Moving to Ukraine
Expats moving to Ukraine will find a country of extremes, where heavy industrial areas are interspersed with beautiful and varied natural scenery. New arrivals will find that the people are warm and respectful, despite a superficial brusqueness. Decades of Stalinist rule and post-independence economic and social problems continue to leave their mark on the country. However, recent reforms and a closer working relationship with the EU mean that the outlook for the Ukraine’s future is promising.
Economic growth has shown impressive improvements. After a slump in economic growth between 2013 and 2015, the end of 2016 showed positive gains. The country is home to established manufacturing and commodities sectors, as well as a promising agriculture industry, all of which look to improve as trade with the European Union opens up. In addition, the Ukraine boasts a growing information technology sector.
Before the political unrest, European tourism used to be an important contributor to the economy, thanks to Ukraine's abundance of hiking, skiing, fishing and hunting opportunities, not to mention plenty of ancient castles, Soviet-era monuments, vineyards and beaches. Today, these remain compelling reasons for many expats’ moves to the Ukraine. Varied geography means that the climate in Ukraine can vary widely – from over 104°F (40°C), in the summer, to -4°F (-20°C), in the winter, depending on the region. This provides plenty of rich biodiversity.
Despite a very recent history of socio-political turmoil, expats moving to the Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, will find that it is in the throes of a renaissance. Kiev is fast becoming one of Europe's most exciting cultural hubs due, in no small part, to the energy of Kiev's inhabitants who have worked hard to resist Russian influence and forge closer ties to the European Union. Now, Kiev abounds with sophisticated cuisine, vibrant nightlife and contemporary art that all acknowledge the country’s rich history. The relationship with the European Union has also seen the Ukraine hosting events such as the 2012 UEFA European Championship and the Eurovision 2016 pop music contest.
Kiev has a lot to offer, but this does come with the highest cost of living in the Ukraine. Still, most expats find that Kiev is substantially less expensive than other European capitals. Expats looking to relocate will find that housing can be very affordable, and healthcare is free to residents. Major structural reforms promise to only improve the standard of government services and the quality of life. This is also true for education. Expats who relocate to Ukraine with their families will find that there are several good public Ukrainian schools, although for those who are just passing through, and who can afford it, there are also a handful of private international schools in Kiev.
Crime rates are still considered high, by European standards, and the last few years have seen some increases in gun violence and robbery related crimes, and there are reports of racially motivated attacks on people of African and Middle Eastern origin. However, in the main centres, where expats are most likely to find themselves, petty theft and a slow bureaucracy, incentivised by bribes, are likely to be the most common issues. Expats are also advised to refrain from involvement in political conversations and activities owing to the flux of the current political climate.