Saturday, August 14, 2010

Is Getting a Work Permit in Ukraine Worth It?

Sometimes my wife and I ask ourselves this. By the time we finally get her temporary residency permit in a few weeks, it will have been a full six months since we sat down with her employer and discussed the steps we would take to get her legally employed at their company. Mind you, work permits are only issued for a year, so I guess that means 6 months out of each year will be spent moving documents from place to place and wondering what the outcome will be.

Her employer took on most of the work, but some things we had to do ourselves. I can't imagine a foreigner who is not fluent in Russian/Ukrainian being able to complete the process without breaking down and paying a lawyer upwards of 500 Euro to take care of [much of] the work.

But receiving a work permit is just the first -- albeit most critical -- part of a three-stage process:
  1. obtain work permit (no small feat)
  2. obtain visa (take trip to Ukrainian consulate abroad)
  3. obtain temporary residency in Ukraine
The third stage turned out to be surprisingly difficult. It's more than the usual visit to the ZHEK for an OVIR registration. You need to get statements from everyone registered at your address of registration, AIDS and tuberculosis medical tests, and a statement from the tax office on your employer that takes 10 working days to issue. I figure that by the time we get this all done I will have been to the Kiev OVIR 8 times.

Most landlords are understandably not interested in registering anyone at their apartment, even temporarily. It's more work for them, potential problems with the ZHEK, and increased utilities payments as well as taxes (there's a 15% income tax on rental income). Even if they agree to this, expect to foot the bill for taxes and utilities. This step can be so much of a problem that apartment rental agencies will take care of all this for you for a modest fee of... $1200 USD. That just goes to show how hard it is to get a landlord to go with you to the ZHEK.

Soon this process will finally be over... for the next 6 or 7 months, at least. I'm sure over 100 man hours will have been spent if you consider the time my wife's employer spent preparing and submitting documents, our trips to the Krakow consulate along with the innumerable trips here and there across Kiev to submit documents for police clearance certificates and then pick them up, getting a taxpayer's code, and all the rest.


  1. So the question remains then... was it worth it ?

  2. Probably not:) The main lesson I learned was never to have any dealings with the Ukrainian government machine again, whatever that takes. That will change only if the bureaucracy is reformed.