Position of Civil Society Organizations as to Draft Law of Ukraine No. 4521

October 5, 2021

Volunteers and volunteer organizations make a huge contribution to solving Ukraine’s social problems, saving budget resources. In order to increase volunteer assistance and introduce best international volunteering practices, civil society organizations engage Ukrainian and foreign volunteers into their activities.

In order to develop the volunteer movement in Ukraine, changes in the current legislation on volunteering in Ukraine should not restrict NGOs and institutions in engaging foreigners and stateless persons in Ukraine or complicate such a procedure.

The agenda of the sixth session (October 6, 2021) of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine includes the Draft Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on Supporting Volunteering” No. 4521. The amendments provide for the below:

  1. Complicating the procedure for engaging foreign volunteers.

Currently, the process of engaging a foreign volunteer and a stateless person by NGOs and institutions is informative. However, the raft law provides for organizations to obtain the appropriate permission from the Ministry of Social Policy. The draft also extended the list of documents that are mandatory for an NGO to be included in the list of organizations that have the right to engage foreigners and stateless persons. In addition, there is a requirement to conclude an agreement with a foreign volunteer on volunteering and submit a certified copy of the permit of a foreigner and a stateless person to have their personal data processed to the Ministry of Social Policy. In general, the proposed changes significantly increase the bureaucratic burden on NGOs and institutions that engage foreigners and stateless persons in volunteering.

  1. Complicating the procedure for engaging foreign volunteers by religious organizations.

According to the National Classification of Ukraine SC 009:2010 “Classification of Business Activities”, the main type of activity of a religious organization is determined by the code 94.91 “Activities of Religious Organizations”. The draft law stipulates that the right to attract foreigners and stateless persons is held only by non-profit organizations operating under codes 88.99 “Provision of other social assistance without accommodation which is not otherwise classified” and 94.99 “Activities of other NGOs which are not otherwise classified”. This means that religious organizations will be limited in their ability to engage foreign volunteers.

  1. Long process for engaging foreign volunteers.

According to the draft law, NGOs and institutions must submit an application to the Ministry of Social Policy for the engaging every foreigner and every stateless person no later than 20 calendar days before the date of engagement. The volunteer candidate must be outside Ukraine. This procedure does not allow attracting additional resources promptly and in a timely manner to provide urgent volunteer assistance.

  1. Lack of possibility to appeal against the refusal to engage a foreign volunteer.

If an NGO or institution submits an application for the engagement of a foreign volunteer and receives a refusal after the verification of information by law enforcement agencies, the draft law does not provide for the process for appealing against such refusals to the Ministry of Social Policy. The procedure for appealing against the refusal to engage foreign volunteers and stateless persons in court requires additional time and financial resources from NGOs and institutions.

  1. Double verification of foreigners and stateless persons who are already on the territory of Ukraine and want to engage in volunteer activities.

The draft law proposes to check foreigners and stateless persons who are already on the territory of Ukraine and want to engage in volunteer activities. It is planned to use the same verification procedure provided for foreign volunteers and stateless persons who need a temporary residence permit in Ukraine. Given that the draft law is designed to prevent unreasonable receipt of temporary residence permits by foreigners and stateless persons in Ukraine, additional verification of information about persons already in Ukraine is an unjustified expenditure of law enforcement resources and will make the fast engagement of such persons in volunteering impossible.

  1. Ineffective mechanism for confirming virtuous volunteering.

The draft law provides for the right of the Ministry of Social Policy to contact beneficiaries of volunteer assistance in order to verify the facts of its provision by a foreigner, a stateless person. If such information is not confirmed, the NGO or institution will be deprived of the opportunity to engage foreign volunteers. It does not take into account the fact that, for example, identification of a volunteer by the beneficiary may be difficult or impossible when first aid is provided during man-made and natural emergencies, during mass sports and cultural events, during participation in the distribution of humanitarian aid. This creates risks of formal inspections and unjustified removal from the list of organizations and institutions that engage foreigners, stateless persons in volunteering in Ukraine.

  1. The draft law does not prevent uncontrolled labor migration.

Counteraction to illegal migration, including verification of information, which serves as the basis for obtaining a temporary residence permit, is not the task that the Ministry of Social Policy is in charge of. This task is within the exclusive competence of the State Migration Service of Ukraine. The use of existing legal instruments, in particular those provided for in Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 322, allows regulating the stay of foreigners and stateless persons on the territory of Ukraine by issuing and revoking a temporary residence permit. Accordingly, the legislation on volunteering cannot be considered as a form of control over the illegal receipt of temporary residence permits.


