Ukraine simplifies entry for foreign tech specialists

Employees of the job search website Jooble work in the company’s main office in Kyiv on Sept. 16, 2020.Photo by Kostyantyn Chernichkin

In an attempt to attract more foreign tech specialists to Ukraine, the government has made it simpler to enter the country.

Ukraine on Feb. 24 approved the immigration quotas for 5,000 foreign specialists who want to work in the local information technology sector.

With these quotas, techies can work at different enterprises and get a permanent residence permit, which they will need to update only once in a decade. It is simpler than receiving a traditional work permit that has to be renewed more regularly and allows working only for a certain company.

Tech specialists with immigration quotas can apply for a job on the same terms as Ukrainian citizens. Foreigners can even register as private entrepreneurs and pay a favorable 5% revenue tax — the most popular way to work in the tech industry in Ukraine.

With quotas, immigrants can cross into Ukraine freely and don’t need to apply for a visa again to return to the country. They can also move with their families.

For local companies, it is also going to be easier to work with such immigrants, because Ukrainians will soon be able to employ them without the need to renew their work permits each year.

However, only five Ukrainian cities allow immigrants with quotas: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odesa and Lviv — Ukraine’s largest cities and its major tech hubs. Kyiv can give quotas to 2,500 tech specialists, Kharkiv — to 700, Dnipro, Odesa and Lviv — to 600 each.

According to Mykhailo Fedorov, minister of digital transformation, foreign techies will improve the country’s image and attract investments to the Ukrainian IT industry; foreigners will also share their knowledge and experience with Ukrainian colleagues, helping them learn and grow, he said.

Fedorov said that Ukrainian IT lacks tech specialists. Local firms need about 50,000 new employees every year, while there are only a bit over 16,000 tech students graduating from Ukrainian universities annually.

According to Olexandr Bornyakov, deputy minister of digital transformation, Ukraine will be selecting IT immigrants thoroughly: Foreign tech specialists must be skilled and experienced to be accepted as quota immigrants. He also said that their chances to get quotas will increase if they apply earlier.

To get immigration quotas, foreign IT specialists who are already in Ukraine have to visit the State Migration Service and submit all required documents, including an application form and passport. Those who live abroad have to visit Ukrainian embassies or consular posts in the country of their residence.

It takes 3-4 months for Ukraine to review the application.

Foreigners who were sentenced to more than one year in jail or those who have drug and alcohol addiction can’t get the quotas.

(c)KYIV POST 2021

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