Although the criteria for employing foreign nationals are the same as for Polish applicants, they need to meet specific requirements related to the employment of the citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and non-UE countries.
A foreign national can be employed either on the strength of an employment contract (umowa o pracę) or a commission contract (umowa zlecenie, umowa o dzieło). No matter what kind of work contract is chosen, it has to be a written one, signed by the applicant before he or she can resume the job.
I. Academic instructors
On the strength of the Law of Higher Education and Science a foreign national who wants to obtain education or to pursue academic career in Poland does not need to seek the permission from the state employment agency, as long as
- those who from non-EU countries have a visa that entitles them to work
- those from EU countries who plan to stay in Poland for more than three months need to register their stay.
Foreign nationals from EU countries do not need to have a visa that entitles them to
II. Administrative Staff Members
Every foreign national, who on the strength of the law is not exempt from having a work permit in Poland, must have such a permit if their want to work in Poland.
According to the EU treatise every EU citizen has the right of free movement and of staying on the territory of a member country.
- they not need to obtain a work permit, permission from the state employment agency or a visa that entitles them to work
- they can stay in Poland for three months without registering their stay, as long as they have a valid travel document or another document that confirms their identity and citizenship.
- they must register their stay when it is longer than three months
The stay should be registered at the Voivodeship Office (Urząd Wojewódzki) appropriate for the applicant’s place of residence on the day following the three-month-period of his/her stay in Poland at the latest. After receiving a written confirmation of the registration, the applicant must obtain a residency approval (meldunek) to be able to apply for a personal ID number (PESEL).
Foreign nationals who are not citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland should:
- obtain a suitable type of a work permit (defined in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy of 7.12.2017 concerning the issuance of a work permit for a foreign national and the inclusion of a statement on the employment of a foreign national in the registration records)
- have a proof of their legal stay in Poland that includes a work permit (a document of residency defined in the law of 12.12.2013 on the promotion of employment and the institutions on the job market, e.g. a visa, a residence card).
It is the employer who applies for the issuance of the work permit to the voivode of the voivodeship appropriate for the residency, and if the applicant has a temporary residence permit along with a work permit it is they who should deliver it to the employer.
Foreign nationals from the above countries may work in Poland without having a work permit for the maximum of six months in the span of the successive twelve months (including all employers a foreign national works for) on condition of submitting a statement on the job offer and the instruction at the powiat employment office appropriate for the place of residence of the part that submits the statement.
The statement must contain identity details of the employer and the applicant and the employer’s intention to employ the applicant in a given time span and in the capacity which does not require a work permit.
If the employment of a citizen of one of the above countries should exceed six months, the applicant should obtain a work permit from the voivode office appropriate for the Jagiellonian University locality.
Categories of persons exempt from the need to obtain work permit pursuant to Article 87 of the Act of 29 April 2004, on employment promotion and labour market institutions, namely a foreigner, who:
1. has permanent residence permit in the Republic of Poland;
2. has a refugee statute granted in the Republic of Poland;
3. was granted subsidiary protection in the Republic of Poland;
4. has residence permit for the European Union long-term resident in the Republic of Poland;
5. has residence permit for humanitarian reasons;
6. has permit for tolerated stay in the Republic of Poland;
7. uses temporary protection in the Republic of Poland;
8. has valid statement issued pursuant to Article 35 (1) of the Act of 13 June 2003, on granting foreigners protection within the territory of the Republic of Poland;
9. is a citizen of the European Union member state;
10. is a citizen of the European Economic Area country, not being member of the European Union;
11. is a citizen of a country not being party to the agreement on the European Economic Area, which may freely exercise the freedom of movement of persons in accordance with the agreement concluded by this country with the European Community and member states thereof;
12. accompanies within the territory of the Republic of Poland a foreigner referred to in point 9-11 as a family member, as defined by the Act of 14 July 2006 on the entry into, residence in and exit from the Republic of Poland of nationals of the European Union Member States and their family members;
13. is a person referred to in point 19 (2-3) of the Act of 14 July 2006 on the entry into, residence in and exit from the Republic of Poland of nationals of the European Union Member States and their family members (Journal of Laws 144, pos. 1043, as amended);
14. has temporary residence permit referred to in Article 114 (1) or (1a), Article 126, Article 127, Article 139a (1), Article 139o (1) or Article 142 (3) of the Act of 12 December 2013, on foreigners – on the conditions as stipulated in this permit;
