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Immigration & Work Permits

Work Permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Poland, as established by immigration laws. Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the Polish market. Poland is known for typically being quite inflexible with its visa arrangements for foreigners, and visas will only be granted if no suitable Polish candidate can be sourced for a position. If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use an outsourced management company or GEO Employer of Record to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.

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It is possible for companies that have established limited liability or joint-stock companies, or limited or limited joint-stock partnerships, to arrange visas for their workers. The relevant visa is Work Permit C, for foreigners who perform work in Poland for a foreign employer for a period exceeding 30 days, as long as the conditions of their employment align with the conditions stipulated within the Polish Labour Code. Permits are issued by the Province Governor. Work permits are valid for a maximum one year and are only valid if the applicant performs the work specified in the permit.

Non-EU residents must apply for a work permit if they wish to work in Poland. There are various exceptions, including:

  • Individuals with refugee status
  • Permanent residents of Poland
  • Beneficiaries of temporary or humanitarian protection from Poland
  • Victims of human trafficking
  • Individuals performing scientific research for at least 30 days per year

The steps to apply for a work permit in Poland are as follows:

  • Employer carries out labour market test
  • Employer begins application for foreigner’s work permit
  • Upon successful application, the Voivode will issue the work permit, at which point the applicant may begin undertaking employment

1. Labour market test carried out by employer

Employers must carry out a labour market test to acquire information about the circumstances surrounding employment in the local labour market. This test must confirm that there are no eligible Polish or EU nationals who could be employed in a given position.

The process is as follows:

1. Employers submit notification of vacancy to the County Labour Office.

2. The Labour Office then analyses the records of all unemployed people and job seekers

3. If the analysis determines that there are sufficient persons meeting the job requirements, the Labour Office will undertake its own recruitment amongst these individuals.

4. Remuneration proposed by the employer is compared to the remuneration that could be obtained in the same or similar position for similar work by the Labour office. These sums must be similar

5. The County Commissioner will issue the relevant decision.

6. If appropriate, the governor will issue the decision to the employer who is then able to apply for a work permit and temporary residence permit on behalf of the foreigner.

The labour market test does not need to be carried out in the following circumstances:

  • The work is included in the list of occupations which are in great demand – these are specified by the local Voivode
  • A work permit is being extended for the same foreigner for the same job
  • The foreigner is a citizen of a country bordering Poland or with which Poland works cooperatively on labour immigration, with the intention of working as a domestic worker or caregiver, OR performed work with the same entity for the last 3 months minimum with the intention of the job being entrusted to them
  • The foreigner is undertaking employment within a domestic household.

Fees: Varies based on the Voivodship

Time:

  • If nobody can be recruited from the Polish unemployed and job seekers, within 14 days
  • If recruitment amongst those registered with the Labour Office is possibly, within 21 days

2. Employer begins application form for foreigner’s work permit

Employees may only receive work permits provided the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The conditions of employment are equally, or more, favourable under the provisions of the Labour Code and other employment regulations
  • Remuneration is not lower than the average monthly wage by more than 30% – this information is provided by the Voivodship Office
  • Documentation proving the above are provided

The employer must submit a completed application form along with the following documents:

  • Up-to-date records of economic activity and an extract from the National Court Register to confirm the employer’s legal status
  • A company deed or company establishment notarial deeds, if the employer is a limited liability company or joint stock company respectively
  • Proof that the applicant has health insurance
  • Copies of the passport pages containing travel data for the applicant
  • A copy of a statement of profit or loss incurred by the employer
  • A copy of a contract pursuant to which a service is provided in Poland
  • Proof of payment of application fees

The relevant forms can be found at the website of the Department of Civil Affairs and Foreigners of Malopolska Regional Office.

3. Other obligations of the employer

Aside from completing the application form for the foreigner, the employer must also:

  • Inform the foreign about the steps required to issue a work permit and any other events which may affect this procedure
  • Exercise due diligence in the procedure for issuing and extending the validity of the work permit
  • Implement the conditions of the contract with the foreigner which are set forth in the work permit application. This contract must be in writing and if necessary, translated into a language which the applicant can comprehend before being signing
  • Inform the Voivode about the foreigner failing to undertake work within 3 months of the work permit commencement, or completion of work more than 3 months before its expiry, or any changes in the foreigner’s job duties

If employers do not comply with these duties and are found to be in breach, they must immediately rectify their mistake, otherwise risk penalties of between PLN 3,000 and PLN 5,000.

