Work permitPrint

What is a work permit?

A work permit is a document that authorizes a foreigner to work legally in Poland.

The permit indicates the company that entrusts the execution of work to the foreigner and the position or the type of work which the foreigner is to perform. The work is therefore regarded as legal only if the foreigner performs the work identified in the permit.

This means that if the foreigner wants to change jobs (i.e. change employer and / or position and / or industry) in which he is employed, he has to obtain a new permit. However, there are some circumstances in which the permit remains valid despite a change in the circumstances for which it has been issued.

The permit is valid for the period for which it was issued. The term of validity of the permit is indicated on the document.
A work permit is required both for taking up employment on the basis of an employment contract as well as civil law contracts - more information on contracts is available here -> 

The entity entrusting the foreigner with the execution of work applies for  a work permit for the foreigner – what is an entity entrusting a foreigner with the performance of work? -> In the following sections, the entity entrusting the foreigner with the performance of work is referred to as the "employer".

The permit is issued by the Voivode competent for the seat / place of residence of the employer.

Who requires a work permit in Poland?

A foreigner who is not a nation of an EU Member State is entitled to perform work in the Republic of Poland on the basis of a work permit if he legally resides in Poland on the basis of:

  1. a visa (exceptions to this principle apply– they are discussed here -> );
  2. a Schengen visa or another residence document issued by another Schengen Area member state;
  3. a temporary residence permit (exceptions to this principle apply and are listed below);
  4. on the basis of visa-free travel if the provisions of an agreement concerning visa-free travel foresee the performance of work by foreigners (nationals of which counties can enter Polish territory under visa-free travel arrangements?->).

Who may work in Poland without a work permit?

A foreigner entitled to work in Poland without a work permit is a person who: 

  1. has refugee status granted to them in the Republic of Poland;;
  2. has received subsidiary protection in the Republic of Poland;
  3. possesses a permanent residence permit issued by the Republic of Poland
  4. holds  an EU long-term resident permit issued in the Republic of Poland or in special cases issued in another EU country 
  5. has been granted tolerated stay in the Republic of Poland;
  6. benefits from temporary protection in Poland;
  7. benefits from humanitarian protection in Poland;
  8. is a national  of a European Union Member State or of a member state of the EEA or a family member of such national;
  9. is a victim of human trafficking (assuming the fufilment of additional requirements) – more information on this subject is available here ->
  10.  has a temporary residence permit or any other legal document that allows for residence in Poland acquired in conjunction with a marriage to a Polish citizen or a foreigner holding refugee status, a person benefiting from supplementary protection,  possessing a permanent residence permit or a long term EU-resident permit, permit for tolerated stay or temporary protection granted to him in Poland;
  11. whose family situation (death or divorce with a spouse who was an EU citizen) has retained the right to stay in Poland on the basis of a residence permit;
  12. who has submitted an application in a timely manner for extension of a temporary residence permit, if he was entitled to take up employment without a work permit immediately before the submission of the application;
  13. has a valid Pole's Card - what is a Pole's Card? - >
  14. is providing training or taking part in vocational training and internships, or participates in a scheme carried out within the framework of European Union programmes or another international aid scheme;
  15. is a foreign language teacher;
  16. performs artistic or scientific activity for up to 30 days a year;
  17. is a student of full-time tertiary studies inPoland studying on the basis of a visa - what are full-time studies? ->
  18. is a student of full-time studies in Poland studying on the basis of a residence permit issued for the purpose of continuing tertiary education in Poland for the full year;
  19. is a graduate of Polish secondary schools, or has completed full time studies (tertiary education), or full-time doctoral studies at Polish universities and scientific and research institutions;
  20. is entitled on the basis of the Association Agreement between the European Economic Community and Turkey;
  21. belongs to other groups (foreign language teachers who are delegated to work in cultural institutions, members of the armed forces, permanent correspondents of mass media, athletes, clergymen. 

The above list presents the basic principles related to the right to take up work on Polish territory without a work permit by certain categories and groups of foreigners.

Attention: For more detailed information, contact the competent Voivodship Office!

