The Ukrainian IT industry is focused on the international market. Therefore, it’s a fairly common practice for IT companies to hire specialists from other countries. At first glance, the process of legalizing a foreign worker is clearly described by the Ukrainian State Migration Service.
At the same time, the Tretten Lawyers team has already helped many Ukrainian IT companies employ foreigners, and we have never had two identical cases.
If you plan to hire an employee from another country for your business, learn about the main stages of legalizing the status of an IT specialist and the typical pitfalls of this process to keep your business in order.
Algorithm of legalizing a foreign IT worker and pitfalls when doing so
International IT companies with structural units in Ukraine that relocate foreign workers to strengthen teams often turn to us for assistance with employment.
This also concerns foreign business owners who hire Ukrainian development teams and need to stay in Ukraine for more than 90 out of every 180 days (as allowed by the visa-free travel regime). In both cases, the best solution is to legalize the status of the foreigner by obtaining a work permit and temporary residence permit in Ukraine. To get those permits quickly and painlessly, you should follow these steps.
Step 1. Obtain a work permit for the foreigner
The Ukrainian company should apply to the regional employment center at the place of its registration with a request to issue a work permit to a specific person for a specific position.
Pitfalls: KVED codes and the company’s authorized capital
Be sure to take advantage of the exceptions provided for foreign IT professionals. It is possible for them to obtain a work permit for a longer period than for other specialists (i.e. not for one year but for up to three years), and the requirements for the monthly payment of 10 minimum wages to foreigners does not apply.
To do this, it is important that the main KVED (Classification of Economic Activities) code of the host company is 62.01 — computer programming activities. Otherwise, the work permit will be issued for up to one year and the company will be required to pay the foreigner a monthly salary of at least 10 minimum wages (which is UAH 60,000 in 2021).
Also, the company’s authorized capital must already be formed at the time of submitting the application to the Employment Center — that is, all members must already fully contribute to the company’s fund. Without this, the Employment Center will most likely reject your application.
What if I only have individual entrepreneurs?
If you plan to hire a foreign employee and your business is represented only by individual entrepreneurs (IEs), doing so will be quite unprofitable. If you need to structure a business in Ukraine or find another option for hiring a foreign specialist, contact us at this link.
Notification of the decision
The Employment Center has to notify you of the decision to grant a work permit to your potential employee within 10 days of your submitting the documents. Then, it only remains to pay the state duty in the amount of UAH 13,620 set for 2021 (it changes every year). It is important to pay it within 10 days of receiving the notification.
If you do not make this payment in time, the foreigner’s work permit for your company will be automatically revoked. It will also be revoked if you do not employ the foreigner within three months after obtaining the permit.
Note that the person being employed may be abroad: his or her physical presence is not required to obtain a work permit.
Step 2. Obtaining a type D visa for an employee and entering Ukraine on its basis
Next, the foreign worker must obtain a type D visa. He or she can apply for it at the Embassy of Ukraine in any country (not necessarily in the country of his or her citizenship). In practice, IT lawyers usually help clients at this stage. Many people can’t even sign up for an interview at the embassy right away because of the intricacies of the electronic booking system.
It is best to register for an interview when the foreigner being hired already has the original and a notarized copy of the work permit. Therefore, send these documents to him or her as soon as you receive them. Only on the basis of these documents will the foreign worker be able to obtain a type D visa.
Next, the foreign worker goes for an interview at the embassy, bringing with them the required documents, and gets a visa. As a rule, there should be no problems here. Sometimes, employees of Ukrainian embassies in African countries call companies. We advise you to specify the lawyer’s number in the questionnaire, as he or she will be able to answer all of the embassy’s questions in a timely and professional manner. After obtaining a visa, your specialist must enter Ukraine on its basis. Even if he or she is already here, it is necessary to leave and enter on the basis of the type D visa. This fulfills the visa’s role in the legalization of a foreigner.
Pitfalls: Not possible if someone has been in Ukraine for more than 90 days without a visa
The Migration Service automatically calculates how many days a foreigner stays in Ukraine without a visa. If the Migration Service believes that your specialist is staying in Ukraine illegally, he or she will not be granted a type D visa. Even the best lawyer will not help here, as doing so is technically impossible. That is why we advise you to start the legalization process in advance, when an individual still has enough time to stay in Ukraine without a visa.
Step 3. Obtaining a temporary residence permit for a foreigner in Ukraine
At this stage, you (or your lawyers) must collect the set of documents required to obtain a temporary residence permit. This includes:
- a notarized copy of the foreigner’s passport
- the company’s obligation to employ the foreigner
- medical insurance for the entire period of validity of the residence permit (maximum three years)
- receipts for payment of the state duty by the foreigner for obtaining a temporary residence permit
The foreigner must be personally present when submitting this set of documents to the Migration Service. Temporary residence permits now contain fingerprints and a photo of the owner taken by the Migration Service. Of course, it is best for a foreigner to submit documents together with your lawyer, as the foreigner is unlikely to be able to answer the tricky questions officials love to ask. Residence permits are issued in about 10 to 14 days.
Pitfalls: Cheap health insurance, residence registration
There are no specific requirements for health insurance for foreigners in Ukraine. Therefore, when applying for a residence permit, many are tempted to select something cheap. However, we advise you to go for a more expensive plan that includes basic medical services. The experience of our clients shows that this is more profitable in the event of an insured accident, and it will make the employee feel more secure.
And another special task
A foreign worker must register his or her residence somewhere within 10 days of receiving a temporary residence permit in Ukraine. All official correspondence, including with the Migration Service, will be carried out through the registration address. Usually, providers of legal services for IT companies suggest ways to resolve this issue. At least, Tretten Lawyers does.
Learn more about the ways we help IT companies legalize foreign employees at tretten.pro/poslugi/.
The surprises are not over
We have analyzed only the most common problems that arise when registering foreign workers in Ukraine. In practice, this process can be somewhat confusing due to the personal circumstances of a specific foreigner, the imperfection of Ukrainian migration legislation, the need to fill out and collect lots of different documents, and differing interpretations of legislation by migration officials. We often have to deal with rather curious cases and find creative solutions.If you plan to hire a foreigner in an IT company and have questions for an IT lawyer, follow this link.