On 29 January 2022, the Polish Act of 17 December 2021 amending the Act on foreigners and certain other acts entered into force. It contains a number of changes that are important for entrepreneurs and foreigners working and studying in Poland. The main objective of the Act is “primarily to streamline the proceedings concerning the granting of temporary residence permits for foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland, in particular temporary residence and work permits” (from the grounds of the draft Act), but also to facilitate the employment of foreigners by Polish entrepreneurs and to shorten the time for processing an application for a national visa.
The first significant change for Polish employers is the requirement that a foreigner employed must earn at least the equivalent of the minimum wage regardless of the duration and type of contract. In January 2022, the minimum wage is PLN 3010 gross. The exemption is for foreigners who are to perform work in an occupation requiring high qualifications. The remuneration for such an employee is to be the equivalent of the average salary in the year preceding the application for a temporary residence and work permit. Another change concerns enterprises of strategic importance to the Polish economy. They will be able to employ foreigners faster and more easily than before by obtaining a temporary residence and work permit in these entities.
Most of the changes introduced by the above mentioned act concern foreigners wishing to work in Poland. As already mentioned, they can more quickly and easily get employed in enterprises of special strategic importance for the interests of the Republic of Poland. Many of the changes concern the issuance of temporary residence and work permits. The requirement for the foreigner to have a place of residence and a stable, regular source of income has been abandoned. A new procedure for changing the residence and work permit in the case of a change of employer has been introduced. A significant facilitation is the extension of the catalogue of circumstances that do not require a change of the residence and work permit. In addition, the deadline for issuing visas for the purposes of, inter alia, studying, conducting research or development work, or completing an internship has been shortened from 60 to 30 days. By virtue of the Act of 17 December 2021 amending the Act on foreigners and certain other acts, the Act of 27 August 2004 on health care services financed from public funds is also amended. This amendment will allow foreigners who hold a visa in order to work to obtain the status of unemployed. On this basis, they may be subject to the obligation of health insurance. The above changes apply to all foreigners wishing to take up employment in Poland, but there are also facilitations that apply only to citizens of Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus and Moldova. According to the new regulations, citizens of these countries can be employed on the basis of a single statement for a maximum period of two years, whereas previously the period was only six months. It will also be possible to entrust citizens of these countries with work without interruption on the basis of successive declarations, but the entry of such a declaration in the register will be dependent on the employer ensuring remuneration at a comparable level. The time limit for informing the Polish District Labour Office about taking up employment by a foreigner on the basis of the declaration has also been extended to seven days.
The Polish Act of 17 December 2021 amending the Act on foreigners and certain other acts introduces a number of changes that are important for foreigners working in Poland and the entrepreneurs employing them. They are aimed at facilitating the employment of foreigners not only in previously popular industries, but also in companies of strategic importance. These changes are intended to respond to the high demand for foreign workers among Polish entrepreneurs.