Work permit



How to get a Work Permit in Ukraine

Obtaining a Work permit is obligatory for all non residents in Ukraine, who tend to be employed officially. Besides, a Work permit allows foreigners to stay in Ukraine legally for more than 90 days, defined by the long-term visa validity term. Minimal term of legal residence, given with the permit, is one year and may be prolonged for the same period of time.

The regulation on the Law on employment is being corrected by the officials regularly and a number of Internet resources are not able to keep the pace. The following information, put below, is provided as a legal consultancy by the professional Legal Company and is updated by autumn, 2013.

Similar to many other countries, Ukraine strives for defending its internal labour market. A foreigner can be officially employed just if this person is contracted out with a legal itinerary. According to Art. 8 of the Law № 803 and Art. № 8 of 3929, foreigners have the right to work in Ukraine. But lawmaker delineates the requirements for foreigners to their employment in Ukraine. By the general state position, the Permit for a foreigner employment may be issued to the employer in the absence of the relevant region workers capable of performing the appropriate work, or if there is sufficient justification appropriate employment of foreigners. Though the following categories of persons may be employed without special permits (the expanded list):

• foreigners who have acquired refugee status in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine or received permission to immigrate to Ukraine;

• foreigners who are recognized entities that require additional protection, or who have been granted temporary protection in Ukraine;

• representatives of foreign sea (river) fleet and airlines serving these companies in Ukraine;

• employees of foreign media accredited to work in Ukraine;

• athletes who have acquired professional status of artists and art workers to work in Ukraine in the specialty;

• employees of emergency services to perform emergency work;

• staff of foreign missions who are registered on the territory of Ukraine in accordance with legislation;

• clergy who are foreigners and temporarily staying in Ukraine at the invitation of religious organizations for conducting canonical activity only in such organizations with an official agreement with the authority that registered the statutes (regulations) of the religious organization;

• foreigners who came to Ukraine to participate in the implementation of international technical assistance;

• foreigners who arrived in Ukraine for conducting teaching majoring in public higher education institutions in their invitation;

• other foreigners in cases stipulated by laws and international treaties of Ukraine ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The previous version of the regulations on official employment for foreigners was considerably complicated and demanded huge paperwork. Since July, 2013, Work permit obtaining process has been simplified, though the employers stated it is still rather controversial so that special in-house legal staff or professional intermediaries to be engaged to manage obtaining a Work permit successfully. The Law oblige an employer to prepare and submit the package of the relevant documents to the official bodies. The candidate – non resident contributes by providing the potential employer with necessary personal documents.

The consultancy on the amendments, came into power since July, 2013, is provided by our Legal expert - Tetyana Ivanovych, Leading Associate of 'Vasil Kisil & Partners' Legal Company:

The Updated Law on Employment for the foreign citizens:

Since July, 2013, Work permit obtaining process has been simplified

On July 5, 2013, the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 437 regarding “Issuance, Extension of the Validity Term and Annulment of Permissions for the Use of Labor of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” as of May 27, 2013, came into force (the “Resolution”). The Resolution has reduced the number of documents to be provided, shortened the timeline and altered the step-by-step procedure of work permits obtaining.

Eligible Individuals

The Resolution has excluded from the list of eligible individuals the foreigners "who provide services without establishing commercial presence in Ukraine " in accordance with Ukraine’s commitment to WTO's GATS, however, added the foreigners who have applied for the refugee status. The list currently includes:

  1. foreigners expected to be employed by Ukrainian employers provided there are no qualified Ukrainian employees or the necessity of foreigner’s employment is duly substantiated (namely, foreign top-managers who are founders/co-founders of Ukrainian business entity and copyright owners who are invited for the purposes of exercising such rights);
  2. foreigners seconded by foreign business entities to Ukraine under agreements between Ukrainian and foreign business entities, provided that the number of foreigners hired does not exceed half of the total number of employees of respective Ukrainian business entity;
  3. foreigners seconded to Ukraine as intra-corporate transferees;
  4. foreigners who have applied for the refugee status.


