So, it seems currency devaluation is a global phenomenon at the moment.

This is the last part of my commentary on #tenge devaluation by Kazakhstan in 2015. I will closely watch the Kazakh currency market and will come with other articles soon in the future. So, If you are keen to know more on Kazakh Currency devaluation, keep visiting my blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Challenges for the Kazakhstan Economy and to the Kazakh Tenge

You can read this article in Chicago Tribune which summarizes the current economic situation in Kazakhstan. On the light of yesterday's (20 August, 2015) decision of Kazakhstan Government and National Bank of Kazakhstan not to intervene in the exchange rate determination, the Kazakh currency #tenge has fallen by 30% to 255 KZT/Dollar. Since the Kazakhstan has adopted completely free market model and has opted for free floating exchange model, any further appreciation or depreciation of #tenge will depend mostly on the economic conditions of the country. On 21 August, 2015, #Tenge was seen selling in Astana for 237 KZT/USD and thereby has recovered by small margin.

Let us think of what are the factors that have bearing on rate of #tenge in the future:

1. Probability of earning of foreign currency: Kazakhstan's biggest export is natural oil & gases. Kazakhstan earns maximum foreign currency by exporting oils to different countries like to Russia and Ukraine. Unfortunately, the prices of oil is falling and therefore, it will hurt the foreign currency reserves of Kazakhstan. The less amount of USD the country has, the more price we/business have to pay for each Forex thereby evaluating Forex better than national currency. As the market experts are telling us that the price of oil may be around 30-40 USD per barrel in near future, the President of Kazakhstan is absolutely right to tell that economic planning should be done on the basis of "new economic realities". The news reports also told us that the exports of #Kazakhstan has slumped by 75% in first half of 2015. This is not a good sign and will play a role to depreciate #Tenge further.

2. Diversification of Exports: I have already stated above that the main exports of Kazakhstan is oil & gas. This is the time Kazakhstan should desperately look for new targets of exports. New goods should be produced, and new markets should be discovered. Therefore, there needs to be revolution in manufacturing, and agricultural exports. Kazakhstan should start thinking if they can manufacture cars, machineries, sports equipments, electronic gadgets and the list will go on and exports them. This is not a task that anyone can do overnight. Expo-2017 in Astana should be aligned with this objective.

3. Introduction/Entry of Eurasian Economic Union and in WTO: The entry to the WTO is too early to talk about.

Let us focus on Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). It has created a free market for all the trading partners. This is good for the champions of free market enterprises. However, it will create a price wars. Ultimately, consumers will benefit but it can also dent economy. There is a talk that goods manufactured in Russia are cheaper and are entering to Kazakhstan. This has hurt the local Kazakh industries as their goods are not competitive in domestic markets and for the exports.

There is a no easy solution for this except that the Kazakh Companies should work on cost reduction and making their products competitive. Unless the domestic markets (at least domestic markets) are made self reliant, the flight of currency continues and it will hurt the country in the long run. Kazakhstan Government will have a role here to create exports oriented units, special economic zones and various exemptions can be granted something like imports duty exemption on Capital Expenditure (on imports of machinery, plants etc.), no income tax for first 10 years of production etc. Foreign companies should be lured to invest in Kazakhstan and export their products.

4. Economic Conditions of trading partners: The problem explained above at No. 3 will get further aggravated by the economic conditions of trading partners. The important trading partners of Kazakhstan are Russia and China and both are showing sign of slowing down. Russia is caught in the problems partially created by itself and to some extent, fueled by the West. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has created the mess in Russian economy and its currency Ruble is sliding. Also, China did not want to lag much behind when its data of exports were not great and intervened to devalue its currency Yuan to give boost to the exports.

Naturally, once the Russian and Chinese currencies are devalued, exports from these two countries to Kazakhstan has gone up putting enormous pressure on Kazakh #tenge (In terms of exact data, the effect after Yuan devaluation is yet to be seen.My arguments are based on presumption for the future.). To absorb such pressure, Government of Kazakhstan did not have any other options than devaluing of #tenge. At this time, #Kazakhstan has gone one step ahead and has not only allowed #tenge to devalue, it has left the #tenge at the mercy of markets. This is a good and positive step and #tenge will find its own sustainable rate in the future based on economic data.

The Article in Chicago Tribune also states the current condition as follows:

The ruble's slide led Kazakhstan to witness an influx of grain, metals, construction materials, oil products and coal from its northern neighbor, according to Kazakh business association Atameken.  

By the current depreciation of #tenge, this problem should be addressed to some extent.

The more on the #Kazakhstan's economy and the course that is likely to be taken by #tenge will be on my next blogpost.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Does devaluation/depreciation of Kazakh Tenge bring inflation/increase of price of goods?

Does devaluation/depreciation of Kazakh Tenge bring inflation/increase of price of goods?

I think this question should be the most important one for the people residing in Kazakhstan at the moment. Will the fall of #tenge cause the price rise of the goods?

Before answering this question based on economic principles, let us see what the authorities are saying on the subject.

Tengrinews reported the Prime Minister Karim Massimov as saying “From August 20 the National Bank and the Government have decided to implement a new monetary policy based on inflation targeting and to renounce the earlier practiced currency corridor”, the country’s PM Karim Massimov said in the government sitting today.

The PM further said “The new exchange rate dependent on supply and demand will put in place conditions for the economy to recover, galvanizing lending and investment operations and enabling to create jobs and reduce the inflation rate down to 3-4%”.

So, PM seems to suggest that the new monetary policy (free floating exchange rate) will have a positive effect on the market when it comes to inflation by keeping the inflation low to the range of 3-5%. This shows that government believes there will not be increase in price of goods and that will not be allowed after the introduction of new monetary policy.

Another report here says that the PM has instructed to the country’s regional governors to prevent price hikes for basic necessities in the nearest time. PM is quoted as saying, “We will make sure there will be no sharp price hikes for essentials. In the longer run, I believe prices should be set by the market forces”.

As per this press briefing, PM thinks inflation will be caused due to new monetary policy but government is committed to make necessary intervention to keep prices low. So, what PM says is that there will not be sudden and sharp rise of prices in Kazakhstan in the short run as government is committed to control inflation but slow price rise in the long run may be possible due to market factors.

Now, let us analyse the situation from economic perspective.

If you read my first post on Kazakh #tenge HERE, you will see that I have attempted to say how devaluation and inflation are not directly related to each other. I know in my previous post, I could not make the point very clear as issue required a separate comment. Hence, I am going to repeat the basic economics before we move forward.

Inflation is caused by excessive money in the market, i.e. due to high liquidity. Because everyone has enough or too much money, the value of extra unit of currency goes down due to "Principle of diminishing marginal utility" and its purchasing power goes down. So, goods are going to become stronger. Here, the national currency of a country is compared with its purchasing power in the same economy. In contrast to that, devaluation or depreciation is a term where one currency of a country is compared with another different currency. It takes into consideration the purchasing power of one currency with respect to purchasing power of another currency. The ability of one currency to buy goods is secondary when we talk of devaluation/depreciation of a currency. However, having said so, any depreciation/devaluation of currency in practice leads to reduction of its purchasing power even within domestic markets. So, Inflation is a likely outcome when rest of the parameters are constant.

Kazakh PM has stated that he would take the measures of inflation control. That essentially means inflation is a likely scenario when devaluation happens. That is where Kazakh Government wants to intervene.

One way to control inflation is to reduce the money in the markets. So, if you are expecting your salary to rise or readjustment to happen, that is where I have a doubt. It is unlikely to happen any time soon. Logic is simple: if you have too much money on your hand, there is a high chance of your spending it. The more money you earn and spend, the more inflation it can cause and can depreciate #tenge further. So, any adjustment or hike of salary is unlikely in the next 4-6 months in my opinion.

What other measures governments can take to control inflation?

  • Increase the interest rates on the loans,
  • Increase the deposit rates (interest rates on fixed deposits) so that you are encouraged to save more and spend less
  • By offering attractive investment plans, like issuance of government bonds, selling share of government companies to public, by increasing interest rate of pension funds but also by increasing its lock-up period
  • National Bank of Kazakhstan may direct Banks to maintain certain amount as reserves/increasing the reserve ratios - so that less money is available for distribution as loans to publics/companies
  • by slashing public spending/unnecessary spending etc.

By employing the above measures, Kazakh Government can contain the inflation for some time and thereafter market forces will determine if costs of goods should go up.

If you see the last point on the measures to be taken for inflation, i.e. by slashing public spending/unnecessary spending etc., this is where there will be a great challenge to balance economic growth vs. inflation. When government reduces its spending, that means there will be low job creation, less hike in salary, less employment and slow down of the economy. Balancing "inflation" and "economic growth" will be the challenge for the Kazakh Government.

Before concluding on this post, I am again asking the same question, "Will not price rise at all? Will government be able to contain inflation?"