Time: The entire process generally 3-4 weeks for approval, but may extend to up to 8 weeks.

Fees:

    • PLN 50– in the case of application for a work permit for a period of up to 3 months,
    • PLN 100– in the case of application for a work permit for a period of more than 3 months,
    • PLN 200– in the case of D-type application (for an employee delegated for the purpose of providing an export service)

Once the work permit is issued, one copy is retained by the Voivodship Office, and two are transferred to the employer, who is required to issue one copy to the foreigner.

4. Work permit is issued

The employee may commence work if a work permit is successfully issued.

Use the Shield GEO Employer of Record Solution

It takes around 10-12 weeks to secure a Work Permit in Poland.

The processing costs are around €2,750 through Shield GEO’s local partner.

Documentation required (Employee): Copy of the personal pages of the applicant’s passport, CV, passport photos, copies of degree/diploma/professional certificates and copies of professional references (may need to be notarized/apostilled depending on nationality). All documents need to be translated into Polish. Client will also need to provide a detailed job description in both English and Polish.

The process for obtaining a Work Permit for Poland once the above documents are received is as follows:

  • Shield GEO’s local partner and the employee sign a local employment contract (labour contract).
  • Position is advertised for 2 weeks.
  • Application is then lodged with Polish Immigration in the country of origin of the applicant.
  • Once the application is approved, candidate can then enter Poland to commence their assignment.

Types of visas in Poland

Category Description of Visa
Work Permit (Type A) Work permits are required to work legally in Poland if an individual is:
- Employed by a Polish employer
- Seconded to Poland by to a foreign employer
- Sit on the management board of a business entity in Poland
The permit must be applied for by the employer, which usually takes 8-10 weeks. Once the permit is obtained, the employer may conclude an employment contract with the individual. Work permits can be extended for up to one year after they are obtained.

The following documents are required and must be supplied in Polish:
- Valid passport
- Copy of itinerary including confirmed reservation and airline ticket
- Proof that the individual has sufficient means to support themselves financially throughout their stay, such as bank statements, proof of income or sponsorship declaration from friends or relatives in a Schengen country
- Letter from your employer offering employment in Poland
Work Permit (intra-company transfer) (Type C or E) This permit is intended for foreign individuals who work for a foreign employer and have been sent to Poland to work at one of the employer’s branches or plants.
Applications for an ICT usually take between 5 and 7 week to process. This can take longer depending on whether the applicant requires their documents to be translated into Polish. Work permits typically apply to a period of up to 36 months and may be renewed.
The following documents are required and must be supplied in Polish:
- Valid passport
- Copy of itinerary including confirmed reservation and airline ticket
- Proof that the individual has sufficient means to support themselves financially throughout their stay, such as bank statements, proof of income or sponsorship declaration from friends or relatives in a Schengen country
- Letter from your employer offering employment in Poland
Business visa (Schengen Visa C or D) A Schengen visa is required to visit Poland for business purposes. To apply for a Schengen visa, the following information is required:
- 2 copies of the completed application form
- Valid passport
- Copy of itinerary including confirmed reservation and airline ticket
- Proof that the individual has sufficient means to support themselves financially throughout their stay, such as bank statements, proof of income or sponsorship declaration from friends or relatives in a Schengen country
- Letter from your employer offering employment in Poland
- Proof of health insurance
- Visa fees of 60 EUR for stays less than 90 days (C visa) or 99 EUR (over 90 days)

The type of visa required is dependant on the length of the stay - C visas are suited for stays under 90 days whereas D visas are for stays exceeding 90 days.

It is sometimes possible to convert from a business to employment visa.
Freelance/entrepreneur visa (temporary residence card) This type of visa is valid for up to 2 years and can renewed before expiry.
To apply, the following documents must be submitted:
- Proof of Polish accommodation
- Employment contract
- Documents proving ability to support self financially while in Poland

The approval process usually takes between 10 and 60 days.
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