30 November 2020

Amendment of the Act on Foreigners – update

Beginning on 1st December 2020, foreigners who remain in Poland based on, among others, the so-called humanitarian visas or with “Poland. Business Harbour” annotation will be permitted to work without work permit. This may be particularly important for Belarusian citizens who leave their countries due to repressions. The amendment of the Act on Foreigners also assumes, among others, changes arising from the modification of the Community Code on Visas and Poland’s accession to the Visa Waiver Program implemented by the USA.

The amendment of the Act of 28th October 2020 on Foreigners [i] extends the catalogue of cases where a foreigner is permitted to work in Poland. These amendments are complemented by the regulation issued by the Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Technology[ii], which assumes, among others, work permit waiver granted to foreigners who remain in Poland based on the so-called humanitarian visa, visas including the[iii], „Poland. Business Harbour” annotation, medical officers, dental practitioners, nurses and midwives as well as paramedics holding a right to exercise their profession (in accordance with the binding laws).

The purpose of the act is also to adjust the Polish legal system to changes in the Community Code on Visas[iv], which concern the issuing, withdrawal and annulment of national (long-term) visas within the scope of national law. Adaptation to the requirements of the EU law concerned, among others, the invitation form, the procedure for issuing national visas, as well as fees for their issuance. For example, the decision informing about refusal to issue a national visa will now be issued on a new form. On the other hand, the application for a national visa will be extended with additional sections, which will streamline the treatment of foreigners who want to work or study in Poland.

Another change is that all foreigners applying for a national visa and entering Poland are covered by the obligation to have travel medical insurance for the entire period of stay (in the absence of health insurance). The minister responsible for foreign affairs will publish information on insurers and the insurance offered by them that meet the statutory conditions.

The amendment also introduces provisions enabling the fulfilment of the obligation arising from Poland’s accession to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

The Act of 28th October of 2020 amending the Act on Foreigners and certain other acts and the Regulation of the Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Technology will enter into force on 1st December 2020.

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[i] The Act of 28th October of 2020 amending the Act on Foreigners and certain other acts (Dz. U. [Polish Journal of Laws] item 2023).

[ii] Regulation of the Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Technology of 20th November 2020, amending the regulation on determining cases where commissioning work to foreigners on the territory of the Republic of Poland is permitted without work permit (Dz. U. [Polish Journal of Laws] item 2081).

[iii] Visas issued for the purpose indicated in Article 60, Section 1, Item 23 of the Act of 12th December 2013 on Foreigners (Dz. U. [Polish Journal of Laws] of 2020, items 35 and 2023), i.e. visas issued for humanitarian admission, due to the national interest or international obligations.

[iv] Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) (EU Official Journal L 243 of 15.09.2009, p. 1, as amended) amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/1155 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 amending Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code).