accessibilityalertarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upclosedigital-transformationdiversitydownloaddrivedropboxeventsexpandfacebookguideinstagramjob-pontingslanguage-selectorlinkedinlocationmailmenuminuspencilphonephotoplayplussearchsharesoundshottransactionstwitteruploadwebinarwt-arrowyoutube
Article Article

Employment of Ukrainian Citizens

UPDATES ON EU AND COUNTRY-LEVEL LEGISLATION

This guide serves as an overview of EU and local legislation in nine EU member states as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia regarding the employment of Ukrainian nationals and other individuals enjoying protection.

Last updated on 13 April 2022

EU legal framework

As a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine’s territory and the related humanitarian crisis, the EU has swiftly implemented the following temporary protection mechanism that should provide immediate and collective protection to Ukrainian citizens and other individuals enjoying protection:

•  the EU Council unanimously adopted a decision activating temporary protection of persons fleeing Ukraine (“Decision”), which entered into force on 4 March 2022.
  the Decision has been adopted on the basis of a crisis mechanism set out under the existing Temporary Protection Directive (Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001; “Temporary Protection Directive”), which aims to provide immediate and collective protection to displaced persons for a period of up to 3 years.

Scope and duration of temporary protection

Under the Decision, temporary protection is granted to the following individuals:

•  Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022;
  stateless persons, and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine, who benefited from international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before 24 February 2022; as well as
•  their family members.

Persons enjoying temporary protection are, among other provisions, entitled to reside in EU Member States and shall be granted access to the labour markets of Member States. Member States are free to adopt a higher level of rights (including additional categories of protected individuals) than those set out under the Temporary Protection Directive.

Temporary protection applies for an initial period of one year. Extension of this period is possible up to a maximum of 3 years.

***

Below is an overview of the relevant legislative framework and work and stay requirements for each of our jurisdictions.

AUSTRIA

Applicable national legislation

The Temporary Protection Directive was implemented by the Austrian Regulation on the Temporary Right of Residence for Individuals Displaced from Ukraine on 11 March 2022. The Regulation only governs the residence status while the rules for access to the labor market are still under discussion.

Visa requirements

Individuals that enjoy a temporary right of residence (see below for requirements) will be deemed to comply with the visa requirements. Furthermore, individuals who enter Austria due to a military conflict are exempt from COVID-related entry restrictions.

Stay and work requirements

The Regulation on the Temporary Right of Residence for Individuals Displaced from Ukraine grants a temporary right of residence in Austria to the following persons after their entry to Austria:

•  Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine who have fled Ukraine since 24 February 2022 due to the invasion
•  their family members (i.e., spouses, registered partners, minor unmarried children, other close relatives who lived with and were wholly or mainly dependent on them);
•  third-country nationals or stateless persons with an international protection status or comparable national protection status pursuant to Ukrainian law, who have fled Ukraine since 24 February 2022 due to the invasion;
•  Ukrainian nationals who held a valid Austrian residence permit as of 24 February 2022, which has not been renewed or has been withdrawn for failure to meet the conditions, and who cannot return to Ukraine due to the invasion;
•  Ukrainian nationals who legally resided in Austria as of 24 February 2022 and who cannot return to Ukraine due to the invasion, after the expiry of their visa or their visa-free stay.

The person concerned must register their arrival (see down below for necessary steps) and shall receive an “ID Card for displaced persons” issued by the Austrian Federal office for Immigration and Asylum (BFA).

If the European Council does not adopt an earlier expiration date, the temporary right of residence is currently valid until 3 March 2023 and prolongs automatically for six months; the maximum prolongation period is one year. The temporary right of residence expires prematurely if the individual leaves Austria for longer than just a “short period of time” (the regulation does not define the duration of a “short period”).

Work requirements have not been implemented yet. However, it has already been announced by the competent Ministry of Labor that Ukrainian citizens (and individuals that have been granted a temporary right of residence pursuant to the Regulation) shall have unlimited access to the Austrian labor market. Pursuant to the current official information, it is necessary to register and obtain the ID card for displaced persons first and to apply for the work permit at the Austrian Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) after the ID has been issued. The AMS already offers a special info service for Ukrainian job seekers and employers who plan to employ Ukrainian citizens: ukraine@ams.at.

