With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, you as an employer will have concerns about the safety and well-being of your Ukrainian employees who might be in danger. However, ensuring your workers can leave securely is only the first step to ensuring long-term security.
It’s important to be aware of which countries are willing to give relocation visas or grant entry to Ukrainians or those fleeing Ukraine.
As of August, the United Nations estimates 10.9 million people left Ukraine as refugees. So, departments of labor in various countries have passed special laws allowing workers from Ukraine to relocate without going through the usual border control and work permit processes.
In this article, we summarize the limits and restrictions available to Ukrainian refugees in key countries and how you can provide a safe and efficient way to transfer employees overseas.
Ukraine Relocation: Where Can People Go?
The first step toward leaving the country and finding residence elsewhere is ensuring you and your employees have identification documents. Naturally, the ideal is a biometric passport. However, they must have some kind of identification to pass Ukrainian border checks and enter another country.
In February 24, 2022, Ukraine was put under martial law. If employees in question are non-disabled male between the ages of 18 to 60, it’s likely they will be stopped by border control, and you will have to adapt your workforce accordingly.
Next, once your employees have their identification papers, you will need to assess each situation and determining which countries in Europe would be the best for relocation.
As of March 3, 2022, the EU member states Temporary Protective Directive applies to all Ukrainians, allowing them free movement to stay in any country in the EU or a part of the Schengen area for one year, which refugees can extend as necessary. This means Ukrainians in EU/Schengen Agreement countries can also legally work and send their children to school.
Below are some European Union/Schengen countries and others with specific options for refugees from Ukraine:
Poland adopted an open-door policy early on, allowing those fleeing the Ukraine entry into the country. As a result, all Ukrainians who enter the country can apply for jobs and work without needing a work permit.
As of March 16, 2022, Ukrainian refugees can apply for a PESEL number. This is a Polish registration number and gives an individual access to the full range of services as if they were a temporary or permanent resident of the country. These services include medical support, the ability to open a business or enroll a child in school, and more.
As of April 4, 2022, non-Ukrainian foreigners living in Ukraine can also apply for temporary residency in Poland.
The Czech Republic
Under a collection of new bills passed on March 17, 2022, known as “Lex Ukraine”, Ukrainian residents and foreigners who had permanent residence in Ukraine can enter visa-free into the Czech Republic.
The government even lifted COVID-19 restrictions on entering the country for those escaping the conflict in Ukraine. Foreigners whose residence is under the Lex Ukraine program can apply for work without needing a work permit.
Health care is now only given for the first 150 days for those who are not children or elderly. Those who already receive housing support and supplies will not be eligible for monetary aid.
All Ukrainians seeking to leave the country are eligible for a Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa (THC). This is valid for three years and gives the visa holder access to health care and education opportunities.
Ukranian nationals can apply for a THC visa only if they have valid identification documents.
As of February 23, 2022, the Australian government has granted more than 7,800 temporary visas to Ukrainians.
Ukrainian and third-country nationals fleeing the conflict can apply for temporary protection in Cyprus as of March 4, 2022.
Temporary protection grants residence in the country for a minimum of one year.
There is an online form for application and a website for Asylum Service.
Additionally, the Ministry of Education also offers free Greek lessons to Ukrainian immigrants.
The Canada and Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) allows Ukrainian nationals and their family to stay in Canada for three years.
Applications for the permit must be made online. In addition, the government is waiving visa and permit fees.
As of June 2022, Ukrainian immigrants can also apply for a one-time financial aid of CAD$3,000 per adult and $1,500 per child under 17 years old.
Global Partners Can Provide Relocation Services and Support
Under normal circumstances transitioning to a new country and market is already a long and stressful process. Having to relocate amid conflict is doubly so.
It’s often not enough to have a secure country to relocate to. In addition, you may need to restructure your business or find new ways to ensure employees are paid and managed per new local labor laws.
Having the assistance of a global PEO (Professional Employer Organization) or EOR (Employer of Record) can make the change simpler and faster, sparing you a lot of time and headache.
We want to help you find a way to continue your business successfully despite these turbulent times while ensuring that your employees are taken care of in every way.
So, contact INS Global today to talk to one of our global mobility experts and find out what solutions are available for you.