How to choose a suitable NGO for obtaining a residence permit in Ukraine?

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During the war in Ukraine, almost every day, a new public organization or charity is registered with the aim of providing assistance. As practice shows, most of them attract citizens of other countries to their activities.

Foreigners who plan to engage in volunteering or charitable organizations often plan to obtain a residence permit through volunteer work. Such an opportunity does exist, but it is not comfortable for everyone.

It is important to remember that there are other ways to obtain a residence permit in Ukraine and engage in volunteer or charitable activities. For example, one can obtain official employment in a public organization in Ukraine.

Even during the war, legislative and executive authorities are constantly making changes regarding the regulation of the basic residence and employment of foreigners in Ukraine, entry and exit procedures, and the issuance of documents for permanent or temporary residence.

Today, we will talk about the types of residence permits for those who plan to start working in a Ukrainian public organization or do not have other grounds for obtaining a residence permit in Ukraine but want to join the volunteer or charitable community.

Residence permit in Ukraine through work in a civil or charitable organization: A volunteer organisation must have a non-profit status 

Obtaining a non-profit status is a mandatory legal requirement. To obtain this status, you need to submit an application and the Charter or Description to the tax authorities at the location of the foundation or organisation. However, filing at the place of location is only valid during wartime, as the Registers operate in a limited mode.

A foundation or organisation acquires non-profit status from the moment it is included in the Register of Non-Profit Organisations and receives a relevant certificate. 

The availability of non-profit status for a volunteer is an indicator of how the organisation functions.

Does the foundation have to have the status of a volunteer organisation?

The status of a volunteer organisation is a status that will allow a foundation or organisation to engage you as a volunteer. To obtain the status, a corresponding application, an extract from the Unified State Register and a duly certified copy of the Charter are submitted to the National Social Service.

In the case of a non-governmental organisation, the Charter must state that volunteer assistance is work and services performed free of charge to support low-income, unemployed, large families, homeless and other vulnerable groups of the population. In other words, it should be noted that a non-governmental organisation extends its activities not only to members of the organisation, but also to members of the community.

Volunteering is voluntary and free of charge. When engaging volunteers in various projects, it is advisable to conclude a volunteer agreement with them, which will to some extent protect both the NGO or charity foundation on the one hand and the volunteer, who will have clear rights, obligations and conditions of activity. The conclusion of such an agreement is not mandatory.

Volunteers may also be issued with a volunteer certificate if necessary.

Involvement of foreigners in volunteering in Ukraine

Foreigners and stateless persons who are legally resident in Ukraine and entered on the basis of a D-10 visa can become volunteers. Another prerequisite is the legal capacity of such persons.

The main stages of legalising a volunteer in Ukraine include

  • bringing the documents of a non-governmental organisation or charitable foundation in line with the requirements set out in the law (obtaining a non-profit status, entering into the register of volunteer organisations, etc.)
  • obtaining a D visa for citizens with a visa entry procedure,
  • preparation and submission of documents for obtaining a residence permit,
  • registration of a place of residence.

Our lawyers will help you with each of these steps, including preparing constituent documents, necessary translations, insurance, filling out an electronic visa application form, and preparing all the necessary documents for obtaining a visa and residence permit.

For organisations that plan to engage foreign volunteers, there is an additional condition: information about such an organisation or foundation must be posted on the official website of the National Social Service of Ukraine. After accepting a foreign volunteer, a corresponding notification must be sent to this service.

Important! Engaging in volunteer activities does not in itself give a foreigner the right to not comply with the terms of stay in Ukraine. It is mandatory to obtain a temporary residence permit - only this will allow you not to leave Ukraine after the expiry of the statutory period of stay.

You may also like: How to Get an Official Volunteer Status in Ukraine for a Residence Permit in Ukraine?

What are the steps and documents neede to obtain a visa and certificate through work in the NGO or charity?

If you plan to obtain a residence permit in Ukraine through employment in a public or charitable organization, or consider this option as comfortable for you, you need to go through the following stages:

  • Obtain a work permit at the Employment Center (you will need an application, translations, draft employment agreement, etc.);
  • Obtain a D visa at a consular office (you will need an application, documents on financial support, insurance, translations, and others);
  • Obtain a residence permit at the Migration Service (you will need to submit documents, arrange insurance, prepare document translations, and more.

