September 29, 2010
In our regular conversations, we talk a lot about planting multiple flags to diversify sovereign risk. I’m convinced that governments are the greatest enemy to prosperity, and the way to protect ourselves is to diversify our assets and interests across multiple geographies so that no single government has control.
Ordinarily, we talk about jurisdictions like Panama or Hong Kong– great places to bank or structure a company. But there are literally infinite facets of our lives that can be diversified overseas, ranging from places for shopping to places for cheap medical care.
Every country has something to offer… and despite its almost nihilistic level of corruption and bureaucracy, Ukraine is no exception.
For starters, there is some employment opportunity here. Ukraine’s private sector economy is developing slowly, and they are in need of some international workers who have expertise in various industries.
What I have noticed most substantially is a need for finance professionals at several banks and funds, educators (particularly those who can teach English), and project managers– Ukraine is co-hosting the UEFA football championship next year, and several contracting companies are looking for help.
Aside from that, several multinational firms, including Google, KPMG, and Cargill are also hiring for their Ukrainian offices.
If you run an IT business, Ukraine may be a place for you to consider some offshore labor. The technical competence of Ukrainian programmers is among the absolute best in the world, and they are extremely cost effective.
And yes, if you’re looking for love and companionship, Ukraine is famous for its plethora of beautiful, educated brides-to-be waiting for Mr. Right[ish]. This is a largely cultural and demographic issue as much as it is an economic issue.
Sure, plenty of people want to marry a foreigner and move away, but it’s also true that there are many more single women in Ukraine than single men… so there is a clear supply/demand imbalance.
One potential pitfall that you should watch out for if this sounds like something you’re interested in: western governments, and the US in particular, are hesitant to issue residency visas to Ukrainian fiancees… and the process to obtain a visa, even after marriage, can be a long journey.
This leads many new couples to head, at least temporarily, to jurisdictions that are more friendly– Spain, Turkey, and Egypt. Some stay in Ukraine
I cannot recommend living in Ukraine, at least as a full-time permanent resident. The government taxes its residents on their worldwide income (not that the government has any level of competency to track this… but it is the law, nevertheless.)