To be honest, government can hardly do anything to control prices when it comes to imported goods. For example, it will be expensive to buy imported branded apparels, imported jewellery, electronic items like TV, Phone, Refrigerator, Cars etc. The dealers may reduce their profit margins and may pass the import costs slowly to the buyer but these goods will be gradually expensive.

If you see statement of Kazakhstan PM, he is interested to contain prices of essential commodities. So, when it comes to prices of domestically produced items from the raw materials procured domestically, for example, bread, butter, milk, egg, the inflation caused by the devaluation of #tenge can be avoided. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Devaluation of Kazakh Tenge (KZT) - is it time to worry?

If you do not have much time to read my blog but do want to know the answer of my question above, then, it is big NO. However, I would want you to read the whole blogpost and appreciate my arguments in a logical manner.

First of all, the big story of the day: Kazakh Government and the Central Bank of Kazakhstan has decided on August 20, 2015 that it will no longer determine the value of Kazakhstan Currency Tenge (KZT or Tenge) with respect to US Dollar. The government has clarified that the markets will determine the exchange rate and the government will intervene only when the situation becomes extreme worse. 

That means the earlier process of maintaining currency band by National Banks has been done away with and free floating exchange rate will determine the value of #tenge. This is going one step ahead on embracing of free private markets in Kazakhstan and it will be a good move in the long run.

Sentiments in Astana: On August 19, I got a call from my friend saying that #Tenge has devalued by more than 5% and currently trading at more than 195. That made me curious to check the markets as it used to normally trade around 185-187 in Astana. The friend also talked of possible sliding of #tenge in the future (to around 200 #tenge) based on people's discussion in the office. We talked shortly on the impact of such devaluation and I expressed that sliding of currency is nothing much to worry for the commoners.

I have no job currently and I get up late. But, before getting up, I scroll twitter Timeline for half an hour to get the stock of news from around the world, mostly from my home country-India. The tracking of currency market is one of my interests and #Indian currency is also on my radar. Indian currency has devalued by more than 15% in the past two years. After devaluation of Chinese Currency, it has come under more heat. However, India has fair share of exports in the world and there is not much complain about such sliding of Indian Currency. Also, Indian currency market is completely liberalised and based on free currency markets, any appreciation and depreciation of currency is at best left to market forces. Why I bring the example of India here is that I am no stranger to such fluctuation of currency markets. But, today was a different day. 

When I was scrolling the twitter in the morning, I saw a Financial Times News which said loudly that the government has abandoned the prescription of currency exchange band and has allowed the market to determine its price and the #tenge is currently trading at 255 per Dollar. That was quite an unexpected as my "uneducated" and limited knowledge told me that it would hover around 200-210 as I was not expecting doing away of exchange band.

My Reaction after the News:

I have travelled Kazakhstan many times and everytime I come here, I find different exchange rate where #tenge gets depreciated regularly. It is quite regular and normal in emerging developing economy. I remember exchanging my money for 150 KZT per Dollar. Then, I was aware of the long queue of people in front of banks and ATMs to withdraw #tenge and convert it to USD when government devalued #Tenge in 2014 from 150 to 180 KZT. I was interested to see the people's reaction today and went to "Respublica Street" in Astana where there are many money exchange counters. There were sizeable people in front of every money exchange counters, banks. There were few short queues. TV Cameras could be seen. 

I do not know what people were thinking when they could buy some USD but I see it (an attempt to stock USD) as a big problem mostly due to lack of knowledge on the subject regarding impact of Currency markets.

Few photos from #Astana where money exchange counters and banks are displaying different rates:

People looking at Currency Exchange Rate Board for Kazakh Tenge at Respublica Street in Astana

Kazakhstan #Tenge Exchange Rate against USD on 20 August, 2015 in Astana, Kazakhstan

Kazakh Currency Exchange rate display in Astana

Now, let us delve into the subject matter. What happened to Kazakh Currency #Tenge? Is it depreciation of currency or devaluation? What will be the impacts? impacts on common man, tourists, foreigners, local companies, on exports and on imports? Is it good or bad?

Let's take the issue one by one.

What happened to the Kazakh Currency today is what exactly happened to Indian currency in 1991 AD. Before 1991 AD, Indian currency exchange rate was controlled by government and was pegged with major currency baskets. However, India's foreign currency reserves were depleting as market was not favourable for investment due to low and controlled exchange rates. India realised that there is a path of success only when the market is liberalised. And Indian currency market was liberalised which opened a new era of "economic liberalisation". Compare the situation of India in 1991 when it had foreign currency reserves of 2 billion USD and today (in May, 2015), it has a currency reserves of 353 billion USD.

