What is the change? The Polish government has implemented a new work permit law.

What does the change mean? Authorities have imposed new documentation requirements on employers, expanded the Type B work permit requirements, added requirements for nationals of six neighboring countries, provided new seasonal work permits and established new ground rules for denying work permit applications. Additionally, the Ministry of Labour may decide to limit the number of work permits or residence and work permits.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The changes took effect Jan. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits, including Type B work permits and Type S seasonal work permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers and non-EU/EEA nationals applying to work in Poland.
  • Impact on processing times: Applications were backlogged before the changes were implemented, and processing times have increased significantly since they went into effect.

Background: The changes were signed into law in 2017 and took effect Jan. 1. The law:

  • Imposes new documentation requirements on employers. Employers are now required to provide copies of diplomas, certificates and reference letters during the labor market testing phase of the work permit application process.
  • Requires employers to provide a declaration that the employee does not have a criminal record. The statement primarily refers to labor laws and must be provided on the specified government form, which must be signed by an authorized company representative (not a proxy).
  • Requires company general partners and proxies to obtain a Type B work permit. General partners and proxies must obtain a Type B work permit if they intend to work more than six months in a 12-month period. Previously, this requirement only extended to management or members of a company’s board.
  • Adds work permit requirements for nationals of six neighboring countries. Nationals of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine can be hired based on a “declaration of employment,” which allows eligible foreign workers to work in Poland for up to six months in a 12-month period. The new law dictates that the employer must provide the criminal record statement described above. In cases where an employer subsequently submits an application on behalf of a national of one of these countries, their work authorization will be extended until they are issued their new work/resident permit. In some labor offices there have been delays in registering the declaration of employment due to the number of applicants.
  • Introduces new seasonal work permits. New seasonal work permits (Type S work permits) have been introduced to allow workers in seasonal industries to work for up to nine months in a calendar year. Nationals of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine are exempt from labor marketing testing requirements for the new seasonal work permits.
  • Establishes new grounds for rejecting work permit applications. Work permits may now be refused if (1) the applicant’s qualifications cannot be established; (2) the employer’s financial means cannot be established; (3) the employer has not met obligations under tax, social security, health insurance or labor laws and regulations; (4) the employer is in the process of being liquidated or has been struck from the register the company is registered with (such as the national court registry, or KRS); or (5) if any of the employer’s managing employees or proxies have been convicted of offenses that authorities deem disqualifying.

The new law also allows authorities to put annual caps on the number of work permits that will be issued, but authorities have so far not set any limits.

BAL Analysis: Employers should become familiar with the new requirements and should anticipate delays when submitting work permit applications.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Poland. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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