Below we present the main principles of the Act on Assistance to Citizens of Ukraine in Connection with the Armed Conflict on the Territory of Ukraine, which entered into force on 13 March 2022 (hereinafter: “the Act”).
The Act applies to Ukrainian citizens who legally entered Poland from the territory of Ukraine, in connection with the military action, in the period from 24 February 2022 until a date to be indicated by a decree of the Council of Ministers.
People covered by the Act may stay in Poland for a period of 18 months, calculated from 24 February 2022 (not from their date of entry to Poland), i.e. until 24 August 2023, without additional formalities (permits or visas).
Under the Act this stay may be extended beyond 18 months by filing a temporary residence application, which will entitle the applicant to continue working in Poland without the need to obtain a work permit.
The Act also introduces mechanisms to extend the legal stay of people who were already in Poland before 24 February 2022 whose visa or temporary residence permit (or other such document) will soon expire.
Ukrainian citizens who were not registered by the Polish Border Guard when crossing the Polish border should apply for registration of their stay to a municipal authority within 60 days of their arrival in Poland.
Under the Act, the procedure of providing access to the labour market has also been simplified. A Ukrainian citizen covered by the Act may legally take up employment without obtaining a work permit during the period of his/her legal stay – the only related formalities have to be dealt with by the employer. Within 14 days of the Ukrainian citizen starting work, the employer has to inform the relevant district labour office about this fact – this can be done electronically, using the praca.gov.pl portal.
In addition, provided that he/she obtains a PESEL number, a Ukrainian citizen will be able to register and carry out business activities on the same principles as Polish citizens.
Under the Act, the process of obtaining a PESEL number (as well as access to a so-called trusted profile) has also been made easier.
The Act also provides Ukrainian citizens with access to many social benefits. They can register as unemployed or looking for work and receive, among other things, family or parental benefits, the “good start” benefit, the Family Care Capital, and a subsidy to reduce nursery fees for their children.
Note! The above does not apply to Ukrainian citizens who have refugee status or subsidiary protection.
Dominika Nowak, Senior Associate
Justyna Helbing, Intern