So, what happened today to Kazakhstan #tenge is neither depreciation nor devaluation. It is making #tenge free from the clutch of government regulation/control. It is making currency free to be evaluated by market and based on the demands of the market, the value of the currency will be determined in the coming days. Since #tenge will have exchange rate determined by market, there will be slight change of value everyday and depending on other factors like industrial outputs, demand of exports, investment possibilities and reforms, tenge will shed some value or will gain some.

Let us also think of why #tenge lost so much of value in a single day??

It is simply because the currency was overvalued, #tenge was over-priced. There was too much pressure from government to support #tenge and today, when it became free, #tenge is trying to find its price. It is going to find its stable position, looking for stability. That is the reason why tenge fell by 70 tenge in a day. That is 30% fall in a single day. It tells us #Kazakhstan economy is not that strong at the moment to support #tenge at a current exchange rate. That tells us foreigners (foreign business councils/business enterprises) do not value #Kazakhstan so much at the moment. There may be fluctuation of #tenge in another few days as market is looking for correction and right balance but there WILL NOT be any big free fall or free rise on coming days. Unless Industrial outputs data are too grim on coming days, #tenge should stabilize around 255-265 per USD. Any other rumours, at the moment, is difficult to back.

Now, let us talk about the impacts of this depreciation/devaluation of tenge: This is the most important issues for people residing in Kazakhstan. What is going to happen next? What should they do or what should not they do?

I am using the word "depreciation/devaluation" only to mean that #tenge has lost value against Dollar. So, first of all, let us understand the general impacts of currency depreciation/devaluation:

Since #Tenge has devalued in this process of making it free from government control, devaluation leads to a decline in the value of a currency. That will make exports more competitive and imports more expensive. Think of a simple example, if a Kazakh Citizen exports a bread of 1 USD to its neighbour, it could earn 185 KZT yesterday but today, the same Kazakh Citizen will be earning 255 KZT. Therefore, devaluation of currency will have positive impacts on the exports. It will boost exports.

But, it will have also a negative impacts if it is heavily dependent on imports. In the same example given above, if the Kazakh citizen is importing bread for 1 USD, he could arrange 1 USD by only paying 185 KZT yesterday but today, he will have to pay 255 KZT. This will hurt imports.

This is a basic and straight economics and it equally applies to Kazakhstan. To make the most out of it, Kazakhstan should think of more exports and less of imports. Kazakhstan should think of diversifying of its economy to make most from the exports opportunities and should invest more on the local production to reduce the imports. However, this is for the long term. It will also bring the positive impacts to the balance of payment issues and to the foreign currency reserves.

One positive impact of leaving exchange rate determination to markets is that it will attract the capital inflow/investment in the country and it will have positive effect on the value of the nation's currency and foreign currency reserves. This will apply both in the short term and in the long term.

Let's think of the short term and current issues

IN the short term, this devaluation of #tenge will have some visible impacts on the economy. The following I can think of:

1. Since there can not be sudden increase of exports and imports can not be reduced overnights, the prices of the goods may go up. This may result in inflation. However, you must understand that devaluation will not direct impact on inflation as inflation is caused by over circulation of money thereby money losing its purchasing power. One more thing also to be understood is that government can take inflation controlling measures to offset the effect of current devaluation. We need to wait for the future to understand the real impacts.

2. The people who have taken loan on USD will be the highest impacts as each USD is going to cost extra 70 tenge in average. The sectors that will be affected as per my limited knowledge of Kazakhstan is the realty (real estate). The effects will be of two fold. One the developer of housing apartment will want to sell the houses on high prices to pay their loans and interests which they have taken on USD. If salary or earnings is constant, people will have to depend more on loan to buy houses and banks will be able to charge more with increase in interest rates of house loans. However, we must wait and see how National Bank will intervene on this as they have to balance between the liquidity of funds and inflation. This issue needs a close observation in the future.

What is going to happen next? What should they (people residing in Kazakhstan) do or what shouldn't they/we do?

Most importantly, should we run towards the money exchange counters/banks to sell our Tenge and buy USD and keep stocks of USD?