At each stage, the public organization or charity must confirm its readiness to employ a foreigner, guarantee financial support, and be aware of all the responsibilities that arise in case of violation of Ukraine's migration legislation.

Of course, employment is a more reliable basis for obtaining a residence permit in Ukraine, as volunteering does not involve earning a profit. Therefore, the host organization needs to take many measures to ensure the financial support of a foreign volunteer.

It is important to remember that foreign citizens are not allowed to work in Ukraine without permission, even if they reside on legal grounds.

What requirements must be met to avoid the cancellation of the work permit and residence permit in Ukraine?

When hiring a foreign worker, it is important not only to correctly prepare the documents, but also to comply with the rules of stay and residence of the foreigner in Ukraine. We have developed a number of additional recommendations for organizations that we provide legal consultations to, with the aim of preventing the refusal to issue or cancel documents for legal employment and residence of foreigners.

These requirements should also be taken into account by volunteers or foreigners planning to work in an organization, if they do not want to be left without a basis for a temporary residence permit in Ukraine. 

Requirements that must be followed when employing foreign workers:

  • Additional requirements have emerged over the past year for citizens of Russia and Belarus when obtaining or renewing a work permit and residence permit. In particular, additional checks have been introduced, including by the Security Service of Ukraine. Therefore, it is necessary to organize everything correctly, prepare for the inspection and possible interview.
  • Obtaining a visa has become a mandatory requirement for citizens of Russia. Our specialists constantly monitor this issue.
  • After submitting documents for a residence permit, the migration service units in Kyivv and the Kyiv region require the foreigner to be constantly present at their registered place of residence. Failure to be present at the time of inspection or leaving the country is a reason for refusing to issue a permit. Although this contradicts the current legislation, the position of the State Migration Service of Ukraine is to maintain such decisions on refusals.
  • A new reason has been added for canceling a work permit: the employer's failure to pay social security contributions for the foreign employee within two months. Our lawyers and accountants have thoroughly studied this issue and have developed several action algorithms, including measures to minimize costs.

Our company's migration lawyers carefully monitor changes in order to inform our clients in a timely manner and prevent circumstances that may become a basis for refusing to issue or cancel permits. 

Thanks to the professional accounting and legal support of our team, any risks will be minimized.

You may also like: How to Prevent a Foreigner from Being Banned from Entering Ukraine?

What are the risks of canceling a work permit and what could be the consequences?

It is always better to work preventively rather than to deal with negative consequences. For example, one such moment could be a refusal to grant a foreigner a work permit for one year if the previous one was cancelled due to:

  • submission of inaccurate data;
  • forced return or expulsion of the foreigner from Ukraine;
  • employment of the foreigner under conditions not specified in the permit or by another employer, except for part-time work;
  • a guilty verdict by a court, if the foreigner is convicted of a crime;
  • cancellation of the permit by the National Police, Security Service of Ukraine or another government agency;
  • non-payment of the single social contribution by the employer.

Recently, there have been cases where foreigners intend to work in Ukraine or already work there, but companies suspend or cease their activities due to the war or other reasons. In this case, documents for employment and residence in Ukraine are subject to cancellation.

Of course, a residence permit can be obtained again, but a new basis for obtaining it will have to be found.

Our lawyers individually study each client's situation and select optimal options for further legal stay in Ukraine. For example, we help to properly prepare documents for:

  • ancellation of the permit and residence in one company and obtaining documents for employment in another company or organization;
  • organizing remote or distance work;
  • obtaining a new work permit and residence permit, etc.

Today we offer assistance to foreigners who see their future in Ukraine during its restoration after the war. We offer reliable and simple options for obtaining a residence permit in Ukraine.

For those who wish to join volunteer activities in Ukraine, we offer a list of verified charitable organizations that have the legal right to attract foreign volunteers to their work.

For those who intend to work in Ukraine, we help to start their own business.

If you plan to obtain a residence permit in Ukraine, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Publication date: 06/01/2023
Ryzhova Tatiana

About author

Name: Ryzhova Tatiana

Position: Lawyer


Knowledge of languages: Russian, Ukrainian

Email: [email protected]

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Kuzava Vlasta
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