15. resides within the territory of the Republic of Poland in relation with exercising short-term mobility of a management employee, specialist or an employee under training under the Intra-corporate transfer on the conditions as stipulated in Article 139n (1) of the Act of 12 December 2013, on foreigners;
16. resides within the territory of the Republic of Poland in relation with exercising short-term mobility of a scientist on the conditions as stipulated in Article 156b (1) of the Act of 12 December 2013, on foreigners;
17. resides within the territory of the Republic of Poland in relation with exercising mobility of a student on the conditions as stipulated in Article 149b (1) of the Act of 12 December 2013, on foreigners;
18. has temporary residence permit in the Republic of Poland granted in relation with the circumstances, referred to in Article 144, Article 151 (1), Article 151b (1), Article 158 (2) (1) or (2), Article 161 (2), Article 176 or Article 186 (1) (3), (4) or (7) of the Act of 12 December 2013, on foreigners or having a national visa for the purpose of conducting scientific research or development works;
19. is a spouse of a Polish citizen or a foreigner, referred to in point 1-7 and point 18, holding temporary residence permit within the territory of the Republic of Poland, granted in relation with conclusion of marriage;
20. is a descendant referred to in Article 2 (1)(8) letter b of the Act on employment promotion and labour market institutions of a Polish citizen or a foreigner, referred to in point 1-7 and point 18 and 19, holding temporary residence permit within the territory of the Republic of Poland;
21. has temporary residence permit within the territory of the Republic of Poland granted in accordance with Article 159 (1) or Article 161b (1) of the Act of 12 December 2013, on foreigners;
22. resides within the territory of the Republic of Poland on the basis of Article 108 (1)(2) or Article 206 (1) (2) of the Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners or on the basis of a stamp imprint made in a travel document, confirming making the application for granting residence permit for EU long-term resident, if, directly prior to making the application that person was exempted from the obligation of holding work permit pursuant to point 18-21;
23. holds valid Card of the Pole;
24. is entitled to residing and working within the territory of a member state of the European Union or a country of the European Economic Area not being part of the European union or the Swiss Confederation, who is employed by an employer seated within the territory of that country or temporary delegated by that employer to provide services within the territory of the Republic of Poland;
25. in relation to whom, international agreements or separate provisions allow performance of work without the need for having the permit.
26. is a citizen of the country stipulated in provisions issued pursuant to Article 90 (10)(2) of the Act on employment promotion and labour market institutions, who performs work outside of the scope of activities as stipulated in provisions issued pursuant to Article 90 (9) of the aforementioned Act for the period longer than 6 months during the subsequent 10 months, if the Poviat Labour Office, prior to commencement of work by the foreigner, has entered the statement on entrusting work to a foreigner to the register of statements, and the work is performed on the conditions as stipulated in this statement;
27. is a citizen of the country other than the one stipulated in provisions issued pursuant to Article 90 (10)(2) of the Act on employment promotion and labour market institutions, performing work in professions as stipulated in provisions issued pursuant to Article 90 (9) of the aforementioned Act for the period longer than 6 months during the subsequent 10 months, if the Poviat Labour Office, prior to commencement of work by the foreigner, has entered the statement on entrusting work to a foreigner to the register of statements, and the work is performed on the conditions as stipulated in this statement;
Categories exempt from the obligation of obtaining work permit in accordance with regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 21 April 2015, on the cases when entrusting work to a foreigner within the Republic of Poland is allowed without the necessity to obtain work permit (Journal of Laws 2015, pos. 588), namely the foreigners:
1. conducting training courses, undergoing professional trainings, serving as advisers, supervisors or performing a function requiring high qualifications and skills in programmes implemented under activities of the European Union or other international aid programmes, also on the basis of loans taken by the government of the Republic of Poland;
2. being foreign language teachers working in preschools, schools, establishments, centres, teacher training centres or colleges, referred to in provisions on the educational system or in Voluntary Work Corpses;
3. being members of armed forces or civilian staff, performing work in the international military structures located within the territory of the Republic of Poland, or being foreigners delegated to implement armament programmes implemented under the agreements to which the Republic of Poland is a party;
4. being permanent correspondents of the mass media, who were given accreditation, at a request of the Editor-in Chief of a foreign editorial department or agency, by the minister competent for Foreign Affairs, however, only within the scope of professional journalist activities performed for this editorial department or agency;
5. providing individual or group artistic services for up to 30 days in a calendar year, including performers (e.g. actors, musicians, dancers) and other persons performing artistic activities (e.g. directors, screenwriters, art directors, choreographers, cameramen, sound engineers, light technicians, makeup artists);
6. delivering, up to 30 days in a calendar year, occasional lectures, speeches or presentations with particular scientific or artistic value;
