In Depth News, 28/02/2018

Visa-Free Travel with EU Benefits Ukrainians from Eastern Regions

Introduction of the visa-free regime with the EU countries has encouraged more Ukrainians to travel to the EU for various purposes. The number of travelers has especially increased among the residents of eastern regions. This was demonstrated by the results of the second wave of the all-Ukrainian sociological survey “Opinions and Views of Residents of Ukraine Regarding Visa-Free Regime with the European Union” commissioned by the Open Europe project and conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in December 2017.

According to the survey results, the share of Ukrainians who visited the EU at least once over the past two years has increased from 9 to 11 percent.

Meanwhile, this indicator has grown four times for residents of eastern regions of the country – from 2 to 9 percent.

The survey has also shown that inhabitants of eastern regions better understand the opportunities and benefits of visa-free travel to the EU.

While in February 2017, only 17 percent of residents of the east acknowledged the fact that the introduction of visa-free travel had sped up Ukraine’s domestic reforms, by December 2017 their number increased to 26 percent. In early 2017, a total of 25 percent of residents of the east acknowledged that Ukrainian entrepreneurs received better access to the EU Single Market. At the end of 2017, this figure grew to 38 percent. The statement that the visa-free travel helps attract new low-cost airlines to Ukraine was supported by 25 percent at the beginning of 2017 and 39 percent at the end of that year.

The west still holds the lead among other regions of Ukraine regarding the number of visits to the EU. About 18 percent of residents of western regions have visited the EU at least one time in the past two years.

As for the plans of Ukrainians for the next 12 months, the number of those who are going to visit their friends and relatives without visa more than doubled, jumping from 8 to 21 percent. Also, the number of Ukrainians planning to visit the EU to establish a new business increased more than twofold, from 4 to 10 percent. The number of those who plan to work in the countries of the European Union increased from 17 percent to 27 percent. Also, the number of Ukrainians who plan to study in the EU has grown from 7 to 12 percent.

In addition, according to the research data, twice as many Ukrainians now know the main rules of visa-free travel to the EU compared to the beginning of last year. While in February 2017, only 25 percent of citizens were aware of the 90/180 days rule of stay in the EU and 33 percent of citizens knew about the need for a biometric passport, in late 2017, these figures were 50 percent and 61 percent respectively.

Source: Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine