Labour law updates and recommendations

Act on Foreigners – new regulations on the employment of foreigners in Poland

On 29 January 2022, the long-awaited reform of the Polish immigration law came into force, the purpose of which is to facilitate the procedures for legalising the stay and the obtaining of work permits by foreigners. The new regulations promise quite far-reaching facilitation, but only practice will show whether they will actually improve the whole process.

Main principles of the reform

Under the new regulations:

  • the catalogue of circumstances that do not require a change in the temporary residence and work permit is expanded;
  • the period of work has been extended to 24 months on the basis of a declaration of entrusting work to a foreigner;
  • the deadline for granting a temporary residence permit in the first instance is 60 days, and in the appeal instance 90 days;
  • instructing foreigners about their rights and obligations or the course of the proceedings and the exchange of certain information between the provincial governor or the Head of the Office for Foreigners and the competent services and authorities may take place electronically;
  • priority for consideration by the provincial governor is given to applications of foreigners who are to perform work for entities conducting activities of strategic importance for the national economy.

We wrote in detail about some of these issues  in pervious post: Positive changes in the employment of foreigners.

Changes for the better?

The extension of the period of work on the basis of the so-called statement on entrusting work to a foreigner to 24 months and enabling the continuation of employment based on another statement without interruption is a positive step. However, there is a fear that this solution – without internal organisational and personnel changes – may increase the workload of labour offices and contribute to extending the waiting time to receive a statement. A beneficial change from the employer’s point of view is also the possibility of  updating the temporary residence and work permit in the event of, among other things, a change of position (but with the scope of duties retained) – earlier, this change required applying for a new permit. Theoretically, the update should be less time-consuming.

The requirement to provide legally employed foreigners with a monthly salary at least at the level of the minimum wage, regardless of the working time or type of contract, raises some doubts. This solution may lead to unequal treatment of workers – Polish citizens.

The question is how many employers will benefit from the accelerated procedure for processing applications for work permits? Is it really a beneficial proposal to give priority to “entities conducting activities of strategic importance for the national economy” instead of developing a list of priority professions? Time – and the regulation of the Minister responsible for the economy – will show.

It also seems that the introduction of new deadlines for settling immigration cases, without actual internal changes in immigration offices, will  not speed up the issuance of decisions, and  complicated transitional provisions may additionally contribute to reducing the efficiency of their work – at least in the initial phase of implementation of the new regulations.

Dominika Nowak, Senior Associate

Agnieszka Tarasiuk, Paralegal