Work Permit for Foreign Employees

Hiring Foreign Employees

When hiring a foreign citizen in Ukraine, a company may need to apply for and secure a work permit for the foreign citizen. Certain categories of foreign citizens (such as permanent residents of Ukraine, employees of representative offices and permanent establishments of foreign companies, representatives of foreign mass media, professional sportsmen, artists and some others) do not need to apply for work permit when working in Ukraine. However, in most other cases, a valid work permit is required before commencing work.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the main requirements and application procedure for filing the work permit application. Employment of refugees on the territory of Ukraine is out of the scope of this article.

Overview

Businesses in Ukraine can hire foreign employees


According to Ukrainian legislation on employment, foreign citizens can be employed in Ukraine by locally registered companies as well as individual person (Ukrainian citizen or a foreign national, who lives in Ukraine based on a temporary/permanent residence permit) in cases when the respective position does not require Ukrainian citizenship (e.g. public officer can be only citizen of Ukraine) and does not require access to the state secrecy.

When employing a foreign citizen, both the employer as well as the foreign employee should note the following:

  • In most cases, the employer has to secure a work permit for the foreign employee before he/she can commence work in Ukraine.
  • Application for a work permit is made by employer, not employee.
  • Work permit is issued based on the employment with specific company on the specific position. General work permit is not allowed.
  • Employment agreement with a foreign citizen must be concluded in writing.
  • Depending on the duration of stay in Ukraine, the foreign employee may also have to obtain a temporary residence permit (in addition to securing the work permit). Application for a temporary residence permit is made by employee.

The sections below provide a detailed guide to requirements and procedure for filing a work permit application in Ukraine. This guide does not include cases when employer is an individual person.

Grounds for Issuing A Work Permit

Minimal salary for foreign employees


Application for a work permit is made by a locally registered company-employer who is willing to employ a foreign national in Ukraine. Ukrainian law defines minimal requirements to the salary of foreign employees depending on the category (which are higher than amount of minimal wage for Ukrainian nationals, defined by law), namely:

  1. five minimal wages* (in 2018 minimal wage amounts UAH 3723) – for employees of non-governmental organizations, charity organizations and educational institutions;
  2. ten minimal wages – for any other types of employees;
  3. requirements to the amount of salary do not apply for “preferred categories of foreign employees“, namely:
    1. IT professionals (in this case, the company-employer has to have main registered type of business activity – computer programming)
    2.  the cases when shareholder or ultimate beneficiary of the company is employed as the company’s employee (in this case, issuing of a work permit is allowed upon full injection of share capital of such company-employer);
    3. persons who have a degree from a university that ranks in the top 100 universities under the list, defined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
    4. creative professionals who own copyright and related rights
    5. foreign highly paid professionals (whose salary is not less than 50 minimal wages)

Document Required

List of documents required for work permit application


The following documents are required when filing a work permit application in Ukraine:

  • application for work permit
  • passport copy with personal details (with certified Ukrainian translation)
  • color picture of an employee 3.5*4.5 sm
  • a copy of the draft employment agreement, certified by employer
  • documents confirming powers of the representative of the employer for application on behalf of the employer (POA, appointment order etc)
  • depending on the nature of employment, additional documents may be required. Examples include:
    • for persons who are applying as graduates of top 100 universities – copies of documents certifying higher education of such candidate;
    • for persons who are applying as creative professionals – certified copies of documents, evidencing copyright and related rights;
    • if foreign individual was sent to Ukraine by foreign employer for execution of specific scope of work under agreement, concluded between Ukrainian company and foreign company, a copy of such agreement will be required.

Note: all documents issued overseas must be legalized and translated into Ukrainian.

Filing Procedure

Work permit application must be filed manually


Once ready, the work permit application along with supporting documents must be filed with local authorities of the State Employment Service of Ukraine at the location of the company which is employing the foreign individual. The application must be filed by representative of the employer manually by visiting the office; there is no online filing facility available at present.