I think Kazakhstan is too liberal to allow people to buy/sell foreign currencies. It is too liberal to grant loans on USD. That's why though Kazakhstan people are very patriotic and in love with their county, I have not seen the same love when it comes to Kazakhstan Tenge. (In my next post, I will have a piece of advice to Kazakhstan Government on how it can tighten the rule.) The liberalisation of Kazakh Government has given people too much options and worry when it comes to the issues of deciding Kazakh Tenge vs US Dollar. Unless you are planning to permanently settle down in foreign countries or unless you are thinking of investing in foreign companies, do not show "herd mentality" (I am sorry to use this phrase!) by rushing to buy USD. If you have to live in this country and buy milk, bread butter in Kazakh Shops, there is nothing you are gaining by keeping USD with you.

If you are patriotic Kazakh and want to see stable Kazakh Currency, you should show more trust in #tenge and do transactions in #KZT #tenge. If you are running to buy more USD and keep stock of it, that means there is a secret desire inside you that #KZT #tenge should fall after some day and you should book some profits. If this is a desire of yours, you are only wishing for a vicious circle of currency destabilisation and it is going to hurt everyone.

So, keep calm. Hold your Kazakh tenge with you and watch out the movement of markets. We have come a long way from the Soviet collapse and similar situation again in energy rich Kazakhstan is absolutely impossible. Though Kazakhstan needs to see other areas of economy diversification, i.e. other business ideas for exports.

That is all for the day! I will write more on economic and monetary issues of Kazakhstan. Do watch this space and be Optimist!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Foreigners' Registration with Migration Police/Ministry of Internal Affairs: A MUST TO DO in Kazakhstan

The rules for registration in Kazakhstan for immigrants and visitors are pretty clear. If you are going to stay in Republic of Kazakhstan (RoK) for more than five (5) days, you must register with local Migration Police/Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Formerly Known as the Office of the Visa and Registration or "OVIR") .

The day of your arrival, irrespective of the time of arrival, will be the first day of your arrival in Kazakhstan. So, the date of Arrival Stamp on your Passport/Visa will be the first day of stay in Kazakhstan. So, calculate yourself if you are going to stay for more than 5 days in Kazakhstan. If such stay in Kazakhstan is going to be more than 5 days, you MUST register with Local Migration Police. Also, note that the registration with Migration Police must be done within 5 days of arrival into Kazakhstan. If there is a public holiday within 5 days, they will be included inside 5 days. That means if you reached Kazakhstan at 11.30 PM on Friday Night, and if you go to register on Monday, it will be your 4th day of stay. Failure to register within 5 days will attract penalty.

In which Migration Police should you get registered?

If you have come to Kazakhstan under Private Visa (G1, G2, G3, G4), you have to register with the same migration police from where your friend/spouse had obtained Letter of Invitation (LOI) to you. So, it does not matter from which border point you make your entry. You must go to the place from where your LOI was obtained.

If you are under Tourist Visa (F1), in that case too, you must register with a migration police having jurisdiction over the tour or travel agents who had sent you the LOI for touristic purposes.

Address of Migration Police in Astana

The Address of Migration Police in Astana is:

29 Seyfullin Street (улица Сакена Сейфулина 29)

(Between Beibetshilik Avenue and Auezov Street)

Tel: 717 2716 179, 717 2716 181

You can see the screenshot of the address taken from

The image of the place where Migration Police in Astana is located:

The Building on the left (Building No. 27) houses Kazkommertsbank. If you have to pay any kind of fees in relation to Migration Police, you can pay the fees in this bank branch. Remember that you do not have to pay any fees for Registration as a foreigner in Kazakhstan and it is given free of cost to you.

The same building in which Migration Police Astana is located houses a book shop (дом книги: Book House, дом книги written in yellow background board, in Kazakh: ACTAHA KITAP), and a photocopy shop.

Normally, when you come by flight (for example: in Air Astana in New Delhi - Almaty Route), you will get a piece of paper free of cost (This piece of Paper is called Kazakhstan Migration Card which I got to know later from other websites) which you need to fill and present it at the immigration point/passport control at the airport. Only the foreigners need to fill Kazakhstan Migration Card either in English, or in Russian or in Kazakh and submit it to the Passport Control Officer at the Airport. 

At the time of arrival/entry into Kazakhstan, when you present Kazakhstan Migration Card along with your Passport to Passport Control Officer, he will put a stamp on your passport/Visa and on Kazakhstan Migration Card and gives you back.

