Co-authored by Anna Babych of AEQUO

Amendments to the procedure for foreign workers to obtain employment permits came into effect in late 2017. The Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts Concerning Elimination of Barriers to Attraction of Foreign Investments law removes the previous rule that a company could only employ a foreigner in the absence of finding a suitably qualified Ukrainian employee, or where able to show a well-grounded explanation of necessity.

Whilst that will make it easier for foreign workers to work in Ukraine, it is counterbalanced by the fact that the new law also sets minimum salary levels for foreign employees that vary by sector and are generally higher than those provided for local employees. The intention here is to incentivize employers to hire local specialists over foreign ones, who will be entitled to a much higher "minimum salary." In addition, when a foreign worker is nonetheless hired, the minimum salary requirement ensures high tax collection.

Where a foreign employee has more than one job he or she will need to get a work permit for each one. However, there is an exception for high-paid employees who take a part-time position that will expire before a full-time role for which a permit already exists.

The procedure for obtaining a work permit is to apply to the relevant body of the central executive authority implementing the state policy in the field of employment and labor migration. Permits last between one and three years, and the application process takes seven business days (three days for the extension of a permit). Applications for an extension must be submitted no later than 20 calendar days before the expiration of the permit.

Any refusal to issue or extend a permit is required to contain a justification for the refusal.


Overall, the changes are an improvement to the procedure and conditions applicable to obtaining work permits, and business groups in Ukraine have welcomed the changes.

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