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Ukraine: Foreign Citizens Admitted to Cabinet Level Positions

(Dec. 24, 2014) On December 2, 2014, the President of Ukraine announced that he had granted Ukrainian citizenship to three foreign individuals who were offered positions in the newly formed Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Citizens of the United States, Lithuania, and Georgia were offered positions as the Ministers of Finance, Economics, and Healthcare, respectively. The President’s Commission on Citizenship Issues recommended taking this decision, after all three candidates had submitted statements confirming termination of their previous citizenship, a requirement under Ukrainian law for eligibility for Ukrainian nationality. (Decree on Granting Ukrainian Citizenship to Three Foreign Professionals Is Signed, PETRO Poroshenko Twitter Account (Dec. 2, 2014) (in Ukrainian).)

At the time the President’s decision was announced, draft legislation aimed at allowing government authorities to hire foreign citizens was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada (legislature) of Ukraine. (Bill on Amendments to Ukrainian Legislation Concerning Hiring of Foreign Citizens by Government Bodies, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine website (in Ukrainian).) The proposal amends Ukrainian laws on the procuracy, the civil service, and other central bodies of executive power to state that in cases when the national interest of Ukraine so requires, a foreign national or a stateless person can be appointed as Ukraine’s Prosecutor General if this person has higher education, knows the Ukrainian language well enough to perform his functions, and is an “internationally recognized reformer.” No citizen of an “occupying state” can be considered for this position. Similar requirements will apply to other foreigners who may be appointed Deputy Ministers. The draft specifies that the permission to fill senior-level positions with foreigners will not apply to the Ministries of Defense and of Internal Affairs (the police). (Id.)