When is a work permit granted and what are the types of work permits

A work permit is required when a foreigner:

  1. carries out work in the Republic of Poland under an employment contact or a civil law contract with an employer whose seat / residence is on the territory of the Republic of Poland – in this case the foreigner is issued a type A work permit;
  2. in relation to performance of the function of board member of a company if he resides in the Republic of Poland for a total period exceeding 6 months within a period of 12 subsequent months - the foreigner is then issued a type B work permit;
  3. performs work for a foreign employer and is delegated to the territory of the Republic of Poland for a period exceeding 30 days in a calendar year to a branch or plant belonging to the foreign employer – the foreigner is then issued a type C work permit;
  4. performs work for a foreign employer that does not have a branch, plant or other organized form of business activity in the Republic of Poland and is delegated to the Republic of Poland in order to engage in export, i.e. a temporary and occasional service - the foreigner is then issued a type D work permit;
  5. The type E work permit is the rarest, and applies to all situations which do not fall under the provisions for types A-D work permits listed above. 

How to apply for a work permit?

A permit is issued by the Voivode competent for the seat / place of residence of the employer.

Addresses of Voivodship Offices are available here -> 

The employer applies for a work permit for a foreigner.

Documents attached to the application should be submitted in the original or officially certified for compliance with the originals (with the exception of the identity card and passport).
Documents in a foreign language should be translated into Polish by a sworn translator.

During the proceedings the office may invite the applicant, ie. the employer, to provide additional documents or information. Regardless of the type of work permit, the employer must submit: 

  1. application for a work permit for a foreigner  - the application form is available here->
  2. copy of pages of the travel document belonging to the foreigner whom the application concerns with complete personal data,
  3. if other legal provisions require a permit to work in a given profession from an appropriate institution - a copy of documents confirming that the foreigner has met such requirements (for example, regulated professions – what are regulated professions? ->);
  4. copies of documents confirming that the foreigner:
    • in the 3 years preceding submission of the application for a work permit graduated from a school or college with its seat in the Republic of Poland or in another country of the European Economic Area or Swiss Confederation,
    • for 3 years preceding submission of the application for the residence permit issue has stayed legally in the Republic of Poland.

5. copies of documents confirming that the requirements provided for in separate regulations necessary for the application to be processed have been met;

6. If the employer does not submit the application in person - original power of attorney or authorization for the person submitting the application;

7. copy of confirmation of payment of stamp duty for the work permit, containing the following information: 

    • the name and registered seat of the employer;
    • whether the employer is seeking to obtain or extend a work permit, and
    • the name and surname of the foreigner on whose behalf the application for a work permit has been submitted.

 

Other documents that must be submitted in order to obtain a work permit for a foreigner depend on the type of permit the application concerns.

Type A work permit

information from the county commissioner on the results of the labour market test – what is a labour market test? ->

Attention: The amount of remuneration specified in the contract with the foreigner can not be lower than the salaries of other employees performing work of comparable type or in a similar position.

In the case of a foreigner employed under a contract of employment for full-time work, his remuneration shall not be less than the minimum wage - what is the minimum wage? ->

In case an employer intends to employ a foreigner on a basis other than a contract of employment for full-time work, the amount of remuneration:

 - in the case of contracts of employment for part-time work must be proportional to the working hours, or

 - in the case of civil law contracts must be proportional to the expected period of performance of the foreigner’s obligations under the contract - more information on the types of contracts is available here->

Type B work permit

  • in case of legal persons:
    •  copy of a statement on the amount of profit obtained (incurred loss) by the employer as a taxpayer of corporate income tax in the tax year preceding submission of the application  
    • information on the number of persons employed during the year preceding submission of the application–the form is available here ->

For the Voivode to issue a type B work permit, the employer must meet the following conditions:

  1. in the tax year preceding the application it generated an income of no less than 12 times the average monthly wage in a given voivodship in the third quarter of the year preceding the application - information about the specific amount can be obtained from the Voivodship Office;
  2. has employed at least two employees who do not require a work permit (such as Polish citizens) under a full-time contract concluded for an indefinite period for at least 1 year prior to application;
  3. demonstrates possession of resources or performance of activities permitting it to meet the conditions set out in points 1 and 2 in the future, in particular by performing activities which contribute to the growth of investment, technology transfer, introduction of beneficial innovations or job creation.

Attention: in cases justified by the situation on the labor market, the Voivode may limit in a type B work permit the range of tasks performed by the foreigner to management and representation activities.

Type C work permit 

  • a document from an appropriate register confirming the legal status as well as the form and nature of the business operated by a foreign employer (i.e. a foreign equivalent of a National Court Register excerpt);
  • an up-to-date excerpt from the National Court Register or another appropriate register or entry into the register of commercial activity concerning the branch or plant of the foreign entity, its subsidiary or affiliate bound to a foreign employer with a long-term contract of cooperation – what is the National Court Register? ->
  • a letter of delegation issued by the foreign employer, specifying the name and surname of the employee assigned to work in Poland with an indication of his position and place of work in Poland;
  • a copy of a long-term cooperation agreement of the Polish employer with the foreign employer. 

