The country came under Russian control in the late 19th Century and emerged as an independent state when Soviet rule ended in 1991. Under President Islam Karimov, who ruled from 1989 until his death in 2016, Uzbekistan was reliant on exports of cotton, gas and gold to maintain its rigid, state-controlled economy.
There is a diverse economy in the country, as well as a relatively young population. It’s known for its mosques, mausoleums, and other sites as it was once at the heart of the ancient Silk Road trade route connecting China with the Middle East and Rome. Samarkand, a major city on the route, contains a landmark of Islamic architecture: the Registan, a plaza bordered by 3 ornate, mosaic-covered religious schools dating to the 15th and 17th centuries.
Uzbekistan’s culture consists of a wide range of ethnic groups and cultures, with the Uzbeks comprising the majority. In 1995, 71% of Uzbekistan’s population was Uzbek. The chief minority groups were Russians (8.4%), Tajiks (officially 5%, but believed to be much higher), Kazaks (4.1%), Tatars (2.4%), and Karakalpaks (2.1%), and other minority groups include Armenians and Koryo-saram. The number of non-indigenous people in Uzbekistan is decreasing, however, as Russians and other minorities leave and Uzbeks return from other parts of the former Soviet Union.
The Uzbeks speak a language belonging to the southeastern, or Chagatai (Turki), branch of the Turkic language group. Karakalpak, a distantly related Turkic language, enjoys official status alongside Uzbek in Karakalpakstan, where it is spoken by about half a million people. About one-seventh of the population of Uzbekistan speaks Russian.
In Uzbekistan, there are 62 higher education institutions, including 2 academies (in Uzbekistan, as it was in the Soviet system, the word academia means the top-level research and educational institutions), 16 universities, and 44 institutes.
All universities and institutes are public. Private institutions of higher education are not yet available. To be admitted to university-level studies, an individual must complete any form of secondary school and have either a Certificate of Complete Secondary Education or a Diploma equal to this certificate.
The following qualifications are delivered by higher education institutions in Uzbekistan:
Bachelor (bakalavr): During a minimum of four years of study, the Bachelor program provides a basic knowledge of a particular area of higher education. After completing the Bachelor program, graduates receive the Bachelor degree and the state diploma (Bakalavr), which entitle them to enter the workforce or continue their studies at the Master level.
Master (magistr): Following a Bachelor’s degree program, a Master’s degree program provides knowledge in specific areas for a minimum of two years. After completing the Master program, students receive a state diploma (in Uzbek – Magistr), granting them the right to work in relevant fields. Admission to Master degree studies is on a competitive basis. To apply for the Master specialty, students must hold a Bachelor degree in the field, which corresponds to the previous Bachelor degree program.
Doctor of Science (‘Fanlar doktori’): Following the introduction of state requirements for postgraduate education in January 2013, there was no longer a two-stage postgraduate education (two scientific degrees ‘Candidate of Sciences’ and ‘Doctor of Sciences’).
In addition to postgraduate education, there is an opportunity for staff members to work as senior research fellows and independent research fellows for up to three years.
The average rental price for an apartment (3 bedrooms) in the city centre is around UZS 796.50 (£0.054) per month, in more desirable areas and an apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of the centre is UZS 511.41 (£0.035)
Uzbekistan has legislation that allows foreign nationals to buy property in Uzbekistan. This is known as ‘Resolution 384’ (dated 13 July 2022). For advice about this legislation and to find out if you are eligible, contact a lawyer in Uzbekistan. You should contact a lawyer in Uzbekistan
Visas and Eligibility
UK nationals can stay in Uzbekistan without a visa for up to 30 days. If you are traveling for a purpose other than tourism or business, or intending to stay longer than 30 days, you should check entry requirements with the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London.
Violent crimes against foreign nationals are rare. Reports of muggings, pickpocketing, snatch-and-grab robberies, theft of unattended bags, and purse snatching are more common, especially in crowded places (bazaars, public transportation). Home burglaries and break-ins occur, even in wealthier neighbourhoods.
Try to take caution and measures to protect your personal security as you would when visiting any European country.
When driving in Uzbekistan, all registration papers are required, including motor insurance. Individuals must carry their UK Driving Licence or an International Driving Permit at all times.
If you have a valid UK driving licence, you can drive in Uzbekistan during your visit. It is advised to make a copy of your driving licence translated into Russian or Uzbek to make interaction with local authorities and traffic police easier,however, it is not legally required. It is recommended that you get a local driving license if you are staying in Uzbekistan for an extended period. You will need this to buy a car.
A standard working week in Uzbekistan lasts five or six days and consists of 40 hours. Overtime hours should be less than 4 hours every 2 days or 120 hours per year. They are paid double their hourly salary.
The minimum wage in Uzbekistan is UZS 62,920 per month. Additionally, employers are responsible for paying social security contributions. An employee’s contribution must be up to at least 25% of the worker’s salary, broken down as follows:
2% for Pension Fund
5% for Unemployment Fund
3% for the Trade Union Committee
In a business environment, Uzbeks use a rather indirect communication style that may seem confusing to foreigners. Their custom, however, is to shake hands and then ask about one’s family, health, etc. It is considered polite to ask, even if you don’t get an answer.
There is no specific protocol regarding titles and business cards. Punctuality is not particularly high in Uzbekistan and this lack of formality can be difficult to deal with. However, when in a meeting, greet and talk to the most influential person first. Being well-groomed and smartly dressed is important. When interacting with people of the same gender, direct eye contact is very common.