Employment of foreigners
The employment of foreigners in Poland is related to the fulfilment of a number of conditions contained, among others, in the Acts:
- employment promotion and labour market institutions (the Act applies to foreigners intending to perform or performing work on the territory of the Republic of Poland),
- foreigners (The Act defines the rules and conditions of entry of foreigners into the territory of the Republic of Poland, their transit through the territory, stay in and departure from the territory, procedure and authorities competent in these matters,
- effects of entrusting work to foreigners residing in contravention of the regulations on the territory of the Republic of Poland (Act lays down sanctions for entities entrusting work to a foreigner staying without a valid document entitling them to stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland and the principle of pursuing claims for remuneration and related benefits by a foreigner staying without a valid document entitling them to stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland).
Employment of EU citizens and their family members
The employment in Poland of workers who are nationals of the Member States of the European Union, the European Economic Area, Switzerland or a state that may exercise the freedom of movement of persons under an agreement concluded with the European Community and its Member States shall be carried out on the same basis as that of Polish nationals. This principle also applies to:
- their family members
- descendants (children, grandchildren) of the foreigner's spouse aged up to 21 or dependent on him/her,
- ascendants (parents, grandparents) of the foreigner or his/her spouse who are dependent on the foreigner or his/her spouse
When a work permit for a foreigner is required
A work permit is required if the foreign national:
- performs work in the territory of the Republic of Poland pursuant to an agreement with an employer whose registered office, place of residence, branch, establishment or other form of activity is located in the territory of the Republic of Poland (type A),
- in connection with performing functions in the management board of a legal person entered into the register of entrepreneurs or being a capital company in an organization, stays in the territory of the Republic of Poland for a period exceeding 6 months in total within the next 12 months (type B),
- performs work for a foreign employer and is delegated to the territory of the Republic of Poland for a period exceeding 30 days in a calendar year to a branch or establishment of a foreign entity or an affiliated entity, within the meaning of the PIT Act, with a foreign employer (type C),
- is employed by a foreign employer without a branch, establishment or other form of organized activity in the territory of the Republic of Poland and is delegated to the territory of the Republic of Poland in order to provide services of a temporary and occasional nature (export service) (type D),
- performs work for a foreign employer and is delegated to the territory of the Republic of Poland for a period exceeding 3 months within the following 6 months for a purpose other than the one indicated above (type E).
Additional instruments were introduced in 2018:
- a seasonal work permit - type S - issued by a district governor at the employer's request - entitles a foreigner staying in Poland and coming from abroad to work in subclasses recognised as seasonal work for 9 months in a calendar year (NOTE - differences in case of a foreigner staying in Poland and coming from abroad);
- statement - registered in the District Labour Office by the employer for the citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine - authorizes them to perform unseasonal work without permission for a period of 6 months in the following 12 months.
How to employ a foreigner legally
The entity entrusting the work has to:
- obtain a work permit for a foreigner or a seasonal work permit or an entry in the register of statements on entrusting work to a foreigner and hand this document over to the foreigner (unless the foreigner holds a uniform residence and work permit);
- sign a relevant agreement with the foreigner and present their translation into a language that the foreigner understands beforehand;
- copy the foreign national's residence permit;
- employ under the terms of the permit or statement;
- report a foreigner to social insurance if it results from the form of employment;
- fulfil information obligations
A foreigner may perform work only for the entity indicated in the permit/statement! Non-compliance with the above rules may result in sanctions such as a fine or lack of employability.
Before assigning work, check whether the foreigner has a valid document entitling them to stay in Poland, make a copy of this document and store it until the foreigner terminates work.
Make sure that the foreigner's residence permit entitles him/her to work in Poland. Remember that the type of contract should be adapted to the nature of the work. The conclusion of a contract for specific task cannot be a way to circumvent the provisions of the Labour Code or reduce the employment costs of a foreigner. The conclusion of a civil law contract when an employment contract should be concluded, constitutes a breach of the labour law and is punished with a fine.
If you employ a foreigner on the basis of an employment contract or mandate contract, you are obliged to report it within 7 days from the date of starting work to social and health insurance and monthly payments of contributions to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS).
As an entity entrusting the performance of work, you are obliged to fulfil duties under tax law, e. g. calculating, collecting and paying advances for income tax.
The employer may use electronic forms available at www.praca.gov.pl
Period of validity of the permit
The work permit is issued for a fixed period of time, not exceeding 3 years, and may be renewed. If the foreigner is a member of the management board of a legal person who, as at the date of filing the application employs more than 25 persons, the voivode may issue a work permit for a period of up to 5 years. Permits are issued for a specific employer, a particular foreigner and for work in a specific place and position.
The Act specifies the maximum period for which a work permit may be issued. A voivode, in his ordinance, may shorten the period for which work permits are issued in a given voivodeship. The maximum period of validity of a work permit may differ between voivodships
Submission of the application - formal requirements
You want to know types of permits and work permits for foreigners and who is exempt from the obligation to obtain them, see additional information.
Check what are the grounds for revoking work permit. See additional information.
Check when a foreigner can work without a work permit. See additional information.
Citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine - short-term work without the need for obtaining a permit
According to the Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine are entitaled to take up short-term, unseasonal work in Poland (up to a maximum of 6 months in the next 12 months) without the obligation to obtain a work permit. As an employer (legal person or natural person) you must submit a declaration of intent to employ a foreigner to the competent Labour Office, which keeps a register of declarations (registration procedure is free of charge).
The registered declaration constitutes for a foreigner a basis for applying for a visa in order to work in Poland. The foreigner applies for a visa (in country of permanent residence), in a Polish diplomatic and consular post.
In addition to the current work permits, which can be issued by a voivode for up to three years, a seasonal work permit has been introduced. The seasonal work permit will be issued by the district governor competent for the registered office or place of residence of an entity entrusting the work to a foreigner for a period of up to nine months in a calendar year.
Sanctions for an employer for illegal employment of a foreigner
You must bear in mind that illegal employment of a foreigner in the territory of the Republic of Poland is connected with a number of negative consequences. In accordance with Article 120 (2) 1 of the Act on Promotion of Employment, who entrusts a foreigner with illegal work shall be subject to a fine of not less than PLN 3000.