KYIV, Ukraine – The recently amended law (signed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on March 3, 2012) on the legal status of Ukrainians abroad considerably broadens the scope of rights of such persons. In particular, the legal act lifts the 10-year validity term of the Ukrainian’s abroad certificate, making it permanent.
The newly amended law sets annual quotas for the admission of Ukrainians abroad to higher educational institutions of Ukraine to get state-funded education. Also, the law makes provision for such persons to get employed with companies and organizations of any level on the same grounds existing for the citizens of Ukraine.
According to the law on the legal status of Ukrainians abroad, Ukrainian government creates a program on collaboration between the state and the persons who have acquired appropriate status. A Ukrainian abroad is a citizen of a different state, however, of Ukrainian ethnicity or origin, explains the law. In order to acquire such status, one should identify him or herself as a Ukrainian, and upon turning 16 years old – file an appropriate application. The applicant is requested to prove his or her Ukrainian ethnicity or origin by providing relevant documents and testimonials by Ukrainian citizens, other Ukrainians abroad or Ukrainian public organizations abroad.
Ukrainian state maintains and actively develops the relations with individual Ukrainians, as well as self-organized groups of Ukrainians residing abroad through a number of governmental programs (cultural, professional, educational, etc.) Notably, according to the report by the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine, Ukrainian educational institutions function in 36 countries around the globe. Funded by the Ukrainian government, as well as local communities, these establishments help preserve national culture within Ukrainian diaspora and promote their successful integration into the societies of the host countries.
Currently the population of Ukraine amounts to 45.6 million people, according to the latest population census. The largest Ukrainian diaspora resides in neighboring Russia (4,379,690 people). The second most numerous Ukrainian diaspora can be found in Canada (1,209,085 persons, mainly Canadian born). Canada, therefore, boasts the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself and Russia. Large Ukrainian diaspora can also be found in the neighboring Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and more distant USA, Great Britain, and Germany.