SAMPLE OF KAZAKHSTAN MIGRATION CARD (Front Side which you need to fill)

Photo Courtesy:

SAMPLE OF KAZAKHSTAN MIGRATION CARD (Back side of the form which will be filled and stamped by Migration Police)

If you see above Kazakhstan Migration Card, you will see that it has been already stamped by Migration Police. There you will see a clear instruction which says that Foreigners need to register within 5 days from the date of arrival in Kazakhstan. Whosoever breaks the rule regarding registration within five days will face penalty. The Card also clearly states that it must be returned at the time of leaving Kazakhstan. Please take this Law of Kazakhstan very seriously as it will save you from trouble while staying in Kazakhstan or while leaving this country.


While going to migration Police where you need to get registered, you should carry your Passport and Kazakhstan Migration Card which you have received after stamping from the Passport Control. In Migration Police Office, you need to fill a Form which will be in Kazakh/Russian only. Therefore, you should be reasonably well versed in either of these languages.

In Migration Police, you should not face any issues ordinarily. They will take your passport, the filled Form, Kazakhstan Migration Card and can tell you to collect it in the same day evening between 5PM to 7PM (In Astana). They will not give you any proof of receipt of your Passport. When you go to Collect it, they will give your Passport,Kazakhstan Migration Card on which you got stamp from passport control and an additional computer typed paper. The Migration Police will put a stamp on the back side of Kazakhstan Migration Card. It ensures that you have got temporarily registered with Migration Police in Kazakhstan.

If you want to go to Migration Police Astana by Bus, the following buses pass through it. Look at the map below and find out from your Area in Astana which bus goes to Migration Police. Unfortunately, some people have placed their advertisement poster and some part of the route of the buses is unseen and torn but from the bottom of the image, you can say which bus goes there.

The Bus Stop to go to Migration Police Astana is "BTA BANK". (It is pronounced in Russian as "Astanobhka beteaa bank or in Kazakh Ayaldamasha betaaaa Bank.)

Tell us if you have a different experiences or ask any questions if you have.

Regarding Registration in Kazakhstan by Foreigners, US Embassy provides the information HERE. I think US Embassy information is old and outdated. For the people who are not under VISA FREE REGIME and who have come under PRIVATE VISA, the information given by me is complete and accurate. For the rest, the information above will act as a guidelines.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

e-Commerce Business in Kazakhstan: How is your Experience?

Dear All, I love buying stuffs online. They provide hassle free buying experience from home. They give discounts also and the products arrive at your doorstep. In India, I was regularly using, and to buy range of products.

I thought to try online buying experience in Kazakhstan and till now, I have not had much success. I am sharing my experience (actually, it is a feedback given to website: satu dot kz after I could not buy 4 pieces of beer glasses from a Seller "Био Компания ТОО"). I would like to hear from you and you can also recommend e-commerce sites of Kazakhstan.

I was trying to buy from the following link:

The goods I had ordered was 4 pieces of beer glasses made in France. (Стакан для пива 570 мл. d=90, h=160 мм Ультимэйт Пинт /24/, доставка из Алматы)

My Comments:

"Since I do not know Russian well, I am giving my feedback in English. Please use "google translate" or take help from someone to translate it for you if you do not understand English.

After I placed the order, I got an email which said that the company would deliver the products only if the order quantity is more than 100 glasses. So, they did not deliver 4 pieces of glasses which I had ordered.

In an email, they gave an alternative (big beer mug of 1 or 1.5 Litres) if I am interested to buy other items which they will deliver irrespective of the quantity and costs. I was not interested in alternative products and refused to buy. I requested them to close the order. The executives from the Company were prompt in sending emails, and giving calls. My Agent (who knew Russian) talked with the company executives and explained the matter. I will rate their Customer Service Branch as good.

Now, I would like to state some inherent problems with Kazakh e-commerce business. I want it to grow to be like Amazon. I am sad to see it still in a nascent stage.

Some problems I observed:

1. When I bought the product, I received an email saying that the company people will contact me soon. I was expecting to see My Order Tab and wanted to track from there. I wanted to know from there how and when the goods are transported.

2. In this sites, most of the products are intended for B2B transactions and require a huge order amount for the order to be valid. I want a good B2C ecommerce business in Kazakhstan.

3. It seems most of the companies in Kazakhstan are doing business only from Almaty having no business presence like supply chain team and warehousing in Astana. There are no local collecting points/stores after making online order. I faced a problem while thinking to order a bicycle earlier.

