• New Regulation Creates Significant Changes to Immigration System
  • July 29, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • A new regulation has resulted in changes to immigration processing in Ukraine. The regulation features streamlined document requirements, a longer validity period for intracompany transfer work permits, new compliance requirements for employers and greater authority for the government agency charged with protecting the local labor market.

    The changes, which took immediate effect, are part of the government’s ongoing restructuring of the immigration system.

    Changes to Document Requirements

    Document requirements for first-time work permit applications have been streamlined, as many of the tax and insurance documents previously required from the local employer are no longer required.

    The immigration office has, however, reinstated the medical certificate requirement for work permit applications, after having abolished it several years ago. The government has yet to confirm which medical institutions abroad or in Ukraine will be authorized to issue the medical certificate, which must state that the foreign national does not suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction or any infectious disease.

    Work Permit Validity Increased for Intracompany Transferees

    Intracompany transferee work permits will be valid for three years and can be renewed for an additional three years. All other work permit categories are issued in renewable one-year increments.

    Official Processing Times Reduced; Timing of Fee Payments Changed

    Government adjudication times have been reduced to 15 calendar days, down from 30 days. However, in practice, a procedural change regulating when applicants are required to pay government fees may extend the end-to-end process beyond 30 calendar days.

    Work permit applicants are now required to pay government fees within the 30 calendar days after their application is approved. After receiving the payment, the immigration office has ten business days to issue the work permit. Previously, payment of all government fees was required prior to filing.

    New Notification Requirements

    Employers must now notify the Employment Center (the division of the Ministry of Labor that enforces local labor laws) within three business days when a foreign worker’s employment ends before the date specified in the work contract. Employers must also notify the Employment Center or local immigration office within five business days if a foreign employee does not commence work according to the terms of the employment contract. These notification requirements did not previously exist.

    Stricter Measures to Protect Local Workforce

    The Employment Center has increased its scrutiny of local employers hiring foreign nationals over Ukrainian candidates. The agency has greater authority to deny a work permit if the employer has advertised the relevant opening, but refused to interview a Ukrainian national sent by the Employment Center to fill that vacancy. It is not known how strictly the Employment Center will apply this authority or whether the Employment Center will attempt to fill all vacancies advertised by companies that sponsor foreign workers.

    Until immigration officials are fully trained on the new regulations, inconsistencies in the enforcement of policies and eligibility criteria are likely. Fragomen will provide updates as further developments occur.