It’s lovely to see Ukraine recognize the obvious: Its foreign investment climate needs improvement.
Boris Lozhkin went from being President Petro Poroshenko’s chief of staff to secretary of the National Investment Council while Daniel Bilak, a prominent lawyer, is director of Ukraine Investment Promotion Office.
But when it comes to easy remedies – like welcoming foreigners who live and work here – Ukraine is still stuck in the Soviet past. Foreigners have to annually renew work and residency permits, after going through medical exams and document checks to get the permissions initially. Visitors are still limited to 90-day stays.
An easy solution is to relax residency and stay requirements. Any foreigner willing to invest time and money in Ukraine should be rewarded with a long-term work or residency permit (there is no need for both). Visitors should be allowed longer stays.
Ukraine’s Western integration will come more quickly when Ukrainians also have the opportunity to travel freely abroad without visas. But progress will come when more foreigners experience Ukraine.
Ukraine is still too insular – as few as 100,000 foreigners live here. Ukraine took a leap ahead in 2005 by eliminating visa requirements on short-term stays. But that was 12 years ago. The next easy step is to relax residency and work regulations for foreigners