Work permit in Ukraine

Foreign citizens must obtain the work permit to work officially in Ukraine. The company-employer (or the private entrepreneur) files the application form to the local employment center to get for the potential employee the work permit in Ukraine.
Work permit in Ukraine does not give the right to the foreign citizen to choose the place of work and position at his/her discretion. One work permit is for one position, and the employer keeps this document.

Ukrainian legislation stipulates several categories for foreign employees. Each category has the list of documents required for the work permit application. To apply for the work permit, the employer needs to define his/her potential employee group.

There are the following categories:
1) regular foreign employees;
2) special categories of foreign employees:
– foreigners-founders of enterprises;
– IT professionals;
– foreign high-paid professionals;
– graduates of the TOP-100 universities in a world ranking;
– seconded foreign employees;
– foreigners submitting documents for recognition as refugees or as people who need additional protection.

Special categories of foreign employees in Ukraine have some privileges considering salary rate and work permit validity term.

It is also worth noting some requirements to the salary rate for foreign employees. The minimum salary rate of a regular employee is 10 minimum wages specified by the law of Ukraine. If the employer is a public association, charity, or educational institution, the minimum salary rate shall be 5 minimum wages. As for 2020, these are the sums of 50 000 UAH and 25 000 UAH respectively.

Special categories of foreign employees are paid the same way as locals, which means, the salary shall not be less than 1 minimum wage (in 2019 it is 4173 UAH). The minimum salary rate of foreign high-paid professionals shall be at least 50 minimum wages (i.e. in 2020 = 250 000 UAH). Seconded foreign employees don’t receive a salary in Ukraine as it is paid by their employer abroad.

The validity term of the work permit varies within the category. The validity term of the work permit for the general category is from one month to one year. Work permit for special categories can be issued for up to three years. Employers have the right to extend the duration of the work permit an unlimited number of times.

The common list of documents required for the work permit application includes the following:
– a certified translation of a foreigner’s passport into the Ukrainian language;
– foreigner’s photo (size 3.5*4.5 cm);
– a draft of a future employment contract.

The list of specific documents is as follows:
– a certified translation of the relevant diploma (for a graduate from one of the TOP-100 universities in a world ranking);
– a copy of the secondment agreement between Ukrainian and foreign economic entities (for seconded foreign employees).

The law also specifies a list of foreigners who don’t require a work permit for employment in Ukraine:
– foreigners with a permanent residence permit;
– employees of representative offices of foreign companies in Ukraine;
– employees of foreign accredited media;
– participants of international technical assistance projects;
– teachers and scientists invited for work by higher education institutions;
– representatives of foreign naval (river) fleets and airlines serving such companies in Ukraine;
– foreigners who have refugee status or are recognized as people who need additional protection or granted temporary protection in Ukraine;
– professional athletes;
– artists and art workers;
– clerics invited by religious organizations to carry out canonical activities.
It takes 7 business days for granting the work permit and 3 business days for extension of the work permit validity term in Ukraine.

The amount of the state fee for work permit depends on validity term, and in 2020 it amounts to the following sums:
1) for permits valid from one to three years – 12 612 UAH;
2) for permits valid from six months to one year – 8 408 UAH;
3) for permits valid up to six months – 4 204 UAH.

The employer has 10 business days to pay state fees and 90 calendar days to sign the employment contract after a work permit obtained. A copy of the contract must be provided to the local employment center. Failure to submit a copy of the contract is the ground for work permit cancellation.

A work permit does not give the right to stay in Ukraine, but it can be used as the ground for the following immigration to Ukraine. Using a work permit, the foreign citizen can apply for the temporary residence permit of the same validity term as the work permit.

Tetiana Yashchenko