For Ukrainian citizens, the following steps are therefore necessary to take up employment in Austria:

•  The person concerned must register at a competent local police station or at an arrival/registration center. In Vienna, there are currently two arrival centers with the following addresses: Engerthstraße 267 – 269, 1020 Vienna; Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1, 1220 Vienna.
•  The data collected during the initial registration is then forwarded to BFA. The authority may contact the person concerned if further information is required.
•  Once all necessary data is registered by the BFA, the ID Card for displaced persons will be sent to the applicant’s address in Austria or to the person authorized to receive the document.
•  Once the ID Card has been issued and delivered, the person concerned must apply for work permit at the AMS. It is necessary to bring the ID Card to the appointment.
•  If the person concerned already has a job prospect, the employer may also apply for the work permit at the AMS. In this case, a copy of the ID Card of the person concerned must be attached to the application.
•  Only after the work permit has been issued, the person concerned may take up employment in Austria.

Status as of 15 March 2022

Related experts

BULGARIA

Applicable national legislation

In Bulgaria, the Temporary Protection Directive is implemented in the Bulgarian Asylum and Refugee Act. Following the entry into force of the EU Decision, the Bulgarian Council of Ministers has adopted a decision on implementation of the temporary protection regime in Bulgaria providing for the particular measures on a local level to ensure the stay and work of Ukrainian nationals in Bulgaria.

Visa requirements

The local decision on temporary protection regulates that Ukrainian nationals are provided with temporary protection for the period 24.02.2022 – 24.02.2023, subject to a registration procedure and obtainment of a registration card confirming the temporary protection status. Visa requirements are not applicable to Ukrainian nationals with a temporary protection status. 

Stay and work requirements

As per the temporary protection decision, Ukrainian citizens have the right to:

(i) reside in the territory of Bulgaria;

(ii) freely access the labour market without a work permit;

(iii) receive appropriate accommodation; (iv) receive social assistance;

(v) access medical care in case of emergencies; and

(vi) return freely to their country of origin. In addition, the Bulgarian government is granting humanitarian aid of BGN 40,00 (EUR 20,00) per day for accommodation and meals provided to Ukrainian citizens.

The latter is granted for a period of up to 3 months as of the date of entrance of the Ukrainian citizen with temporary protection status in Bulgaria. More information about the options for accommodation of Ukrainian citizens in Bulgaria is available at https://ukraine.gov.bg/; the Bulgarian Employment Promotion Agency has also provided information specifically about the options for employment of Ukrainian citizens at: https://www.az.government.bg/pages/vazmozhnosti-za-rabota-na-ukrainski-grazhdani/

Status as of 14 March 2022

Related experts

CROATIA

Applicable national legislation

The Croatian government has adopted the decision on implementation of the temporary protection regime in Croatia with effect from 7 March 2022 (based on the Croatian Temporary Protection Act that implements the Temporary Protection Directive). Practical implementation regulations and guidelines are available on the websites linked below.

Visa requirements

Holders of Ukrainian biometric passports are entitled to a to a visa-free entry and short-term stay in Croatia for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. In practice, Croatian authorities do not deny entry to holders of non-biometric Ukrainian passports who do not have visa. General COVID-19 entry requirements apply (negative PCR/BAT test, vaccination certificate or certificate of recovery from the illness). However, due to the extraordinary circumstances, the Croatian authorities allow Ukrainian nationals to enter into Croatia even if these requirements are not met.

Stay and work requirements

Displaced persons may request issuance of the card of the foreign person under temporary protection from the Ministry of Interior. The card holder is authorised to stay and work in Croatia for a period of one year, with the possibility of extension. Upon issuance of the card, the displaced person can conclude an employment agreement and be registered with mandatory social insurance funds. More information can be obtained on the specialized websites of the Croatian Ministry of Interior (link) and the Croatian Ministry of Labour (link). Currently, local teams of the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) are actively involved in visiting the reception centres in person and are mediating between prospective employees and interested employers.

Status as of 21 March 2022

CZECH REPUBLIC

Applicable national legislation

Act 65/2022 Coll. on certain measures in connection with the armed conflict in Ukraine, enacted following Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/3824 dated March 2022. Further related legislation includes Act No. 221/2003 Coll. on the temporary protection of foreigners andAct No. 326/1999 Coll. on the residence of foreigners in the territory of the Czech Republic.

Visa requirements

Currently, Ukrainian citizens may arrive in the Czech Republic without a visa for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period. The only requirement is to present a valid biometric passport (without a biometric passport, there is no guarantee that they will be allowed to cross the border). On 24 February 2022, all Covid-19 obligations on Ukrainian citizens when crossing the borders were lifted. Extradition proceedings for Ukrainian citizens have also been stopped for the time being.

