How can a foreigner open an employment company in Ukraine?

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Work permit obtainment for foreigner in Kiev (Ukraine)
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What is easier and less costly for a foreigner: to register a Ukrainian company as a founder or to buy an existing business?

Learn from our practical experience about issues that one may face when opening such a company and how they may be solved. 

We will also reveal the details of obtaining a work permit and a license for employment agency.

The case. In mid-March 2019, we were contacted by a Client from England who wanted to recruit Ukrainian citizens for seasonal positions in his country. He needed therefore a company with a license for employment agency in foreign countries. The Client wanted his English company to be the founder of the Ukrainian company.

Possible legal options

1. Registration of a company

2. Buying an existing company

Registration of a company

Service: Registration of a company (LLC)

The first stage: company registration in Ukraine with a foreign founder (legal entity). This requires:

  • to obtain an apostilled document verifying the English company registration. The duration of this stage depends on how quickly the Client submits this registration certificate. Based on our experience, it usually takes 1-2 weeks.
  • to appoint a СEO (director) of the company: 
    • If a citizen of Ukraine is appointed for this position, no questions will arise in any state agency. 
    • A foreigner may be appointed as a director of a Ukrainian company only after obtaining a tax ID number and a work permit. 

Interesting fact! Here we have a certain inconsistency, since a foreigner may obtain a work permit only after submitting an employment contract between him/her and an existing company. As a result, we face a vicious circle: a foreigner, who doesn’t have a work permit, shouldn’t be appointed as a company’s CEO, as it may lead to questions from the regulatory authorities, and it is impossible to obtain a work permit before the company is registered.

Solution. When registering a company, it is recommended to appoint a citizen of Ukraine as a head of the company, who remains the company’s CEO for as long as it is necessary to obtain a work permit for a foreigner. Our experience shows that it usually takes 1-2 weeks. Then a change to the company’s director is made.

Related article: On which leadership positions can be assigned a foreign citizen without a work permit?

The second stage: obtaining a license for employment agency. A foreign trade agreement shall be therefore signed between the newly created Ukrainian firm and English company. The procedure for obtaining a license usually takes a month and a half.

Service: License for employment agency in foreign countries

Buying an existing company 

The second option is to buy an existing company with a license for employment agency. The key benefit is saving of time, as the company already has the license. And our Client decided to choose this particular option.

Related article: Helped to open a business in Ukraine for a foreigner without a personal presence.

Re-registration of a company requires:

  • Change in ownership;
  • Opening necessary bank accounts and e-keys.

The procedure for change in ownership

Upon arrival in the UK, the Client sent us the apostilled registration documents and a power of attorney for our lawyers. All further work was done without his participation. 

Related article: Changed director, address and founders in one day 

The participants were replaced in 1 day. But the process of changing the director lasted two weeks, since the head of the company had to be a British citizen, whom we assisted in obtaining a tax ID number and a work permit

Having approved a foreign citizen as a director of the company in the Kyiv City Employment Center, our lawyers received a 3-year work permit, which is the maximum possible period.

Opening of bank accounts and e-keys

We provided legal support and assistance in opening a bank account and registering e-keys for submitting reports. Both of these procedures require director’s personal presence, but he could come to Ukraine only for half a day. 

We arranged everything as quickly as possible, and successfully completed the procedures on due time. We have got the LLC bank accounts opened in the Ukrainian bank and the required e-keys duly obtained.

Our company has also taken the overall control and responsibility for the company’s accounting activities during the first six months of its operation.

Interesting fact! 

In addition to opening an account in Ukraine, the Client was also interested in opening an account for the Ukrainian LLC in a foreign bank, as well as in all related bureaucratic procedures.

The key reasons to open an account located in another jurisdiction were:

  • to protect funds by placing them in reputable financial institutions in Europe;
  • to avoid foreign currency proceeds subject to mandatory sale (the mandatory sale of foreign currency proceeds for legal entities was cancelled by the Resolution of 20.06.2019).

The currency liberalization programme, implemented shortly before the start of our cooperation with the Client, cancelled the need for obtaining special licenses and other permits for opening such accounts abroad. This allowed the Client to freely open a foreign account pursuant to local laws. 

As a result, our Client obtained:

  • A functioning company;
  • A valid license for employment agency in foreign countries;
  • A foreign director, employed in accordance with all the law requirements;
  • Accounting services for the company’s first six months of operation;
  • Valid bank accounts and e-keys for submitting report.


Publication date: 26/06/2019
Marina Losenko

About author

Name: Marina Losenko

Position: Associate

Education: National Aviation University

Knowledge of languages: Russian, Ukrainian

Email: [email protected]

Marina Losenko is a lawyer of the company, specializing in corporate law and intellectual property law.

Marina has extensive experience of registration and dissolution of enterprises, charities and non-governmental organizations, representative offices of foreign companies as well as formalization of changes to registration information of the entities.

For quite a long time she has been working in the field of licensing and obtained licenses for different types of business activities including sale of medicines (license for activities of drugstores); wholesale of pesticides and agrochemicals; activities with scrap; activities with hazardous wastes; operations with scrap of precious metals and gemstones; private security services; transportation; tour services; use of redio frequency resource; IPTV services, etc.

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Marina Losenko
Kuzava Vlasta
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