Registration of place of residence in Ukraine is outdated, potentially corrupted – experts
Ukraine still has not elaborated the effective mechanism for registration of place of residence. Despite the adoption of the law on freedom of movement and choice of place of residence, there are double standards in the interaction between a person and the state, which create rather constraints and obstacles than opportunities.
This was stated by experts, presenting the results of the qualitative sociological research CEDOS, which outlines the extent of the problem of registration of the place of residence.
“The research has allowed us to understand that heavy, clumsy residence registration system has long failed to meet modern needs and population of Ukraine is not ready to respond flexibly to the current challenges, such as high mobility of citizens within the country. Opacity of this system leads to two serious consequences – a major backlash for the formation of corruption schemes and the emergence of non-state alternative services that would have been carried out by the state. And this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Liudmyla Yankina, the Project Manager of the Human Rights Information Centre.
According to Oleksandra Slobodian, the CEDOS center analyst, Ukraine does not have a full accurate statistics on migration within the country.
The State Migration Service of Ukraine cites the statistics that 485,000 people changed their place of residence within the country in 2014. However, the data of the State Statistics Service show that the proportion of the population migrating within the country during 2014-2015 decreased.
“It’s a surprise, because we know about the large number of the internally displaced people. Statistics show so because the IDPs are registered in Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” Oleksandra Slobodian said. She explained that the institution of registration of place of residence should be reformed because, for example, the assessments based on number of population in certain territorial units are made to determine spending.
“When we look at the distribution of budget spending, we will see that the local budgets mainly fund healthcare, education, social protection, and social security. These are the areas that relate to the whole population,” the analyst said.
“Most of the staff of the Human Rights Information Centre live in one place and are registered in another. Because of this, they lack many administrative, economic, and social rights which are pegged to the place of residence,” Chairwoman of the Human Rights Information Centre Tetiana Pechonchyk cited an example.
CEDOS center analyst Anastasia Fitisova sees a number of reasons for such a situation with the registration of place of residence.
“First, the registration procedure is too complicated. People avoid interaction with the state due to lack of client-oriented approach, facing a number of challenges during registration: to collect a bunch of documents, to take owner of the apartment with them. In fact, a person must prove that he or she has the right to be registered in this apartment. The second reason is rental of housing. There is a huge shadow market of rented apartments, so nobody signs official tenant contracts. Some owners fear that having registered a stranger in their apartment, they may be deprived of property rights to housing. Some just do not want to pay income taxes for the lease,” the expert said.
Registration also affects the participation of Ukrainians in the elections. People, who are not registered at all, cannot participate in elections. Meanwhile, the Ukrainians living not at the place of their registration, can participate in presidential and parliamentary elections, but cannot vote in local elections.
The experts also remind that the need for change of registered place of residence occurs in case of internal educational migration, when renting, buying, inheriting apartment, lodging in hostel, getting divorce or the like.
The experts believe that there are two ways to improve the system of registration of place of residence.
The first lies in unlinking the administrative services and rights from registration of place of residence. This will require reforms in health care, election legislation, tax and social security sector.
The second way provides for simplifying the registration process and providing incentives to register the actual residence. This strategy requires acceleration of a passport reform, filling the unified demographic registry, spreading e-government at the level of administrative services, and introducing the opportunity to register at the place of vital interests.