Stay and work requirements

Under new regulations, Ukrainian nationals and other persons listed in the Decision (EU) 2022/3824 including individuals with a residence permit in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 whose return to their country of origin is not safe due to a threat of real danger can apply for temporary protection in the Czech Republic. Applications can be filed at any specialised centre established for that purpose in any Czech region. The list of these regional centres can be found here: https://www.mvcr.cz/clanek/seznam-krajskych-asistencnich-center-pomoci-ukrajine.aspx 

Temporary protection can currently be obtained until 31 March 2023 but will not be approved if the applicant has already been granted temporary protection in another EU Member State. The temporary protection status will apply also to Ukrainian nationals staying in the Czech Republic under a special long-term visa, which was possible to obtain between 24 February and 21 March 2022 through a simplified procedure under an extraordinary decree enacted by the Ministry of the Interior. Individuals with temporary protection status can work in the Czech Republic under the same conditions as Czech citizens – i.e. without a work permit. The employer must simply notify the Labour Office that it is employing a foreigner. Additionally, each foreigner who arrives in the Czech Republic must register with the Foreign Police Department of the Czech Republic within three days of arrival (for Ukrainian citizens, this period has been extended to 30 days). Foreigners must also ensure they have health insurance for the visa-free period. All holders of temporary protection are automatically enrolled in the Czech health insurance system. Temporary protection also entitles the holder to seek material assistance benefits through the Czech social security system.

Status as of 12 April 2022

Related experts

HUNGARY

Applicable national legislation

The Government Decree no. 86/2022 of 7March establishes specific regulations regarding temporary refugee status in Hungary and the Government Decree no. 96/2022 of 10 March introduces support for employment of Ukrainian citizens coming from Ukraine. On 25 May 2022 a new state of emergency has been declared due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Both mentioned decrees have been kept in force by the Government Decree no. 203/2022 of 8 June and extended until 1 November 2022.

Visa requirements

According to the applicable legislation, up to 90 days, no visa is required for Ukrainian citizens who hold a biometric passport. However, under the current circumstances, entry is not denied for non-biometric passport holders, either. All arrivals are registered by the border police.

Ukrainian citizens residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 are entitled to temporary protection.

Stay and work requirements

To be entitled to the temporary protection (as a temporary refugee), the applicants shall prove that they meet the criteria for granting the status, in particular with providing a document certifying their identity.

Since 30 April 2022 both applicants for temporary refugee status and temporary refugees are entitled to work in Hungary without a permit – including temporary agency workers – regardless of their occupation. However, the concerned employer still has an obligation to report the employment of the temporary refugees.

It is important to emphasize, that the new regulation is only applicable to temporary refugees.

Therefore, Ukrainian citizens who do not have or have not requested temporary refugee status can work under the general rules and work-permit procedure. In this case, three scenarios shall be distinguished:

(I) Employment without a work permit is possible up to 90 days, provided that the employee has a biometric passport.

(II) If the employment exceeds 90 days:

  • In some specific professions (which are affected by the workforce shortage, as listed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, e.g. software developer) only a residence permit is required (there is no need for a work permit).
  • However, to be employed in other (non-listed) professions, obtaining a work and a residence permit will be mandatory.

Status as of 01 July 2022

POLAND

Applicable national legislation

The Temporary Protection Directive was implemented in the Act as of 13 June 2003 on granting protection to foreigners within the territory of the Republic of Poland. However, this act has not yet been amended in connection with the current situation in Ukraine. The Parliament is currently discussing the adoption of a law on assistance to Ukrainian citizens and their families in connection with the armed conflict.

Visa requirements

No visa is required for Ukrainian biometric passport holders for short stays up to 90 days (within a period of 180 days). A visa is required for holders of non-biometric passports. However, under the Act on Foreigners, there is a special procedure allowing as an exception entrance to Poland for up to 15 days for individuals with no passport, based on the consent of the Chief Commander of the Border Guard. Currently Polish authorities are allowing in all Ukrainians fleeing the Russian military aggression against Ukraine regardless of whether they have the required documents. Any type of document confirming identity is sufficient.

Stay and work requirements

Ukrainian biometric passport holders can perform work in Poland without a work permit based on a statement on entrusting work to a foreign person. Such a statement must be issued by a Polish employing entity and registered. Registration takes up to 7 working days. The statement allows the performance of non-seasonal work for a period not exceeding 24 months.

Under the new law on assistance to Ukrainian citizens and their families in connection with the armed conflict, the stay in Poland of Ukrainian citizens who entered the territory of the Republic of Poland legally and declare their intention to stay here will be legal for a period of 18 months counting from 24 February 2022. Before the end of this period, a temporary residence permit for 3 years can be obtained. Under the new law, Ukrainian citizens will also be entitled to start to work immediately in Poland. However, the employing entity must electronically notify the labour office within 7 days of the start of work.