I suggest and other online portals to "pull their shocks up" and be a thriving multi billion USD e-commerce economy in Kazakhstan. I can be your consultant. :)"

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Blinchiki, Kismis, Bread, Butter and Tea in Astana

They have always said, (I do not know who they are) that a man should eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a decently rich man and the dinner like a pauper/beggar/poor. I understand this has been said by keeping a health and dietary issues in mind. Heavy dinner before sleep is not good as per them.

To a certain extent, the above proverb has been followed by me in Astana, Kazakhstan. I have always started my day with heavy breakfast and with many cups of tea. Today, I will show you in my blog what I am eating in Kazakhstan, Astana. As there are different food items which have been consumed, this series will be a long one. Stay tuned to this blog to know food items of Astana, Kazakhstan.

Here you can see BLINCHIKI (блинчики). I understand that Blinchiki are also called Blini and are Russian Pancakes. I like Blinchiki very much and we regularly eat them at Astana, Kazakhstan. I do not know how to make Blinchiki. If you want to learn, you can visit the recipe in the given link below.

On the table, you can also see the butter (/Masla/ in Russian, масло), bread (/Khlep/ in Russian, хлеб) in Kazakh Language NAN, Sugar (/Sakhar/ in Russian, сахар) in Kazakh Language KANT, Chocolates (/ Konfeti/ in Russian, шоколадные конфеты), dry apricots (/Sukhiy Abrikosi/ in Russian, сухие абрикосы) and Raisins (/Isyum/ in Russian, изюм) in Kazakh Language KISMIS. In many languages, like in my native hindi language too, the Raisins are called KISMIS.

In subsequent photos those which I clicked in Astana, Kazakhstan; you can see Honey (/Med/ in Russian, мед) and Curd (/Tyorag/ in Russian, творог). I see that my table also has Cake (/Tort/ in Russian, торт) and Home Made Jam- made from Apricot- in Astana, Kazakhstan. Home Made Jam in Astana, Kazakhstan is called /Bhareniya/ in Russian. Jam = варенье

In Astana, Kazakhstan, I like the culture of drinking tea with all family members and guests together. It will not be just tea or /CHAI/. The table will be full of dry fruits, Chocolates, Raisins etc. and multi-cup of teas make the environment warm in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Please Share what are you eating in your breakfast in Astana, Kazakhstan or in any other parts of Kazakhstan or Central Asia/Eurasia/CIS Countries or in Russia.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Astana and Khan Shatir Shopping Mall

I went to Khan Shatir, the famous shopping place of Astana, Capital City of Kazakhstan today morning at 10 AM. I have clicked some photos from the area which I am sharing now with you. First of all, let me narrate the background.

I met one Indian friend via yesterday and agreed to meet today somewhere in Astana. He was Indian, and So, I was. He is staying now in South India where I was few years ago. He said that he has come here for the very first time and in his words, "dying to meet some Indians". We straightway exchanged our Indian numbers and started sending messages via Whatsapp. Since he was here for the very first time, he said that he wants to talk with someone on many questions that were on his mind. I agreed to meet as I was also looking for someone from South Asia. We generated a vibe in Whatsapp that we are going to have a great talk. So, we agreed that we should meet somewhere which is equi-distance from his place and from my place.

We agreed the time that we would meet at sharp at 10 am in main gate of Khan Shatir, the famous supermarket of Astana. Since we both did not have active internet and working mobile phone outside WiFi zone, we agreed the dress code and reminded ourselves not to be like in India, i.e. to be sharp on time.

I stay near Radisson Hotel in Astana in Kenesary Street and I have to take a bus. I had already searched little bit in Internet to find out which one to take. I went to the bus stop this morning located just in front of (on the other side of road) Hotel Park INN. I looked at the transport map placed there and took a help of a girl waiting for her own bus. In our broken English-Russian, she helped me to figure out that Bus Numbers 12, 43 and 46 will go from that place to Khan Shatir. I took bus No. 46. Everything was easy and smooth except that the bus was very very crowded at that time of 9.30 AM. I reached 10 minutes earlier than my Indian friend and once we saw each other, we instantly recognised. We were quite different from the masses and it was very easy to recognise.

We just strolled inside Khan Shatir for some time to find a good cafe/Coffee Shop. As it was only opening at that time, few coffee places declined to serve but we found a good one soon. We sat and ordered hot milk latte and started talking on different things.

The issue of culture, family, cultural adaptations, cultural shock, family expectations, Kazakhstan Job Market, Potential, Possibilities, religion etc. were some of the topics. We both shared our views openly, candidly, frankly and laughed together on many issues. We parted at lunch time as we both had lunch time engagements at different places.

