What is the news? The Supreme Audit Office (NIK) has just published its report summarizing results of the official audit conducted on the public administration’s capability to handle foreigners’ immigration matters in Poland.

  • Audit report publication date: Aug. 7.
  • 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, Olszytn and Lublin.

Key findings:

  • The average processing time for residency permits in 2018 increased to 206 days compared to an average of 64 days in 2014.
  • The longest average processing time for residency permits is in the Lower Silesia region (Wroclaw) – 328 days.
  • The main reasons for the processing delays are:
    • A significant increase in number of applicants/foreigners in the last four years
    • Staffing shortages and high employee turnover in the provincial offices
    • Lack of internal processes
    • Insufficient technology
  • Delays in processing times and poor quality of customer service resulted in many official complaints, as well as indemnifications awarded by administrative courts that ruled in favor of those lodging complaints.

Report conclusions: The report concludes that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy, in particular, are accountable for delays as they did not create updated official documents governing state policy on immigration and employment of foreigners in Poland, nor did they effectively fulfill their role of overseeing the provincial immigration offices.

The report calls upon the Ministry of Internal Affairs to develop new strategies and state policies to properly address the processing time delays and inefficiencies within the state agencies, including provincial offices. The Ministry of Internal Affairs must submit a plan to the Council of Ministers specifying how they will improve the procedures for legalizing work and stay for foreigners and reduce the waiting time for the adjudication of permits.

In addition, the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy has been advised to develop a new method to reduce labor market shortages, specifically relating to high-skilled occupations, and to focus on integrating and retaining foreign talent.

Background: Last September, the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) began a country-wide audit of voivodeship offices and labor offices, including the Office for Foreigners (Urząd do spraw Cudzoziemców) and other offices responsible for immigration policy and oversight. The audit aimed to assess the cause of immigration processing delays across the country and the government cost associated with these delays.

Analysis & Comments: The report’s findings identify the scope and breadth of ongoing processing delays in Poland, and specify the actions relevant government agencies must take to improve the current situation. The report’s conclusions are especially important for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy, as they are responsible for creating strategy documents on immigration policy and foreigner labor matters in Poland. The report requests that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs improve its supervision over subordinate agencies responsible for handling immigration assistance for foreigners, including provincial offices and the Head Office for Foreigners. The report states that authorities have already addressed some of the conclusions during the audit but the major conclusions still require action from various immigration departments.

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