Polish Visas, Work Permits and Migration
Expanding a business into new territory can be both thrilling … and daunting, especially if it’s thousands of miles away. Dealing with immigration legislation and risking sanctions and fines for non-compliance is a major consideration, unless you are in the hands of experts such as Bradford Jacobs, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and Employer of Record (EOR).
We are experts in hiring staff, applying for work visas in Poland and ensuring employees meet Polish work visa requirements with the correct documentation. Our team is trained to research the latest information on Polish visas and work permits and therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. This guide highlights the complexities of obtaining the necessary documentation.
What Types of Work Visas, and Permits for Poland are there?
Citizens of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland have ‘free movement of persons’ entering, living, and looking for employment in Poland. They do not require entry visas or work permits. They can stay for three months with just their EU passports or ID card. After this, they must register with the ‘voivodship’ (state or province) where they live for a temporary residence permit for up to three years. This is an easy process with no charge.
Third Country Nationals (TCNs) to visit, holiday or for unpaid business purposes who are not visa-exempt, must apply for:
- Schengen C Visa gives them a 90-day stay in a six-month period
- For stays of more than three months, a National D Visa is required
Generally, all TCNs who wish to enter Poland for employment, require a work permit. There are a few exceptions related to scientific research.
Also, some countries have an agreement with Poland allowing for an Employer’s Declaration of Entrusting Work to a Foreigner’ rather than a work permit, such as the Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Moldova, Belarus and Georgia.
- For six months in a 12-month period
- Employers make a ‘written declaration’ to provide the employees with work
- The declaration has to be posted in Poland’s Labor Office
They have up to 90 days visa free, after which they must apply for the appropriate visa or temporary residence permit for the length of their stay.
All other TCN citizens require a work permit which is applied for by the employer at the ‘voivodship’ (state or province) they will work and live. The employer pays for the permit and must give a copy to the employee on acceptance.
Main Work Permits
- Type A is the standard permit for foreigners who have been offered a job by Polish employers
- Type B is for a board member residing in Poland for six out of 12 months
- Type C is for ‘intracompany’ transfers sent to a branch of non-Polish employer for more than 30 days
- Type D is for employees sent to non-Polish employers to perform a service
- Type E for employees working with non-Polish employer sent to Poland (intracompany) for longer than three months
- Freelance / Entrepreneur permit for the self employed
- EU Blue Card which is a combined work permit (A Type) and residence permit for highly skilled and qualified workers or professionals with five years’ experience
As well as the work permit which gives permission for employment, TCNs also require a National D Visa to enter and stay in Poland legally. This can be applied for in the home country from a local Polish Embassy or Consulate or their official representative. A Residence Permit can be applied for when arriving in Poland.
Work permits are issued on the basis of:
- A specific employer
- A particular job position
- A designated period of employment
So be careful, you may need to apply for a new work permit if there is a change of employer and if all documents are rendered invalid by the move.
Being illegal in Poland can bring fines and sanctions for both employee and employer. Reasons include:
- Not having the relevant visa or residence card to live in Poland even though employees may have a work permit
- Performing work that is not specified in the work permit or not having a work permit
- Being employed with documentation which does not cover paid employment
Fines up to PLN 5,000 (€1,103, US$1,264) for individuals and expulsion from Poland and the Schengen area for three years can apply. Employers must cover all costs relating to the expulsion of employees PLUS fines which can be excessive if the employee was asked to work illegally.
TCNs seeking employment – from outside of Poland
- A job offer is required with initial contract detailing working conditions, salary, start date etc. However, the position should have been offered first to Polish/EU/EEA nationals (Labor Market Test) through the local labor office or the European Job Bank (EURES). This needs to have been verified before the employer can apply for the work permit for a TCN. Exceptions apply if their occupation is on a skill shortage list
- The employer applies and pays for the work permit. This is the legal permission to work in Poland. It is typically the standard Type A permit or Type C/E for intracompany transfers
- A National D Visa is also legally required by employees to enter and live in Poland. This D Visa can be applied for when the ‘voivodship’ (state or province) to which the employer has issued an employment application, sends an invitation to the employee
- The employer must ensure that the Visa or Residence Permit are legally correct and keeps a copy
- The contract needs to be concluded before the employee starts work. Failure results in a fine of PLN 3,000 (€662, US$758). Type of contract determines if employees are covered by the Labor Code. Employment contracts are covered but civil contracts are not e.g., task contract, agency contract or contract of mandate (for a determined period) are covered by the Civil Code
- Employees are legally entitled to a copy of the contract in a language which they are familiar with and is provided by the employer
- Within four days of entering Poland, the employee must register at the ‘voivodship’ where he lives and works
- Within seven days of the contract being signed, the employer must register the employee with the social security and health insurance authorities, so the employees are covered for health care as well as benefits and entitlements
- After entering Poland, a residence permit can be applied for during the legal stay (i.e., documents are still valid) at the ‘voivodship’
For foreign employees already in Poland
These employees can apply for a combined Temporary Residence and Work Permit or an EU Blue Card, also known as a “Temporary Residence Permit for the purpose of highly qualified employment”. This permit allows foreign nationals to live and work in Poland. Certain conditions and documents are required when applying.