What is the news? The Supreme Audit Office (NIK) has commenced a widespread audit of voivodeship offices and labor offices throughout Poland as well as the Office for Foreigners (Urząd do spraw Cudzoziemców) and other offices responsible for immigration policy and oversight.

What does the news mean? The audit aims to assess the cause of immigration processing delays across the country and the government cost associated with these delays.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. The audits have begun and are expected to end in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Breadth of the audit: Eight province offices; voivodeship offices and labor offices; the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Family, Work and Social Policy, and the Office for Foreigners.
  • Regions affected: Wroclaw, Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Katowice, Poznan, Olsztyn and Lublin.

Background: Poland has seen an influx of foreign workers over the last few years, and the increasing numbers of work and residence permit applications have caused processing delays across the country. In the Lower Silesia region, namely Wroclaw, processing is especially slow and foreign nationals sometimes must wait more than a year for their temporary residence permit to be adjudicated, even though the process should be completed within two months according to Polish law. Similarly, while the statutory processing time for work permit applications is one month, some voivodeship offices are seeing delays of up to three months in issuing their decisions. While the authorities are able to prolong processing times in the case of complicated cases, they must inform applicants of the adjudication timeline. Recently, an increasing number of legal complaints have been filed for cases in which processing was extremely delayed, sometimes by several months. Many complaints have led to the administrative courts awarding monetary damages to those affected. The recent NIK audit aims to evaluate the cost and practical implication of these delays.

Analysis & Comments: While the implications of the audit will not be publicized until the second quarter of 2019, the results will allow the government to better assess the scope and breadth of immigration processing delays in Poland.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.