Actual problems of the immigration procedure for the expats in Ukraine
(by Anna Soboleva, Junior Lawyer at ABEA Relocation Ltd)
Publishing date: 22.05.2013
For many foreign nationalities Ukraine is not an easy country for immigration. Immigration law is fairly conservative and at the same time unpredictable in the way it is treated by different governmental authorities. In recent years a lot of changes were adopted to the immigration procedures that need to be followed and effectively responded to. Still certain rules that are inefficient and complicated exist. There are several important issues which we consider to be important to mention.
1. Family reunion for adult children
Legal grounds for long and short terms are clearly stipulated. If foreigner comes here for employment, based on it he/she gets temporary residence permit (TRP). Foreigner, who officially resides on the territory of Ukraine, has the right to invite the family on the ground of family reunion and obtain all necessary residence documents.
If the family consists of the partner (with officially registered relations: marriage certificate) and children (under 18 years), the procedure goes smoothly.
The problem arises if we are talking about adult children (elder 18), then Ukrainian legislation gives us a surprise in the form of impossibility for an adult child to immigrate for family reunification.
It is quite painful for the family. In this situation an adult child can get a visa under other reasons, for example on the basis of getting higher education. A student visa as a rule can be obtained only after enrollment to the University, which usually occurs in the spring or summer times.
This issue is not only legal, but also ethical one. In many countries child with 19 years old is still going to the school. Unfortunately, invitation from the school cannot be considered as a ground for visa D.
Partners cannot stay on the territory of Ukraine under family reunion grounds if they are not officially married. Ukrainian legislation does not recognize PACS contract or any other similar documents for common living, besides marriage certificate.
So it turns out that the immigration law of Ukraine sets rigid frames. Foreigners who concluded PACS, which itself already provides civil and family relationships, could not together immigrate to Ukraine on this ground. This issue is unregulated phenomenon in Ukraine, which is the consequence of the harmonization lack of the legislation in this area.
3. Visa D obtaining
It is also worth mentioning that obtaining visa on the basis of a work permit is process, which has room for improvement.
Initially foreign employee needs to get permission to work in Ukraine. Work Permit (WP) can be theoretically obtained without obligatory presence of employee.
In reality it turns out completely different. Most of the future foreign employees come on the territory of Ukraine before obtaining WP: to have look & see trip, to search for a house/apartment, to bring originals of necessary document for obtaining WP. After this future employee obtains WP in the Ukraine, foreigner needs to go back to home country with Work Permit and to go to the Ukrainian Embassy for getting Visa D. All these actions take time and money, not even taking into consideration the discomfort that arises for a foreign national.
From the side of foreigner non-perception of Ukrainian laws and internal reluctance of its compliance could take place.
It happens that a foreigner does not realize and does not want to accept the obligation of certain procedures and necessary documents.
Under these circumstances cooperation between foreign employees and people who fully support in obtaining all necessary documents for legal stay on the territory of Ukraine (HR Department, Legal department or Outsourced Lawyers) could be difficult.
Only after negative result in case of some failure of the law foreigner understands the seriousness and importance of a competent and lawful process of registration of legal stay on the territory Ukraine.
Expatriates do not always need to understand Ukrainian immigration legislation, but they do need to accept and fulfill it. Particularities of work of different governmental authorities could be hard in understanding, thus minimal involvement of foreign citizen in the internal process guarantees successful relationship and a positive result at the end.
The main task during immigration procedure is a successful cooperation of all the parties that are involved in the process of immigration. Such qualities as attentiveness and persistence are core one in the procedure of getting the right documents on time. High professionalism and ability to convince in the importance of certain actions is the key in obtaining immigration documents at the optimum time.