on 15 May Ukraine introduced new laws for restricting the movement of foreign citizens in the country. Some see this as a negative step towards protectionism of the labour market. Many expats are concerned, due to the fact that in Ukraine the state agencies are never correctly informed about changes and procedures, so there is never a clear system to follow.
However, I think the new system is a positive step to ensure that any foreign citizens who are living here are 'legal' and they have gone through the correct processes to obtain work permits and residency status. During the past few days many expats living here have contacted me for help. Many of them live here on a normal multiple entry visa, but some of them 'work' or do some 'business' without having work permits. So I decided to introduce a special service from the BBCU to help these people who needed to become legally employed and be provided with the correct documents.
The new rules mean that a foreign citizen can only stay in Ukraine for a maximum of 180 days out of 365 per year. The ONLY way to remain longer is to have a work permit with temporary residents status, which is usally for one year, or to obtain Permanent Residency Status.
Because this is Ukraine, many of the new rules have not been thought through correctly.
For example it would appear that the law makers completely forgot about spouses and children of expats living and working in Ukraine.
However, I still think its a positive step. Ukrainians certainly know how to endure the hardships of going through a strict employment process as foreign citizens in EU states and in particular in the UK. So, I'm advising my expat friends who are not 'legal' in Ukraine to stop complaining and just do things as per the rule of law.
I met with the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, this week and he informed me that they too are taking this very seriously and helping their citizens to get on the right side of the law. (AMCHAM have 5 times more in their staff team than the BBCU).