Hiring Foreign Workers in Poland from 0utside the EU and EEA
In many cases employers are willing to hire employees who do not have citizenship of one of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) countries. Often, it is the case of foreign managers in Polish companies in which he or she may hold shares. However, whatever the category of worker, the same provisions of the law are applied. Hiring such an employee requires that specific legal conditions are met. Regulations on employing foreigners in Poland are contained in the Act on promoting employment and labour market institutions of 20 April 2004.
Generally, pursuant to Polish law, to employ a foreigner from outside the EU and EEA requires that a work permit be obtained. A work permit can be granted only to foreigners who have a lawful right of abode in Poland. Some groups of foreigners are exempted from the obligation to obtain a work permit, mostly due to family relations with Polish citizens or long residence in Poland. A wide range of exemptions are also provided in the Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 20 July 2011 in which the assignment to a foreigner of work to be performed in Poland is allowed without the need to obtain a work permit.
It is the employer’s obligation to file an application for a work permit to the province’s governor (voievode) competent in the region where the employer has his registered office. Such an application should be filed at least 30 days before an employee’s first day at work. A work permit is granted for a specific period of time but for no longer than 3 years (5 years for managers or board members), and may be extended repeatedly.
The province’s governor needs to receive beforehand information confirming that according, to the unemployment office and the persons looking for work, there are no Polish citizens willing to hold such employment position and that attempts to recruit Polish citizens for such position has proved unsuccesful. Furthermore, the amount of remuneration specified in the contract with a foreigner cannot be lower than the remuneration for Polish employees performing similar work in a similar position.
Specific conditions are imposed on an entity wishing to employ a foreigner as member of the management board. In particular, in such a case the employing entity has to show that its revenue in the preceding tax year was not less than 12 times the average monthly remuneration in the province in the third quarter of the year preceding the permit application and that the entity employs for an unspecified period at least two full-time employees who are not subject to the obligation to hold a work permit.
A work permit contains the full name of an employer and employee and indicates the employee’s occupation and an expiry date for the work permit. The legal form and nature of the work to be performed is irrelevant because in every case a work permit is required. An employer is obligated to give a copy of the work permit to a foreign employee. The employment contract should be be presented to a foreigner in a language that he or she understands before it is signed; this can be either a translation or the binding version of the contract and there is no obligation for the contract to be in the Polish language.