Type D work permit

  • a document from an appropriate register confirming the legal status as well as the form and nature of the business operated by the foreign employer (i.e. a foreign equivalent of the National Court Register excerpt);
  • a letter of delegation issued by the foreign employer, specifying the name and surname of the employee assigned to work in Poland with an indication of his position and place of work in Poland;
  • a copy of a contract pursuant to which a service is provided in the Republic of Poland or an excerpt from such contract which defines the scope of the foreign employer's obligations (if the employer does not want to reveal other conditions of the contract and they are not relevant for the procedure of issuing the work permit) or, if such contract has not been signed yet, a declaration by the foreign employer defining such scope  - a copy of the relevant fragment of the contract must be submitted by the employer promptly after conclusion of such contract in writing;
  • a list of foreigners who are to perform an export service with their full names, passport numbers and job descriptions in Poland;
  • an attachment to the application for a permit concerning the Polish Classification of Activity (PKD) and the number of people employed - what is the Polish Classification of Activity (PKD?) ->

Type E work permit 

  • an attachment to the application for a permit concerning the Polish Classification of Activity (PKD) and the number of people employed - what is the Polish Classification of Activity (PKD?) ->
  • a document from an appropriate register confirming the legal status as well as the form and nature of the buisness run by the foreign employer (i.e. a foreign equivalent of the National Court Register excerpt);

For the Voivode to issue a type C, D or E work permit, the employer must meet the following conditions:

1)      the conditions of employment are no less favorable than under the provisions of the Labour Code and other legislation governing the rights and duties of employees,

2)      the amount of remuneration which shall be paid to foreigners for the performance of work will not be lower than the average monthly wage in the given voivodship by more than 30%, as announced by the Central Statistical Office (this information can be obtained from the Voivodship Office)

3)      the foreign employer has indicated a person staying in Poland in possession of documents proving the fulfillment of the obligations set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 and authorized to represent the employer before the Voivode and other bodies such as the Labour Inspectorate if the period of the foreigner's posting in Poland exceeds 30 days in a calendar year.

In what form is a work permit issued?

A work permit is issued in three copies: one remains in the Voivodship Office, two are transferred to the employer who is required to provide one copy to the foreigner for whom it is issued.

Validity periods of work permits

A work permit is issued for a fixed period of time, however, for not longer than 3 years. In the case of foreigners who perform work as members of boards of companies employing more than 25 people at the time of application for a permit, the Voivode may issue a permit for a period not longer than 5 years. 

Although the law indicates for what period of time a work permit may be granted, the Voivode may shorten the period for which work permits in the voivodship are issued. The validity of the permit to work may therefore vary between voivodships. 

In Mazovia voivodship, type A permits are usually issued for a period of 12 months, and extensions are given for a period not longer than 2 years (exceptions to this rule apply).

When can a work permit be revoked?

In the following situations the Voivode may revoke a work permit:

  1. the circumstances or evidence on whose basis the permit was granted have changed and the Voivode was not informed thereof;
  2. the reason for the work permit to be granted no longer exists (e.g. the employment contract with the foreigner has been terminated, the employer has gone bankrupt);
  3. the Voivode has been notified that the foreigner did not take up work within 3 months of the beginning of the validity of the work permit, or the work was completed earlier than 3 months before the expiration of the work permit without consulting  the employer;
  4. the employer has not fulfilled the obligations incumbent on him related to applying for a work permit for a foreigner and employment of a;
  5.  in the absence of permission/consent from another institution required for the foreigner to be able to perform work in a given profession or position;
  6. the Voivode has been informed that the foreigner is listed in the register of foreigners whose stay on the  territory of Poland is undesirable.

Obligations of the employer in the procedure of legalization of a foreigner’s work in Poland and the consequences of violations

There are several obligations incumbent upon an employer applying for a work permit for a foreigner. These include:

  • informing the foreigner about the steps undertaken to issue a work permit and other events affecting the said procedure;
  • exercising due diligence in conducting the procedure for issuing and extending the validity of the work permit;
  • implementing the conditions of the contract with the foreigner as described in the application for a work permit;
  • the contract should be concluded in writing and translated into a language understandable for the foreigner before being signed;
  • providing 1 copy of the work permit and other documents related to employment to the employee;
  • informing the Voivode about the foreigner not taking up work within 3 months of the date of the beginning of the work permit validity and about the completion of the work earlier than 3 months before the expiration of the work permit.
  • the employer is also responsible for informing the Voivode about any changes in the foreigner’s job description listed on the work permit  - the form for submitting such information is available here  ->

If the employer is found to be in breach of these obligations, he is obliged to take corrective action without delay.