Before leaving, we paid the bill. Two Coffees costed 1980 KZT (Kazakh Tenge, i.e. 5 USD for each cup and certainly little expensive for both of us).

I took again bus number 46 and returned back to Kenesary Street. I have posted below few Photos taken around Khan Shatir. (The photos are taken by iPhone 4 and on the bright sunny day, the quality is naturally enhanced.)

 (The above Photo should be some Ministry and the surrounding areas!. I have not much idea on the buildings.)
 (Above Photo is of Astana Opera. It looks magnificent from close. Will be taking some more pictures on another visit to this place.)
 (The photo above and many photos below will of iconic Shopping Mall - Khan Shatir! the jewel of Astana, capital of Republic of Kazakhstan)

 (Photo taken from the entrance of Khan Shatir)

(In the far distance, you can see another iconic - "Baiterek Tower". There is I LOVE ASTANA written on the other side of the road but not clearly captured in this photo.)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Learning Russian in Astana, Kazakhstan

I am a beginner in Russian. I am doing elementary Russian Course. I completed my beginner RU-1 Level in India and now, in Astana doing RU-2 Level. In India, I studied in Russian Cultural Center with a Russian Tutor in a group but in Astana, Kazakhstan, I am doing self study at home.

I use various websites to connect with native Russian speakers in Astana, Kazakhstan and am doing my homework, practice and I am sending it to them for correction. I have started meeting one or two people in Astana Park/Astana Central Park in Kazakhstan and have started interacting with them. I help them in English and they help me in my Russian.

I am attaching few images of how I am learning Russian and what I am practicing currently.

If you think that you can help me in learning Russian in Astana, Kazakhstan or if you need help in English in Astana, Kazakhstan, do let me know. We can be help to each other in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Runner in Astana in Kazakhstan

Last week of May, 2015 and this first week of June, 2015 have been great for Astana, Capital of Kazakhstan. The Sunlight has stayed till late. It is just a little hot and the rain and the cold has stayed away. That means the summer has been truly a summer with all its characters and features.

The weather has also given new wings in people's lives. Now, there is only to be seen if a man can also fly.Otherwise, people have come out of their homes for walking, strolling, running, bicycling, skating, road skiing and for all sorts of sports and activities.

The below two pictures capture the mood of Astana, capital of Republic of Kazakhstan. A man is running on the bank of RIVER ESIL on the pedestrian zone on the river side of Hotel Radisson. It is little dark and the lights are already switched on in the nearby sky touching buildings but the runner is in no mood to give up! A great sight to behold.

Photos of a roadside in Astana, Capital of Kazakhstan

I think the advantage of being tourist in any country is that you can click anything and everything under the Sun. You can simply take out your phone or Camera and start taking pictures of roadsides, Houses, Churches, Parks, Museums, Advertisement Boards, flying birds or anything for that matter. This is exactly what I am doing in Astana, in the capital of Republic of Kazakhstan, in the heart of Eurasia/Central Asia.

Since most of the road signs are in Russian, I do not easily get them or can not remember them for a long time. I will not be able to tell you where exactly I clicked these pictures but most of them are from a place near of YANUSHKEVICH STREET in Astana. I remember the name of this street, though I may not have spelled it correctly, because we have our flat there. We were walking near to this place while going to polyclinic (поликлиника in Russian, pronounced as /Poliklinika/) in Astana, Kazakhstan and I randomly clicked these pictures.

1. By looking at the almost empty pedestrian zones, can you guess where the area is from in Astana, Kazakhstan? I know it is not an easy job!!

2. The billboard/advertisement board highlights the tourism of Georgia. Is anyone looking for going to Georgia on Summer as a tourist? Have you seen this board somewhere in the city in Astana, Capital of Kazakhstan? I do not understand much of Russian/Kazakh but I can read "Summer in Georgia" written in the advertisement board.

3. A man and a pigeon: The man in the picture offered some corns/fodder to pigeon before making his way towards his destination. The pigeon in Astana was impressed with man's kindness.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Roaming around Astana, Kazakhstan

I am roaming around  Astana these days clicking photo of anything that I can see. I have a brand new Poland made bicycle as my friend and it has been very helpful to take me around. I will write more about culture and foods of Kazakhstan later in my blog posts. For the moment, You can see new photos of green Astana which is a rare sight to see. The wonderful climate and sunshine has magnified the beauty of Astana. Have a look:

Above two images are about my bicycling performance of a day!!