Are there work permit exemptions for jobs in Ukraine?

Zalizniak & AssociatesImmigration

As a general rule – no. All foreigners coming to Ukraine for work purposes are supposed to obtain a work permit in cooperation with their would-be employer. The process features multiple steps, from obtaining a work permit, followed by a visa on the grounds of the permit and finally by a temporary residence permit upon arrival of the foreigner in Ukraine. Both the work permit and visa are to be obtained in the foreigners’ country, whereas a temporary residence permit can only be delivered in Ukraine.

However, recent legislative amendments set out exemptions from this rule (see Law of Ukraine – On Employment). Certain categories of foreigners are allowed to work in Ukraine without a work permit. Those are:

  1. foreigners who are permanent residents in Ukraine
  2. foreigners with a permit to immigrate to Ukraine and/or refugees.
  3. foreigners who are recognized by Ukraine as such who need additional protection or who received temporal protection in Ukraine.
  4. representatives of foreign marine and inland transportation fleets and airlines which provide services in Ukraine.
  5. employees of foreign media which are accredited to work in Ukraine.
  6. professional athletes and artists who obtained a professional status to work in Ukraine according to their qualification. However as practice shows, the procedure for this is not regulated in Ukraine, meaning there are no practical possibilities to obtain the said status.
  7. employees of foreign emergency services if urgent work needs to be performed.
  8. representatives of foreign embassies and consulates registered in Ukraine.
  9. representatives of religious organizations which are foreigners and temporarily reside in Ukraine, upon formal invitation of a registered organization for their exclusive activities and upon official approval by the state agency which holds their registered statute.
  10. foreigners arriving in Ukraine to carry out projects of international technical aid.
  11. foreigners arriving in Ukraine for teaching and/or scientific activities in the higher educational institutions upon formal invitation of the latter.

Despite certain formal procedures for each of the above cases, foreigners can be exempt from having to obtain a work permit in Ukraine if they fit at least one of the criteria. All the instances outlined above except 1 to 4 serve as grounds for a type D visa to Ukraine (long-term visa) which is a compulsory prerequisite for a residence permit.