7. being athletes performing, up to 30 days in a calendar year, work for an entity seated within the territory of the Republic of Poland, in relation with sport competitions;
8. performing work in relation with internationally prominent sporting events directed by a relevant international sport organisation;
9. being a member of the clergy, member of religious orders or other person performing work related to their religious function in churches and religious associations and in national inter-church organisations the status of which is regulated by an international agreement, provisions on the relationship between the State and the church or another religious association, or who act on the basis of entry in the register of churches and other religious associations, and also who perform work as part of performing religious function in other entities, on the basis of delegation from the relevant body of the church or another religious association, or its legal entity;
10. being students of full-time studies taken in the Republic of Poland or participants of full-time doctor studies taken in the Republic of Poland;
11. being students, who perform work under professional internships, to which they were directed by organisations being members of the international student associations;
12. being students, who perform work under cooperation of public employment services and their foreign partners, if the need to entrust performance of work to a foreigner is confirmed by the competent employment body;
13. being students of universities and vocational schools in the European Union member states or countries of the European Economic Area not being part of the European Union or the Swiss Confederation, who perform work under professional internship by the rules of their studies or the syllabus, under the condition that they were delegated for such internship by their relevant university or vocational school;
14. participating in the cultural or educational exchange programmes, development and humanitarian aid programmes or working holiday schemes for students, organised in the minister competent for labour;
15. being students of post-grammar schools, full-time university studies or full-time doctoral studies on Polish universities, in scientific institutions of the Polish Academy of Sciences or research institutes operating on the basis of regulation on research institutes;
16. performing work as research workers in the entities referred to in regulations on research institutes;
17. delegated by a foreign employer to the territory of the Republic of Poland, if they retain the permanent place of residence abroad, for the period not exceeding 3 months in a calendar year, for the purpose of:
– performing assembly, conservation and repair works, of the delivered technologically complete equipment, constructions, machinery or other devices, if the foreign employer is the manufacturer thereof,
– performing acceptance of the ordered equipment, machinery, other devices or parts, made by Polish entrepreneur,
– providing training to employees of the Polish employer being the receiver of the equipment, constructions, machinery or other devices, referred to in letter a, within the scope of its handling and operation,
– assembly and disassembly of exhibition stands as well as supervision thereon, in the exhibitor in the foreign employer, who delegates them for this purpose;
18. performing work for delegates of the European Parliament in relation with the capacity thereof;
19. empowered in accordance with the principals as stated in legal acts issued by the bodies designated pursuant to the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Economic Community and Turkey, signed in Ankara on 12 September 1963 (Official Journal UE L 217 of 29.12.1964 p. 3687, – Official Journal EU Polish special edition, chapt. 11, t. 11, p. 10).
Exemptions from the obligation of having work permit by a foreigner within the territory of Poland may also by stipulated by the specific provisions and international agreements.
The employment contract should have a written form and it should correspond to the registered statement on the employment offer or to the work permit.
Employing a foreign national in a different capacity than set in the statement or the work permit is illegal and punishable by fine.
In case a foreign national does not commence work or abandons it, an appropriate notification should be submitted to the City Employment Office (Grodzki Urząd Pracy) in Kraków.
The above rules apply to all forms of employment, including employment contract and commission contract (umowa cywilino-prawna).
Foreign nationals who are employed on the strength of the employment contract or the commission contract are provided with compulsory social and health insurance.
To confirm his/her qualifications earned outside Poland (university graduation diploma, Ph.D. diploma, other documents related to obtaining particular university ranks and titles) the candidate should submit relevant documents in a Polish translation.
Prior to employing a foreign national his/her diplomas or university ranks and titles should be reviewed in respect of their equivalence to Polish ones.
They can be acknowledged as equivalent on the basis of:
- an international agreement on the recognition of education earned in Poland and in the foreign national’s country of origin (a list of particular agreements is available here: https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja-i-nauka/umowy-dwustronne-dotyczace-uznawalnosci-wyksztalcenia )
- a diploma issued by a qualified institution of a higher education in a member country of the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
- a validation procedure (nostryfikacja)
A validation or recognition procedure serves to establish equivalence between a foreign certificate, diploma or university title or rank and their Polish counterparts. A successful validation procedure enable a qualified foreign national to use a Polish university title or rank.