Foreign labor engagement in Ukraine

Foreign labor engagement in Ukraine

Foreign-owned businesses that operate in Ukraine can hire both local and foreign labor. While engaging locals is relatively straightforward, chartering foreign labor can be challenging. This is because of the extra paperwork required for foreigners to work in Ukraine. This article will briefly describe the documents required for a person to be eligible for employment in this nation.


Most of the Ukrainian labor law provisions apply equally to foreign and local citizens. This means there is not much difference concerning benefits, protections, and guarantees they get in Ukraine. Most of the laws, policies, rules & procedures apply the same way for both groups. The only distinctive quirk between immigrants and locals is that immigrants will need to produce more paperwork to get hired in the first place.

The Ukrainian law dictates some special procedures for onboarding foreign citizens in the State. These have to be guarded by the employer to prevent the employee's deportation and prevent any administrative liabilities against the company. Below are the documents that a foreigner should have to get hired in Ukraine.


A Visa

All foreigners coming to Ukraine to get a job must secure a long-term visa (the D-type visa). This includes foreigners from countries that are part of the visa-free scheme with the nation of Ukraine.

Business organizations should make sure that the foreigners they hire carry with them a Dtype visa with the following words written, either:
"Працевлаштування" which translates to "employment", or
"Робота в представництві іноземної компанії" which translates to "work in representative office".

If an individual visited Ukraine on another plan such as tourism or school, they cannot switch and apply for work in Ukraine. To apply for a job, they should exit the country and obtain a proper visa, the Dtype visa, and then come into Ukraine. It's also important to note that although the visa is vital to get work, it comes after obtaining a service card or work permit.

Where to apply for the visa card?

Foreigners can apply for visa cards (the Dtype visas) at the embassy of Ukraine or the consular office in their home countries. They cannot apply and obtain the Dtype visa inside Ukraine. Once a person has acquired this visa, they can apply for a residence permit (permanent/ temporary) in Ukraine.

Please note: If an individual comes from a country that signed a visa-free regime with Ukraine, they are not obligated to obtain a Dtype visa if they want to apply for a permanent residence without working in the country.

The Service Card

While the Dtype visa is mandatory for all foreigners to work in Ukraine, the work permit is conditional. Foreign individuals hired to work in Representative Offices (ROs) do not need to produce work permits. However, they should have service cards. The service cards are provided by Ukraine's Ministry of Economic Development & Trade. The card issued will be valid for 3 years, but after that, it can be extended.

Each service card that is provided will work for a specific representative office. Thus, if the employee moves from one RO to another, they should get another service card. It's not uncommon to find ROs applying for work permits for their prospective employees.

Work Permit

Other than those planning to work in ROs, all foreigners should have a work permit to work in Ukraine. The employer is required to file a specific list of documents with the employment center. This is done to get work permits for the employee. That's right, in Ukraine, the employer makes the application of work permits and filing of the required documents. And, the employer should prove in each case that an employee of similar caliber and qualifications does not exist in Ukraine. After successfully applying for the permit, an employment contract should be drafted and filed. It will be considered as part and parcel of the work permit application.

Please note: When a work permit is provided, it is for a particular post within the company. If the company terminates its engagement with the employee, he/she cannot use the work permit to work somewhere else. The law is strict such that even transfer of the individual within the group of entities in Ukraine is considered the termination of the engagement. The company receiving him/her is required to apply for a new work permit.

Remember, every time a new work permit is applied, there should be carefully drafted reasons to present to the employment office. If everything is okay, the permit is granted in the range of 30 - 40 days from the day the application is made. A special stamp is applied to the employee's passport to prove that the employee has a work permit.

The permit's validity is required to correspond with the length of the period the individual is going to work. This period will be specified in the employment contract. If the company wishes to continue working with the foreigner at the end of his/her contract, a new work permit should be applied for. The application should be made a month before the expiration of the work permit. This gives the employer enough time to prepare and submit well-organized documents.

If the employer does not apply for an extension of the work permit in time, the commission of the employment center can decline to issue a new work permit. If that happens, the employee has no choice but to leave the country immediately.


Organizations need to make sure that their foreign employees have all the paperwork required to work in Ukraine. Official documents that are acquired from outside Ukraine should be notarized and legalized in their State of issuance. A translation of the documents (into the Ukrainian language) should be available but notarized in Ukraine. Overall, the processes are not so complicated, but they need to be done carefully. For help regarding the engagement of foreign workers in Ukraine, you can work with SIGTAX in Ukraine.


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