Date of publication: 15 August 2018
Leonid Gilevich, Lawyer
Foreigners and stateless persons who permanently reside in Ukraine, who are recognized as refugees in Ukraine, who have been given asylum, who are recognized as persons requiring additional protection, who have been given temporary protection, as well as those who have received permission to immigrate to Ukraine, have the right to be employed on grounds and under procedure established for the citizens of Ukraine. As a rule, in order to work in Ukraine the remaining foreigners will require a work permit. Having received such permit, they actually enjoy the same rights as citizens of Ukraine (including as regards working hours, rest time, grounds for dismissal, etc.), with some exceptions.
The permit is issued to a specific employer for hiring a foreigner for a particular position; at the same time foreigners can not be appointed to certain positions (namely, if the law provides that such vacancy filling requires Ukrainian citizenship). Any concurrent service (filling of another vacancy with the same or another employer) requires a separate work permit; the exception is only made for highly paid professionals (whose salary is at least 50 minimum wages), if the term of employment contract for concurrent job does not exceed the validity period of the work permit issued for the primary place of work. Certain categories of foreigners may work without work permit, in particular, the employees of foreign missions, foreigners who came to Ukraine to participate in the implementation of international technical assistance projects, foreign media workers accredited for work in Ukraine, and a number of others.
Generally, the validity period of work permit is one year. In a number of specific cases the work permit may be issued for up to three years. The permit validity may be prolonged an unlimited number of times. All documents for obtaining a work permit are filed by the employer.
In most cases the minimum wage of foreigners who are required to obtain a work permit shall be 10 minimum wages in Ukraine. The minimum wage requirements do not apply in case of obtaining a work permit for a special category foreigners, namely: the founders of legal entity established in Ukraine being the employer; graduates of universities listed in the first hundred of the world top universities; foreign employees in creative professions; foreign IT professionals. This special category falls within the scope of the same requirements to the minimum wage, which usually apply to the citizens of Ukraine.
Wages in Foreign Currency
In theory, Ukrainian legislation provides for the possibility of foreign employees to be paid in foreign currency (unlike Ukrainian citizens, whose wages can be paid in hryvnia only), but in practice, given the inconsistency in a number of legal acts, making such payments in foreign currency is quite difficult, to say the least.
Material Security and Social Services
Those foreigners whose employers pay the unified social contribution are entitled to material support and social services of the Social Insurance Fund of Ukraine, including as related to the temporary disability (sick leave). However, according to the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, foreigners working at representative offices of foreign companies are not subject to compulsory social insurance and, accordingly, are not entitled to receive material support and social services from the Social Insurance Fund of Ukraine.
Although formally the labor law does not provide for separate grounds for dismissal of foreigners, the employer who is required to obtain a work permit for the foreign employee should take into account that it is prohibited for a foreigner to work without such permit. Accordingly, in case such permit was revoked or was not prolonged, the employer must be able to dismiss a foreigner. To this end, a fixed-term employment agreement (contract) is entered into with foreigners, the term of which depends on the validity period of the employee’s work permit.