To be able to work in Poland, a foreigner must have a legal residence permit. Therefore, the potential employer is obliged to check whether the person he intends to employ is staying in Poland legally. Then, they must check whether the employment requires obtaining additional documents, e.g. a work permit or registering a declaration of entrusting work.
In the case of third-country nationals (non-EU), crossing the border and staying Poland depends on having a visa or other residence document. This may be a valid visa, e.g. a national or Schengen visa or a residence permit.
When obtaining access to the foreigner’s document, the employer should make sure whether the foreigner’s residence title entitles him to work in Poland as some residence documents confirm the legal stay of a foreigner in Poland, but on their basis the foreigner cannot perform work in Poland.
Moreover, foreigners exempt from the visa requirement may enter and stay in Poland under the so-called visa-free travel.
Legalization of employment
The legal right to reside in Poland and the right to work are two separate rights. An employer wishing to employ a foreigner must make sure that both rights are met. Before employing such a person, the potential employer must check whether an additional document is required or not.
There are several types of permits, but the one most often applied for by employers is a type A permit. This type of permit is issued to a foreigner working in the territory of the Republic of Poland on the basis of an agreement with an entity whose registered office or place of residence or a branch, plant or other form of organized activity is located in Poland.
The next form of legalization of employment is entrusting work to a foreigner on the basis of a declaration of entrusting work. This is a simplified procedure that allows a citizen of one of 5 countries: the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to work in Poland for 24 months without the need to obtain a work permit, to the extent that no permit is issued for seasonal work, i.e. other than that indicated in the above-mentioned regulation.
Simplified rules for Ukrainians
Currently, a simplified procedure for employing Ukrainian citizens is in force. Pursuant to Art. 22 of the Act on assistance to citizens of Ukraine in connection with an armed conflict on the territory of this country (Journal of Laws of 2023, item 103, as amended), a citizen of Ukraine is entitled to work in the territory of the Republic of Poland during the period of stay in accordance with applicable regulations, if:
1) his stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland is considered legal pursuant to Art. 2 section 1 of the Act on Assistance to Citizens of Ukraine (…) or
2) is a citizen of Ukraine legally residing in the territory of the Republic of Poland,
if the entity entrusting the performance of work notifies, within 14 days from the date of commencement of work by a citizen of Ukraine, the district labor office competent for the registered office or place of residence of the entity about entrusting the performance of work to this citizen, and the work is entrusted in a working time not lower than that indicated in the notification or a number of hours not less than that indicated in the notification and for remuneration not less than that agreed at the rate specified in the notification, proportionally increased in the event of an increase in working time or the number of working hours.
Employment of foreigners without permission
Persons with citizenship of an EU Member State, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland may work in Poland without the need to obtain a work permit.
In addition, entrusting a foreigner with work in the territory of the Republic of Poland without the need to obtain a work permit is also permissible, among others in the case of foreigners referred to in the regulation of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy on cases in which entrusting work to a foreigner in the territory of the Republic of Poland is permissible without the need to obtain a work permit (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 2291).
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