Applying for a work permit in Ukraine
Ukrainian labour law establishes a direct peremptory rule allowing foreign nationals or stateless persons to be employed in Ukraine only subject to a work permit, which is the basis for obtaining an appropriate type of visa and for a temporary residence permit in Ukraine effective for the period of validity of the work permit.
The first thing to note is that it is not the foreign national but the employer (company) who has to apply for a work permit. A work permit is issued to a particular person for a particular staff position (workplace) and cannot be transferred to a third party.
Therefore, the work permit is limited (it does not grant an unlimited access to the Ukrainian labour market) and tied to a particular employer.
Foreign nationals or stateless persons who have a permanent residence permit in Ukraine do not need to obtain a work permit. Furthermore, no work permit is required when it comes to employment with foreign representative offices in Ukraine, or foreign nationals or stateless persons are involved in the implementation of international technical assistance projects and on other grounds.
Validity term of the work permit:
- As a rule, a work permit is issued for up to one year;
- For specific categories of foreigners and foreign seconded employees a work permit is issued for up to three years;
- For internal corporate assignees a work permit is issued for the period of effect of the foreign company’s decision on transferring the foreigner to work in Ukraine.
Work permits may be issued for shorter periods to be indicated in the employer’s application.
Work permits are issued on condition that a foreigner is paid a salary of at least:
- 5 minimum wages (UAH 23,615, approx. USD 860 as of 2020) – for foreign employees of public associations, charitable organisations and educational establishments;
- 10 minimum wages (UAH 47,230, approx. USD 1,730 as of 2020) – for all other categories of employees.
The requirement on the minimum wages is not applicable for special categories of foreign employees (highly-paid foreign professionals, founders and/or shareholders and/or ultimate beneficiaries (of a legal entity established in Ukraine, graduates of universities listed as top hundred in the world university rankings according to the list of university rankings determined by the CMU, foreign art professionals, foreign IT professionals).
The following documents need to be submitted when applying for a work permit:
1. an application;
2. a notarized copy of the foreign national’s passport with a translation into Ukrainian;
3. one colour photo;
4. a copy of a draft employment agreement (contract) with a foreigner certified by the employer.
For employment of certain categories of foreigners, an employer should additionally submit the following documents:
- a copy of a foreign national’s diploma (for the graduates of the universities listed in the top 100 in the world rankings);
- notarized copies of the documents identifying the subject of the author’s copyright and/or related rights and evidencing authorship (for foreign employees of creative professions);
- a copy of an agreement (contract) entered into by and between a Ukrainian and a foreign company that provides for the use of work of foreigners and stateless persons who are sent by a foreign employer to Ukraine to perform a certain amount of work (for seconded foreign employees);
- decision of a foreign company to outplace (transfer) an employee to work in Ukraine and a copy of the respective outplace (transfer) contract, as entered into with him or her, indicating the period of work in Ukraine (for intra-corporate transferees);
The decision to grant the work permit shall be made by the employment office within 7 working days, and in case of extending a work permit it is made within 3 working days. Ukrainian laws do not set a limit on the number of times the work permit may be renewed. The application for the renewal of the work permit must be submitted at least 20 calendar days prior to the work permit expiry date.
The fee for issuing the work permit varies depending on its validity term:
- UAH 12,612 (approx. USD 460) – for the permits issued for the period varying from one to 3 years or if they are extended for the same period;
- UAH8,408 (approx. USD 300) – for the permits issued for the period varying from 6 months to 1 year, inclusive, or if they are extended for the same period;
- UAH4,204 (approx. USD 150) – for the permits issued for the period of up to 6 months or if they are extended for the same period.
It must be paid to the account of the employment office within 10 working days after the decision on granting the work permit was made.
The employer has the right to appoint a foreign specialist to hold several managing positions (part-time). The employer has to conclude the employment agreement (contract) with a foreigner not later than 90 calendar days from the date of the permit issuance and to provide the employment office with a copy of the employment agreement (contract) certified by the employer within 10 calendar days upon its signing. A fine (amounting to UAH 94,460, approximately USD 3,450 in 2020) may be imposed on the employer in case of absence of a valid work permit.