In 2014, the conditions for granting foreigners the right to stay and work in the territory of Poland changed. On 1 May 2014, the Act on foreigners dated 12 December 2013 (Dz. U. z 2013r. poz. 1650) came into force. The key change was to the course of the proceedings for granting residence and work permits for foreigners in Poland. Until the entry into force of the aforementioned Act, there were two separate procedures for a work permit and a residence permit. In the procedure for obtaining a work permit, the participation of the foreigner’s employer to be was essential.
Now that the procedures have been merged, the foreigner is given the opportunity to obtain a work permit and a residence permit at the same time. Obviously, not every foreigner can obtain a residence and work permit in Poland. Arts. 99 and 100 of the Act on Foreigners outlines a series of situations where the procedure for granting a temporary residence permit would not be initiated, or the foreigner would be denied a temporary residence permit. This occurs for example in situations where: permitting the foreigner to reside in the Republic of Poland is undesirable, his/her personal data are in the Schengen Information System for the purposes of refusing entry, it is justified for reasons of national defense or national security or the protection of public safety and order, the foreigner has been arrested, placed in a guarded center, a preventive measure in the form of a prohibition on leaving the country applies to the foreigner, the foreigner is serving a prison sentence, or is temporarily arrested, or was obliged to return and the period of voluntary return has not yet expired.
If there are no grounds to stop the foreigner from obtaining these permits, which are set out in the Act on Foreigners, he/she may submit an application. Applications shall be made on a form which is available on the websites of the Provincial Offices. Due to the necessity of providing fingerprints, the application shall be submitted personally by the foreigner. In the case of the first application, the number of formalities and required attachments to the application is high which can create actual difficulties for the foreigner.
For persons who are concurrently applying for a work permit, there are additional, significant requirements. Above all, a foreigner’s application should include information from the the Mayor of the District of the principal place of work (or if the specific nature of the work does not allow the main place of the work to be identified, the place of residence or headquarters of the employer) that the personnel needs of the entity entrusting the job to the foreigner cannot be met, based on the records of unemployed and jobseekers or the failure of organised recruitment for the employer.
However, not all foreigners are required to submit the abovementioned information. Citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine may take a job in any business sector without the obligation to obtain a work permit for up to six months in the period of every 12 months, based on a statement entrusting the job to a foreigner, submitted by the employer to the Labor Office. Foreigners who have worked on that basis for at least three months can apply for a permit to stay and work without the need to obtain information from the Mayor of the District, referred to above, if they will continue to work for the same employer in the same position.
The waiting time for a decision is up to two months from the date of submitting the application.