Note: the law provides for penalties for employers not fulfilling the obligations incumbent on them stemming from the procedures related to the employment of foreigners (between 3,000 and 5,000 PLN)!

When can a work permit be refused by the Voivode?

The Voivode shall refuse to issue a work permit if the employer:

  1. submitted false information or used a false document in the application, attested to a falsehood or concealed the truth therein;
  2. has not met the requirements provided for by law for the permit to be issued:
    • a final court verdict has found him guilty of contravention related to illegal foreigner employment or it is a repeat offence
    • has committed a crime against the rights of persons performing remunerated work,
    • has committed crime against the credibility of documents,
    • has committed a crime of human trafficking,

3. the employer has not fulfilled the obligations incumbent on him related to applying for a work permit for a foreigner and foreigner employment,

4.  The employer applied for a work permit for a foreigner who:

    • does not meet the qualification requirements or other requirements in case of a regulated profession – what is a regulated profession? ->
    • in relation  to the procedure for issuing a work permit he/she has been punished for a crime against credibility of documents,
    • in  cases when a foreigner has been included in the register of foreigners whose stay on the territory of Poland is undesirable– more information on the subject is available here -> 

When does a work permit remain valid?

A work permit remains valid:

  1. when the employer has the intention of entrusting the foreigner with performance of work of a different type or in a different position than specified in the work permit for a period not exceeding 30 days in a calendar year,

ATTENTION: A change in position for a period longer than 30 days in a calendar year requires the submission of a new application for a work permit!

  1. in the event of a change in the seat or place of residence or a change in the name or legal form of the employer, as well as its takeover in whole or in part by another employer,
  2. transfer of the employing establishment or a part thereof to another employer, 
  3. change in the person indicated as representing the employer in Poland in possession of documents proving the fulfillment of the obligations set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 and authorized to represent the employer before the Voivode and other bodies such as the Labour Inspectorate, if the period of the foreigner's posting in Poland exceeds 30 days per calendar year.
  4. reduction of working hours stipulated in the contract with the foreigner for a period not longer than 6 months and to not more than half-time, with a proportional reduction in salary;
  5. if the foreigner does not take up work in the first 3 months of the validity of the permit or cannot not perform work for a period of up to 3 months, provided that such a break stems from justified  causes and is agreed with the employer.

In all of the above cases the employer shall immediately notify the Voidode who issued the permit of the changes in writing. The conditions necessary for issuing the work permit must remain fulfilled the form for such notification is available here ->

How to extend a work permit?

The employer applies for an extension of the work permit for the foreign employee. Such an application must be submitted not later than 30 days before the expiry of  the previous work permit. The application form for a work permit extension is available here -> 

The following must be attached to the application for extension of a foreigner's work permit: 

  • documents necessary to obtain a new permit, provided that the circumstances that justified the granting of the previous work permit have changed;
  • proof of payment;
  • the employment contract under which the work was performed during the validity period of the previous permit.

If the employer decides that the foreigner should be promoted, then in order to receive another type A permit the county commissioner's opinion is needed concerning the new position which the foreigner will take up - what is the labour market test? ->

Deadlines

A permit should be issued within 1 month.

In particularly complicated cases it should be issued not later than 2 months from the commencement of the procedure. 

How much does a work permit cost?

PLN 50 - in the case of a permit for up to 3 months
PLN 100 - in the case of a permit for a period longer than 3 months
PLN 200 - in the case of a foreigner delegated to Poland for performing an export service

An application for a work permit extension requires the payment of a fee equivalent to half of the fees given above.

Appeal procedure

The decision may be appealed within 14 days of its receipt via the competent Voivode to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. 

Legal basis

Act of  April 20, 2004 on promotion of employment and labour market institutions (OJ L 2008 No. 69 item. 415, with amendments)

Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of  January 29, 2009 on issuing a work permit for a foreigner (OJ L 2009, No. 16, item. 84); 

Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of August 20, 2011 on cases where foreigners’ work in Poland is permitted without the necessity of obtaining a work permit (OJ L 2011, No 155, item 919);

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