Jobhunters Guide to Ukraine

05.12.2014 | By Leonid Uzvar

To work in Ukraine non-residents need a special permit. Due to changes in immigration rules, the procedure for issuance of work permits has become very complicated. For special categories of staff, in particular senior managers, the legislation provides for issuance of the document for the entire duration of the employment contract, but in practice it is almost unreal. Often work permits are issued for one year with a possibility of renewal for another year. Then all documents shall be submitted again


Territorial bodies of the State Employment Service issue Ukrainian employers permissions to hire foreign labor to specific positions (according to the classification of occupations). These permits are issued upon commissions examination of documents provided by the employer.

The new Procedure for Issuance, Renewal and Cancellation of Permits for Employment of Foreigners and Stateless Persons has been effective since July 5, 2013. At first glance, the Procedure contains many positive aspects, which should make it easier to obtain permits. But that is only at first glance.

Allegedly the time of examination of documents by the employment service was reduced from 30 to 15 days, but in reality all the way from the employers decision to hire a foreigner to obtaining of a permit was significantly increased.

In addition, specific requirements for issuance of permits are ambiguous, which enables employment services to turn employers down, which can be challenged in the higher organizations or in court. Also, in the process of preparation of documents it is necessary to consider some nuances, violation of which could adversely affect commissions decisions.

No foreign citizen has the right to work in the territory of Ukraine without a work permit, except those who have received a permanent residence permit. Otherwise, the employees and their unscrupulous employers may have to pay huge fines to regulatory authorities.


The main thing you need to know is that the employer shall deal with all paperwork. All the documents shall be submitted to the City Employment Center. Upon filing of certificates and references a special Commission will examine them within 15 days and grant or deny issuance of a work permit.

In case of a positive decision, the employer shall pay for the cost of work permit at the rate of 4 minimum wages (approximately UAH 5,000) within 30 days. Otherwise, such employment will be canceled.

Within 3 days after signing of an employment agreement with a foreign the employer shall provide the Employment Center with a copy of the document. And in case of early termination of the contract, the employer shall hand over the master copy of the permit within 3 days.

It helps to keep in mind that the work permit is valid for one year, then it can be renewed for another year. To do this, the same Employment Center will need two 3.5x4.5 photos and a police clearance certificate from Ukrainian police authorities (if at the time of submission the foreigner stays in the territory of Ukraine), or a police clearance certificate from the country of residence of the foreigner. Renewal of the work permit is free.


TYPE ONE: employment of foreigners in case of absence of a qualified professional in Ukraine or any region. Such type of employment is the most common and is used by default. To get the permission it is imperative to file a report attesting that the employer was unable to find the right person in Ukraine. It shall be submitted 15 days prior to appealing to the employment center. Moreover, you will need: a statement (standard form), a medical certificate confirming absence of chronic diseases (tuberculosis, AIDS, substance addiction, drug addiction, alcoholism), copies of qualifications, companys reference confirming that the position for which a foreigner will be hired has nothing to do with secrets of state, reference from the Ukrainian Interior Ministry confirming the foreigner has no criminal record, two 3.5x4.5 color photos, a copy of the passport with the main data and its notarized translation.

TYPE TWO: employment of founder of the company. In such case you may obtain permission upon sufficient justification for use of labor. Such justification is either employment in managerial positions, provided that the alien is a member of the board of founders of the employer, or the fact that the foreigner owns copyright or related rights (intellectual property) required for the enterprise. In this case, in addition to the list of documents for the first type of registration, you shall submit a copy of constituent documents, or a copy of documents confirming the authorship to intellectual property.

TYPE THREE: employment within the framework of a foreign contract. Such type suggests employment of an alien who was sent to Ukraine by a foreign employer to fulfill foreign trade agreement and provided that the number of all foreigners employed by the company does not exceed half of the total number of Ukrainian employees involved under such contract. In addition to the general list of documents you shall submit a copy of the foreign trade agreement.

TYPE FOUR: work permit for intracorporate assignees. Intracorporate assignees are individuals working in organizations in the territory of countries members to the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and Ukraine. In other words, those are employees of foreign companies from Member States of the International Labor Organization, which are temporarily transferred to Ukraine to provide services to Ukrainian companies. Groups of such trustees consist of executives, managers and professionals. For employment based on such scenario you will have to submit a copy of the agreement on temporary transfer for employment in Ukraine.

TYPE FIVE: refugee employment. Which means a work permit for an alien who was given the status of a refugee or a decision was made to grant such foreigner additional protection in Ukraine. In such case the employer shall submit to the Employment Center: an application form, a copy of the decision to grant asylum or refugee status and two color photos.

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