I want to work in Poland

Information for foreigners interested in performing work in Poland

Performance of work according with the law is very important, both from the point of view of the foreigner and the entity delegating work performance to them. A foreigner performing work not in line with the legal provisions is exposed to a pecuniary penalty in the amount not lower than PLN 1000 and issuing a decision obliging them to return. The entity delegating illegal work to a foreigner may be held responsible for an offence or crime.

A foreigner coming to Poland in order to perform work should ensure their stay is legal. On the other hand, the employer of a foreigner shall obtain documents entitling the foreigner to perform work in Poland and conditioning issuing a visa to them or a temporary residence permit for that purpose. The employer also has the obligation to store copies of documents confirming legal stay of the foreigner in Poland.

As a rule, foreigners can be entitled perform work in Poland if they:

  • stay legally and have a work permit, unless not required, or
  • have temporary residence and work permit or a temporary residence permit in order to perform work in a profession requiring high qualifications.

Note: A foreigner cannot perform work in Poland, if staying on the basis of:

  • a visa issued for the purpose of tourism, arrival for humanitarian reasons, due to interest of a state or international responsibilities;
  • a permit for temporary stay granted on the basis of Article 181, passage 1 of the Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners, i.e., owing to the circumstances requiring a short-term stay of a foreigner on the territory of Poland.

The obligation to obtain a work permit for a foreigner

A work permit is a decision of the competent authority entitling a foreigner staying in Poland legally to work under the conditions specified in the content of the permit. The document is issued at the request of the entity delegating work performance to a foreigner by the competent Voivode due to his place of business or place of domicile.

A work permit in Poland is not required including when the foreigner:

  • has the status of a family member of a EU/EEA/Switzerland citizen,
  • is a recipient of international protection in Poland (has the status of a refugee, or is a recipient of subsidiary protection),
  • has a permanent residence permit in the Republic of Poland,
  • has a residence permit for EU long-term resident in the Republic of Poland,
  • has a residence permit for humanitarian reasons,
  • has a permit for a tolerated stay in the Republic of Poland,
  • is a spouse of a Polish citizen with a temporary residence permit on the territory of the Republic of Poland given as a result of marriage,
  • has a temporary residence permit in order to join the family,
  • permit for residence of in order to receive higher education,
  • has a valid Pole Card,
  • is a graduate from a Polish upper-secondary school, full-time studies or full-time doctoral courses at Polish universities/colleges.

Citizens of 6 states – Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and Moldova also constitute an important group of exceptions and benefit from an easier access to the Polish labour market. Throughout the period of 6 months within subsequent 12 months they may work without the need of obtaining a work permit, provided that they have a written statement of an employer registered at the competent district labour office and a written contract. When the employer wants to hire a foreigner for a longer period of time, they need to have a work permit or a temporary stay and work permit or a temporary stay permit for the purpose of work in profession requiring high qualifications. If a foreigner worked for a given employer in connection with a registered statement, the employer may apply for a work permit (on the same post) in simplified mode (without the need to obtain information from the Staroste about the possibility to satisfy the HR needs based on local labour market).

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Visa for the purpose of work

In order to obtain a visa for the purpose of work a foreigner should supply the visa application with a work permit or the employer’s written statement on the intention of delegating work to the foreigner, if a work permit is not required. These documents are obtained by the entity wishing to employ foreigners.

One temporary residence and work permit

Foreigners staying in Poland legally, whose purpose of residence is work, can apply for a temporary residence and work permit or a temporary residence permit for the purpose of work in profession requiring high qualifications.

Information on employment of foreigners is available, for example, on the website of the public employment services vortal.

These permits are issued by the Staroste in the so-called procedure of one application, resulting in issuing of one document authorizing the foreigner both to stay and work in Poland, without the need of having additional work permit. As a rule, the application for these permits must be supplemented with information from the Staroste on the lack of possibility of satisfying the HR needs based on the local labour market, which is obtained in the District Labour Office by the foreigner’s employer.