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Polish immigration law in the full bloom

by Marta Pietrzak 

Poland has become and still becomes a more attractive place to live for foreigners from all over the world. It is true that we are still not a country with highly growing economy, but as we can see, many foreigners are very willing to settle in Poland and work here.

Foreigners settling in Poland can be divided into two groups:

– Foreigners from countries where there are political problems and a weak economic situation, such as: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, India, as well as countries further engulfed by the war, such as: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or also the countries bordering with them – Pakistan, Iran etc.;

– Foreigners from countries with an economic and social high level and a stable political situation, such as: USA, Canada, Germany, Sweden or even foreigners from some of the richest countries in the world, such as: Norway and Switzerland.

Of course, there is a fundamental difference between the above mentioned groups of foreigners. Representatives of the first group come from necessity. They have to leave their country because of the danger or poverty or both of them that threatens them. While the representatives of the other above mentioned group are usually people highly affluent, who are employed in senior positions in the international corporations. They see Poland as an ideal place for all kinds of investment. Mostly they are employees seconded to a branch office on Polish territory. Although the reasons of arrival and settlement in Poland are very different for the above groups of foreigners, undoubtedly all foreigners think about Poland as a safe country, and above all, as a country with a good basis for development in every aspect.

The years 2015 -2017 is the peak number of the employees from other countries. Despite of the very large number of employees seconded to work in Poland, from year to year has grown a wave of workers coming from Ukraine and India. It should be noted that every foreigner must have legalized stay and work on the Polish territory, even if it is an European Union citizen. Therefore, immigration law is growing in strength.

Polish Acts of law, such as: Act of foreigners of 12th December 2013 (Polish name: Ustawa o cudzoziemcach z dnia 12 grudnia 2013 roku) and Act on promotion of employment and labour market institutions of 20th April 2004 (Polish name: Ustawa o promocji zatrudnienia i instytucjach rynku pracy z dnia 20 kwietnia 2004 roku), every few months bring more and more new legal rules about the crossing Polish border by foreigners and especially about their residence permits. Every year there are an increasing number of companies and law firms operating in the immigration market.

Because of coming to Poland foreigners, earn not only the immigration offices, but also the Polish Labor Offices, City Halls and in particular – Voivode Offices that charge all fees associated with the submission of the relevant pr1oposals and issuing the residence permits for foreigners.

The current situation shows that from year to year Polish immigration law will significantly evaluate and introduce newer and newer modifications. In terms of the law, Poland will accept an increasing number of foreigners, especially workers from Ukraine.

One of the best example is the past and still valid regulation about stay and work in Poland for citizens of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia. Representatives of these countries coming to Poland benefit from a simplified procedure. To their arrival and work in Poland up to six months is enough to get a document known as a ‘declaration of intention to employ a foreigner’. Obtaining such document is much less complicated than obtaining a work permit or a residence card at the same time, or also the documents mandatory for each foreigner from outside the European Union, for whom Poland is the so-called ‘center of vital interests’.

Due to the large number of workers from Ukraine, Polish authorities decided to eliminate the aforementioned ‘declaration’ of 1st January 2017. The final decision was made on September 2016. However, reality shows that Polish law was gone from the final decision in this topic. It turned out that the ‘declaration’ will still function (at least for a next year).

Furthermore, in the Polish immigration law has appeared two new creations, such as:

– ‘Permit of the seasonal work’ – document issued to all foreigners from Third countries, coming to Poland to perform a seasonal work: work related to agriculture, horticulture and another sectors of that kind of work. This is issued for a period not longer than 8 months;

– ‘Short-term work permit’ – this document is issued to foreigners for a period not longer than 6 months. Most interestingly, this type of work permit had to be replaced by the abovementioned ‘declaration of intention to employ a foreigner’. As can be seen, there weren’t and there will not be any replacements.

Polish immigration law wants to make money and to develop. Therefore, every moment there are introduced newer types of work and residence permits, also for foreigners from the European Union and the Schengen area.

Moreover, 2017 will be certainly a crucial year. Statistics show that due to the increasing number of newer legal provisions, during next few months at the Polish labor market will hit a wave of workers from Ukraine and IT professionals from India.

Probably many Polish workers are asking themselves at that moment: whether it is good or bad, and above all, whether for Polish citizens will be sufficient workplaces?

It is very difficult to answer this question. Undoubtedly, the Polish immigration law fights for an increasing number of foreign workers, while also introduces more and more regulations that will protect Polish employers against all kinds of negative consequences of the employment foreigners.

The best proof of unquestionable ‘Polish immigration law bloom’ is the Mazovian Voivode Office located at Marszalkowska 3/5 street in Warsaw. At this place, since early morning hours, hundreds of foreigners stand in anticipation of the moment… when the doors will open…

Marta Pietrzak
Lawyer, journalist, traveler. She loves Italian cuisine and oriental dishes. Specialist in Polish immigration law. Assistant of the Legal Aid Department at Papug.pl