Status as of 09 March 2022

Related experts

ROMANIA

Applicable national legislation

The Temporary Protection Directive is implemented in Romania by the Romanian Asylum and Refugee Act. The Romanian Government issued two other enactments with a view to implement support and humanitarian assistance measures with effect from 27 February 2022 (EGO 15/2022) and 8 March 2022 (EGO 20/2022).

Visa requirements

Ukrainians who hold a biometric passport may enter Romania without a visa. Those who have non-biometric passports are required to obtain a visa to enter Romania for a period of 90 days within a 180 days’ period. However, in practice the Romanian authorities do not deny entry to those who do not have biometric passports.

Stay and work requirements

EGO 20/2022 is presumably enacted in the context of the Decision; however, it does not fully describe the temporary protection mechanism. Currently, EGO 20/2022 provides the right to work without a work permit and long-stay visa only to Ukrainian citizens (not also to other individuals enjoying protection) who do not benefit from any kind of protection under the Romanian Asylum and Refugee Act (which also regulates the temporary protection). The intention is most likely to grant easy access to the Romanian labour market to all Ukrainian citizens, including those who applied for temporary protection, and perhaps to assimilated categories of individuals. Therefore, follow-up clarifications and enactments are expected.

Status as of 08 March 2022

Related experts

SLOVAKIA

Applicable national legislation

The Temporary Directive has been implemented in the Act No. 480/2002 Col. on Asylum (Act on Asylum). The Act on Asylum was recently amended as a response to the situation in Ukraine, on the basis of which the Government of the Slovak Republic (Government) does not have to wait until the decision of the Council of the European Union is adopted, and it can adopt a decision on granting temporary shelter immediately. The Government has already adopted this decision on 28 February 2022, pursuant to which the Slovak Republic provides temporary shelter to Ukrainian citizens as of 1 March 2022 until the end of 2022.

Visa requirements

With respect to entering Slovakia, there is visa-free travel (for up to 90 days within any 180-day period) from Ukraine if the person has a biometric/diplomatic/service passport. Persons without a valid passport are advised to carry other documents (e.g. ID card, driver’s license, residence permit in Ukraine, birth certificates of children, etc.). If they are traveling with children, it is recommended to have the child’s birth certificate.

Based on official information on the website of the Ministry of Interior, if an arriving person does not possess a biometric travel passport, they will be allowed to enter also with a travel passport without biometric data, ID or driving licence as well. If the person is not carrying any identification document, they can request international protection in the territory of the Slovak Republic. For a stay exceeding 90 days, persons must apply for temporary shelter or asylum (or one of the forms of residence) within the territory of the Slovak Republic.

Stay and work requirements

For a stay exceeding 90 days, persons must apply for temporary shelter or asylum (or one of the forms of residence) within the territory of the Slovak Republic. Regarding work requirements, Ukrainians can work in Slovakia without a work permit or other documents, if:

1. they are asylum seekers, an entry into the labour market is granted to them by a special regulation that allows entry into the labour market after 9 months from the date of submission of the application for international protection,
2. they have been granted asylum,
3. they have been granted additional protection,
4. they have been granted temporary shelter.

The fastest way of protection which allows employment in Slovakia and is appropriate in the current situation is temporary shelter. For more information please visit the official governmental website: https://ua.gov.sk/en.html.

Status as of 09 March 2022

Related experts

SLOVENIA

Applicable national legislation

In Slovenia, the Temporary Protection Directive was implemented with the following acts:

•  Temporary Protection of Displaced Persons Act,
•  Rules on the procedure concerning transferal of persons enjoying temporary protection, and
•  Employment, Self-employment and Work of Foreigners Act.

As of 10 March 2022, temporary protection is introduced in the Republic of Slovenia for persons displaced from Ukraine due to the military invasion by the Russian Armed Forces.

The following categories of persons residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 are eligible for temporary protection:

•  citizens of Ukraine;
•  stateless persons and third-country nationals who are not citizens of Ukraine and who were granted international protection or other equivalent national protection in Ukraine;
•  family members of the persons referred to in the first and second point; and
•  stateless persons and third-country nationals who are not citizens of Ukraine and who resided in Ukraine on the basis of a valid permanent residence permit and who are unable to return to their country or region of origin in a safe and sustainable or lasting manner.

Pursuant to the Slovenian Temporary Protection of Displaced Persons Act, temporary protection is granted for one year and may be extended twice for six months.

Visa requirements

A visa is only required for holders of a non-biometric Ukrainian passport.