Processing Time: up to 10 working days

Government Fee for issuing work permits or their prolongation (depending on duration of a work permit):

  • for work permits, issued for one year to three years period  – six living wages*, as defined by Ukrainian law as of 1st of January of the year, when application is filed (as of 1st of January, 2017 living wage amounted UAH 1600);
  • for work permits, issued for six months to one year period  – four living wages, as defined by Ukrainian law as of 1st of January of the year, when application is filed;
  • for work permits, issued for less than six months period  –  two living wages, as defined by Ukrainian law as of 1st of January of the year, when application is filed.

Issuing Period: Work permit is issued for the term of employment under employment agreement but not longer than:

  • for three years – for “preferred categories of foreign employees“, namely:
    • IT professionals
    •  the cases when shareholder or ultimate beneficiary of the company is employed as the company’s employee;
    • persons who have a degree from a university that ranks in the top 100 universities under the list, defined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;
    • creative professionals who own copyright and related rights;
    • foreign highly paid professionals (whose salary is not less than 50 minimal wages).
  • for three years – for persons,  sent to Ukraine by foreign employer for execution of specific scope of work under agreement, concluded between Ukrainian company and foreign company.
  • for three years – for candidates sent to Ukraine for execution of specific tasks under Minutes of Entering Ukraine to the WTO and belong to category of Intercorporate Assignee.
  • for one year – for all other categories of foreign employees.

Employer can apply for work permit for shorter period than mentioned above.

Work permit can be renewed unlimited number of times.

Approval & Next Steps

Temporary residence permit may be required after securing the work permit


Upon review of the work permit application and within 7 working days after receipt of the application, the State Employment Service of Ukraine makes a decision on rejection or approval of the application and notifies (by registered mail, e-mail and by posting on the official website of the State Employment Service of Ukraine) the company-employer.

If application is approved the company-employer will receive bank details for payment fee for the work permit issuing (fee has to be paid within 10 working days)

If the application does not company with the above requirements, the State Employment Service of Ukraine can make justified decision to pause review of application or refuse in issuing work permit. Upon correction of the errors, the company-employer can apply for work permit again.

Once the employer has received work permit, the next steps are as follows:

  1. The Company-employer has to provide foreign employee with the certified copy of the work permit and employment agreement has to be signed with such an employee with 90 calendar days upon issue of the work permit.
  2. Within 10 calendar days after the employment agreement was concluded, the Ukrainian company (employer) is obliged to provide the State Employment Service of Ukraine with a copy of employment agreement (certified by the employer).
  3. In case foreign employee is planning to move to Ukraine for the period of employment, the employee will also have to obtain a temporary residence permit in Ukraine.
  4. After obtaining of temporary residence permit (if necessary), the foreign employee has to register his/her residential address with state authorities. For registration of residential address, the foreign employee will need to provide documents certifying right to reside at the residential address (ownership certificate, lease agreement or consent of owner/tenant etc).

Family Members

Family members can join upon approval of the applicant’s work permit


If the foreign employee wants to bring his family members to Ukraine, the employee will need to invite them to Ukraine on visa type ‘D’. Once in Ukraine, the family members can apply for temporary residence permit. Application for temporary residence permit of family members must be supported by proof of capacity of the foreign employee to provide financial support to his/her family members during their stay in Ukraine.

Temporary residence permit is issued on each member of the family except kids under 16 (information on kids who are less than 16 years old is indicated in the passport of one of the parents who is obtaining temporary residence permit).

In Summary


An employer in most cases needs to obtain a work permit when hiring a foreign employee. The employer must make sure that conditions of employment (including monthly salary) complies with requirements of Ukrainian law, carefully prepare the work permit application along with necessary supporting documents, and complete the post-approval tasks in a timely manner.

Since Ukraine is known for its bureaucracy and at times mind-boggling inefficiency, it’s highly advisable to engage services of a professional firm. If you need assistance in applying for your work permit or temporary residence permit in Ukraine, please contact us.