In the last quarter of 2021, a government bill amending the Act on Foreigners and certain other acts was submitted to the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish Parliament). The bill is primarily aimed at streamlining the procedures for granting temporary residence and work permits. Apart from the Act on Foreigners, the bill also includes an amendment to the Act on the Promotion of Employment and Labour Market Institutions regarding seasonal work permits and declarations on entrusting work to foreigners.
The key elements of the bill are as follows:
- the process of obtaining a combined temporary residence and work permit is to be simplified. Among other things, the bill abolishes the obligation of the foreigner to have a place of residence in Poland and a stable and regular source of income. This second condition is replaced by the requirement for the foreigner to receive remuneration not lower than the minimum wage, regardless of the working time and the type of legal relationship constituting the basis for the foreigner’s employment.
- the catalogue of circumstances in which it will not be necessary to change the temporary residence and work permit is to be extended. For example, it will not be necessary to amend the permit if the name of the position held by the foreigner changes while the scope of his/her duties remains the same or an increase in working hours results in a proportional increase in remuneration.
- a 60-day deadline for granting the foreigner a permit for temporary residence is to be introduced (counting from the date of submission of the application). Appeal proceedings in this respect are to be completed within 90 days.
- the period for performing work specified in the declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner is to be extended to 24 months.
- the process of applying for a Polish Card (in Polish: Karta Polaka) is to be simplified.
- when considering applications for work permits, provincial governors are to give priority to foreigners who are to work for entities carrying out activities of strategic importance for the national economy. A list of such entities is to be presented by the minister responsible for the economy.
The above solutions are expected to significantly speed up the process of obtaining a permit, which can currently take up to six months. At the moment, when applying for a temporary residence permit for a foreigner, it should be borne in mind that “normally” the process takes between 2 and 3 months, depending on the competent office, and in the case of a temporary residence and work permit the procedure is even extended further.
On 17 December 2021, the Sejm passed some amendments to the bill proposed by the Senate (the upper house of the Polish Parliament). It is expected that the new regulations will enter into force at the beginning of 2022.
Dominika Nowak, Senior Associate
Izabela Olejarz, Junior Associate