The idea behind the legal regulation of volunteering in Ukraine requires careful study of the peculiarities of domestic practice and work on the implementation of best European practices of volunteering along with a preliminary inclusive dialogue on the principles and legal mechanisms of such regulation with all stakeholders.

The position of civil society organizations was formed based on the expert discussion of the Draft Law No. 4521, which was held on April 26, by the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law and the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research as part of the project “Ukrainian Civil Society Sectoral Support Initiative”.

Given the threats posed by the draft law on the engagement of foreigners and stateless persons in volunteer activities by NGOs and institutions, we urge MPs of Ukraine not to support the Draft Law of Ukraine No. 4521 “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on Supporting Volunteering”.

Supported by:

  1. Initiative Center to Support Social Action “Ednannia”
  2. Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law
  3. Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research
  4. PA Coalition Reanimation Package of Reforms
  5. Human Rights Center ZMINA
  6. Vostok SOS
  7. All-Ukrainian Association of Youth Cooperation “Alternative-V”
  8. Women’s Anti-Corruption Movement
  9. National Committee of Ukrainian Red Cross Society
  10. UNDP
  11. Ukrainian Volunteer Service NGO
  12. Plast Youth Organization – National Scout Organization of Ukraine
  13. Charitable Foundation “SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine”
  14. Center of Information Studies and Resource Service “Meridian”
  15. Center for Sustainable Development Initiatives
  16. IBO “Peace Envoy”
  17. Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
  18. AIESEC
  19. Zhytomyr Regional State Administration
  20. Secretariat of the VRU Commissioner for Human Rights
  21. Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
  22. Kharkiv Region Foundation “Public Alternative”
  23. Educational Human Rights House – Chernihiv
  24. Charitable Foundation “Right to Protection”
  25. NGO “Owl Expert Group”
  26. NGO “D.O.M.48.24”
  27. Center for Civil Liberties
  28. NGO Right Cause Human Rights Association
  29. Charitable Organization “Renaissance and Unity Foundation”
  30. Crimean Human Rights Group
  31. NGO “People’s Defense”
  33. Women’s Anti-Corruption Movement  NGO
  34. Truth Hounds NGO
  35. NGO “Harmony of Life”
  36. East European Development Institute INGO
  37. NGO Human Rights Platform
  38. Regional Public Charitable Foundation “Law and Democracy”
  39. Free Belarus Center
  40. Coordination Centre for Legal Aid Provision
  41. Centre of Policy and Legal Reform
  42. Ukrainian Youth Legal Assembly
  43. Center of Information Studies and Resource Service “Meridian”
  44. Office for Sustainable Development Analytics and Consultations
  45. Reform Implementation Agency
  46. International Development Foundation Charitable Foundation
  47. NGO “Our Future” Social Development Fund
  48. Center for Socio-Economic and Political Research and Technology “Perspective”
  49. Youth Organization “STAN”
  50. NGO United Veterans Movement “Interaction”
  51. NGO Association of IDPs of Donbas “DOBROTVOR”
  52. Ednannia Platform NGO
  53. NGO “Theater of Change”
  54. Caritas Ukraine International Charitable Foundation
  55. Charitable Organization “Network of 100 percent of life Rivne”
  56. NGO “Territory of New Changes”
  57. NGO “Chernivtsi Youth Center”
  58. NGO “Odesa Institute of Social Technologies”
  59. NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Society
  60. Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting
  61. NGO Agency for Change “Perspective”
  62. NGO “Magic Runes”
  63. NGO “Dobrochyn Center”
  64. NGO “Chernihiv Center for Human Rights”
  65. NGO “Kremin Business Association”
  66. NGO “Chernihiv Center for Human Rights”
  67. NGO “Dobrochyn Center”
  68. NGO “Join and Change”
  69. NGO “Public Council”
  70. Caritas Melitopol Charitable Foundation
  71. Khmilnytskyi District Public Organization “LAW”
  72. NGO “Peace and Creativity Assembly”
  73. NGO Commonwealth IDPs Assistance Center
  74. NGO Association of Creative Intelligentsia “Assembly”
  75. Coalition of NGOs Zaporizhzhia Reform Council
  76. NGO “Human Rights Initiative”
  77. NGO “Creative Initiative Foundation”
  79. Everyone Can ICF