The foreigner provides his/her perspective employer with the following personal documents, which are subsequently submitted to the local State Employment Center (the SEC) (Kyiv/Sevastopol city or regional):

  1. a copy of diploma supplemented with an apostil stamp and certified translation into Ukrainian;
  2. a copy of the first page of the employee’s passport supplemented with a certified translation into Ukrainian and all pages with entry/exit stamps and visas;
  3. two 3,5 x 4,5 color photographs of the employee;
  4. a document issued by a medical institution certifying that a person is not suffering from chronic alcoholism, substance abuse, drug addiction or infectious diseases;

The following documents are prepared by the employer:

  1. an application of standard form;
  2. a statement of optional form made by the employer that the foreigner’s position does not require access to state secrets;
  3. a non-conviction certificate issued in Ukraine or home country supplemented with an apostil stamp and certified translation into Ukrainian if issued abroad;
  4. copy of charter of the company (in case of employment of founders/co-founders);
  5. documents certifying copyright ownership (in case of employment of a copyright owner).

The Resolution’s most significant change is reduction of documents required by the SEC with a company’s charter, documents confirming due social deductions and tax payments, substantiation of a foreigner’s work in Ukraine and draft employment agreement.

The Resolution introduces some positive novelties regarding payment of state fee. The receipt of state fee payment shall be provided to the SEC only if a positive decision is rendered after it has been taken. Notably positive is that the Resolution does not require payment of state fee in case of work permit extension any more.

A medical certificate is a novelty of the Resolution as well. It is unclear now what institutions may issue such document and which “infectious diseases” are meant*. The SEC has applied for the respective clarification to the Ministry of Healthcare. Meanwhile, the SEC accepts medical certificates issued by Ukrainian and foreign medical institutions (upon due legalization). In Ukraine, such certificate can be obtained from either private or state medical institutions and implies a two stage process: (a) obtainment of psychiatric and narcological certificates at special institutions called “dispensary”, (b) medical examination and obtainment of requested medical certificate at local hospitals, polyclinics etc. In other countries such certificate can be obtained from any medical institution, which has necessary equipment and personnel to conduct an examination and certify absence of abovementioned diseases. Medical certificate issued outside Ukraine must bear an apostil stamp and be translated into Ukrainian.

Procedure Timeline

In accordance with the Resolution, the obtaining process is divided into several stages as opposed to single 30-days consideration period after which the permit could be issued under the previous procedure. The outline of procedure is as follows:

  • the submitted documents must be considered by the SEC within 15 days.
  • if the SEC renders positive decision the employer must be notified within 3 days and is expected to pay a state fee which currently amounts to 4,588.00 UAH, (UAH 4,872.00 starting December 1, 2013).
  • the SEC issues a work permit within 10 days after the money is received.
  • at the final stage the employer must send a copy of executed employment agreement with a foreigner to the SEC (within 3 days after signing).

Please mind that the Resolution sets a time limit on submission of application: the employer may apply for the work permit no earlier than 15 days after the vacancy opening form has been submitted to the local SEC. The vacancy opening form is called to attract Ukrainian citizens interested in respective position. The employer is obliged to employ individuals forwarded by the SEC to fill the vacant position announced through the vacancy opening form.

Other Amendments

The Resolution provides for additional grounds for refusal by the SEC: 1) inconsistency of a foreigner’s education or qualification and the requirements specified in the vacancy opening form and 2) non-payment of penalties for violations of the Law of Ukraine “On Employment” No. 5067-VI as of 05.07.2012 by the employer.

The Resolution extends grounds for invalidation of a permit adding the following: 1) the employer fails to submit an executed copy of employment agreement; 2) early termination of an employment agreement; 3) a foreigner works under conditions other than stipulated in the work permit or for another employer.

In case a foreigner fails to commence his or her employment within the term stipulated in the labor agreement without a good cause, the employer must inform about this the SEC and local office of State Immigration Service within 5 days.

Besides new procedure, the SEC announced that work permits will be issued in the form of plastic cards instead of paper ones. Meanwhile, neither paper nor plastic permits are issued due to absence of forms and the SEC issues paper certificates proving that the SEC has issued a work permit to a particular individual.

The Updated Medical certificate details info:

*According to the Order #415 of the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine by Oct, 19, 2001:

1) active tuberculosis and HIV-infection;

2) the list of other infectious diseases is based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision. 

The official letter-clarification by the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine (in Ukr) is attached.

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