Stay and work requirements

According to the Temporary Protection of Displaced Persons Act, persons who are granted temporary protection have, among other things, the right to temporary residence in the Republic of Slovenia for the duration of temporary protection. Persons who are granted temporary protection have, pursuant to the Employment, Self-employment and Work of Foreigners Act, the right to freely access the labour market. Persons under temporary protection receive the identity card of a person granted temporary protection issued by an administrative unit, with which they can demonstrate the right to freely access the labour market. They do not need to apply for a work or residence permit.

In addition to the right to temporary residence and work in the Republic of Slovenia, a person granted temporary protection shall also have the right to:

•  accommodation and meals in accommodation centres or financial assistance for private accommodation,
•  healthcare,
•  education,
•  financial assistance or pocket money,
•  family reunification,
•  free legal assistance and
•  information on rights and obligations and assistance in exercising rights arising from Temporary Protection of Displaced Persons.

Status as of 18 March

Related experts

NON-EU PERSPECTIVE

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the status of foreign citizens (with respect to visa requirements, issuance of temporary residence and/or work permits) is regulated by the BiH Law on Foreigners and the BiH Decision on Visas, with subsequent laws and bylaws on state and entity levels. In addition to these, the Law on Asylum provides the relevant legal framework for persons seeking refugee status on BiH territory.

Applicable national legislation

Visa requirements

Ukrainian citizens (holders of valid ordinary passports, children’s travel documents, seaman’s books and identification documents used to return to Ukraine), are entitled to visa-free entry and a short-term stay in BiH of up to 30 days within a 60-day period as of the date of their first entry into BiH.

Stay and work requirements

For a longer stay and to work in BiH, Ukrainian citizens will need to obtain a work permit and temporary residence permit from the competent authorities (i.e. the competent Bureau for Employment and Service for Foreigners’ Affairs).
 
An exception to the above exists if Ukrainian citizens seek asylum and obtain refugee status from the BiH Ministry of Security. Upon receiving refugee status, they are entitled to work in BiH (except in the executive, judicial and legislative bodies in BiH, or in state institutions where a condition for employment is BiH citizenship). Persons with a refugee status are entitled to be registered in the Record of unemployed persons and, therefore, entitled to employment and/or self-employment. The card for international protection, received by the applicant, is also valid as a residence permit until the deliverance of the final decision on the refugee’s status. This is issued for the period of 3 months with the possibility of its renewal. It is also worth noting that persons with refugee status are exempted from obtaining work permits for carrying out of employment.
 
Currently, the competent BiH authorities are yet to provide additional guidance on any facilitated procedures for Ukrainian citizens.
 
Status as of 22 March 2022

SERBIA

Applicable national legislation

In Serbia, the status of foreign nationals (e.g., visa, stay and work requirements) is generally regulated by the Law on Foreign Nationals and Law on Employment of Foreign Nationals. However, due to the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine, the specific legal regime envisaged by the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection prevails for the legal status of Ukrainian nationals residing in Serbia. Namely, the Serbian Government has adopted the Decision on Providing Temporary Protection to Displaced Persons Coming from Ukraine (“Decision on Temporary Protection”) in line with the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection. The Decision on Temporary Protection applies for a one-year period, i.e., to 19 March 2023. The Decision on Temporary Protection concerns the displaced persons coming from Ukraine, i.e., to persons which are forced to leave Ukraine as the country of their origin, regular residence or who were evacuated from Ukraine.

Visa requirements

In general, a visa free regime applies to Ukrainian nationals who may stay in Serbia for up to 90 days, within a period of 180 days (from the moment of their first entry), without any visa or temporary residence permit. However, these limitations do not apply during the validity of the Decision on Temporary Protection.

Stay and work requirements

In regular circumstances, if Ukrainian nationals intend to stay longer than 90 days, within a period of 180 days from the moment of their first entry and/or work in Serbia, temporary residence and work permits must be obtained. However, during the validity of the Decision on Temporary Protection, displaced persons coming from Ukraine have the right to (i) stay in Serbia in accordance with the Serbian Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection, and (ii) work in accordance with the Serbian Law on Employment of Foreign Nationals.

In order for a Ukrainian national to formally gain status of a person under temporary protection, s/he must file a request for registration with the Serbian Ministry of Interior Affairs, based on which request the Ministry of Interior Affairs registers each person seeking protection with its registry and issues a written decision where temporary protection status is granted. Upon obtaining a decision on temporary protection from the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Ukrainian national may apply for a so-called “personal work permit”, which allows him/her to be freely employed or self-employed in Serbia. It should be noted that both the decision on temporary protection and the personal work permit issued on this ground may last until 19 March 2023, after which date the “regular” procedure for obtaining the temporary residence and work permits would apply (unless the Serbian authorities decide otherwise).

Status as of 05 April 2022