Labour law updates and recommendations 2022

Latest changes to the visa application process

EXTENSION OF THE POLAND BUSINESS HARBOUR PROGRAMME

The Poland Business Harbour programme, which started over two years ago, was designed to simplify the relocation of IT professionals, start-ups, and small, medium-sized and large enterprises to Poland. The key to facilitate this process is a special type of visa, which allows people to work without the required permit, set up a business on the same basis as Polish citizens, and invite their immediate family to join them.

The programme is becoming increasingly popular, so a decision has been made to extend it again. From 5 September 2022, companies from the new technology sector employing high-level programming specialists whose activities will be of significant importance to the Polish economy will be able to relocate employees from all over the world.

However, it is worth noting that in practice few companies will be able to take advantage of this. According to information received directly from the State Agency for Investment and Trade (in Polish: Polska Agencja Inwestycji i Handlu) (PAIH), the extension regarding the relocation of employees from all over the world applies only to the largest enterprises whose activities are considered crucial for the Polish economy. This is also confirmed by the employee relocation process itself, which requires companies to contact PAIH via a special form on its website. Only later is it assessed whether a company actually conducts activities of strategic importance to the Polish economy and whether it can relocate employees from all over the world, and not just from a specific group of countries.

This means that the extension is actually limited to a very small number of companies, and the process itself is highly individualised and subjective.

 

VISA APPLICATIONS WILL BE EXAMINED BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

On 30 August 2022, the long-awaited Regulation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of 18 August 2022 on the issue of national visas to foreigners staying on the territory of Poland came into force. This is a completely new solution, since, as a rule, visas are only issued at Polish consulates abroad. The Regulation sets out specific conditions regarding who can apply for a national visa in Poland, at what time, and for what purpose.

The first restriction is the nationality of the foreigner – only citizens of Belarus and Ukraine are entitled to submit visa applications in Poland. It will also be necessary to meet additional conditions, such as the possession of a humanitarian visa. In addition, this possibility has been limited in time until 31 December 2022. Under the Regulation, citizens of Belarus and Ukraine will only be able to apply for certain types of visas.

It is worth noting that despite the provisions of the Regulation being in force since 30 August 2022, in practice it is only from today that it is possible to submit a visa application. The reason for this is the entry into force on 7 September 2022 of the Regulation of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration of 10 August 2022 amending the Regulation on visas for foreigners, which introduces a new template form for the application for a national visa, taking into account the possibility for foreigners residing in Poland to submit such applications to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

Justyna Helbing, Paralegal