UKRAINE – Major Changes to Immigration Rules
Effective 27 September 2017, the regulations governing work permits and temporary residence permits have been amended, introducing changes to permit categories, validity periods, minimum salaries, government filing fees, notification and renewal rules and documentary requirements, among other changes.
There is no longer any requirement for employers applying for work permits to advertise positions on the local labour market, although it is recommended to carry out a labour market search anyway, until the new rules have been fully implemented.
Note that further clarification of the changes is expected from the Ukrainian authorities, and that there may be delays while the new regulations are implemented.
Several new special work permit categories have been created:
Highly-paid professionals, earning at least fifty times the Ukrainian minimum monthly salary, or at least UAH 160,000 per month (about USD 6000 per month). Highly-paid professionals do not require separate work authorization for secondary employment; Foreign investors (having invested at least EUR 100,000 in a Ukrainian company). Qualifying investors can also now obtain a two-year, renewable temporary residence permit without being employed in Ukraine; Graduates of the top-100 global universities; Copyright holders and creators; IT specialists; Service providers fulfilling service contracts.
Duration of Stay
Work permits and temporary residence permits issued under the above new categories will be issued for the term of the employment contract or service agreement, up to a maximum of three years. Work permits for intra-company transferees are now valid for the term of the assignment, even if this is longer than three years. Work permits for other foreign nationals are issued for the duration of their employment contract up to one year, renewable indefinitely.
Employers now have to pay foreign employees at least ten times the Ukrainian minimum monthly salary, or at least UAH 32,000 per month (about USD 12000 per month). Foreign investors, graduates of the top-100 global universities, copyright creators and IT specialist are exempt from this minimum salary requirement. Highly-paid professionals must earn fifty times the Ukrainian minimum monthly salary.
All work permit holders can now temporarily perform the duties of an absent colleague for up to 60 cumulative days per year.
Health certificates and police clearance certificates are no longer required in support of work or residence permit applications. University diplomas are now only required from graduates of the top-100 global universities. A draft employment contract must now be submitted in support of the work permit application – a copy of the final employment contract must still be submitted once finalized.
A new schedule of filing fees has been introduced. The state now collects a fee for all initial and renewal work permit applications.
For a work permit for under six months, the fee is the equivalent of two minimum monthly salaries; For a work permit of six months to one year, the fee is four times the minimum monthly salary; and For a work permit of one to three years, the fee is six times the minimum monthly salary.
Notification of Changes
Employers are now required to notify the employment authorities within 30 days of changes to the name or structure of the employer and changes to the name, passport number or job title of the work permit holder.
Failure to fulfil the notification requirements may lead to penalties. Work permit corrections should now be processed within three days.
Work permit renewal applications can now be submitted more than 40 days before expiry (the previous limit) but not less than 20 days before expiry. Such applications should now be processed within three days of submission, rather than seven days, as previously.
Temporary residence permit renewal applications can now be submitted until ten days before expiry, rather than 15 days as previously. Such applications should now be processed within ten days of submission, rather than fifteen days, as previously.
Third-Party Application Submission
Temporary Residence permit Applications can now be submitted by a third-party agent authorised by power of attorney. However, the foreign national applicant will still have to collect the issued residence permit in person.
Grounds for Refusal
There is a new list of possible grounds for rejecting a work permit application, and the employer is now given a chance to remove any grounds for rejection and resubmit the application.
Notably missing from the new list of reasons for refusal is the availability of qualified Ukrainian nationals, or the lack of any proof of labour market testing. The Ukrainian employment authorities are expected to clarify this point soon.
Companies employing foreign nationals in Ukraine should consult an immigration specialist for the latest on the implementation of these new regulations.