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Do students have a right to work in Poland?

Full-time students, regardless of whether they have a temporary residence permit or a visa, can work on Polish territory without having to obtain a work permit during the validity of their residence permit (visa or card).

The regulations do not give students of part-time studies (evening, extramural) the above rights. Therefore, if a foreign student is a part-time student in order for him to be able to work in Poland, his future employer will be required to obtain a work permit or register a declaration of intention to entust a work to a foreigner (if the foreigner is a citizen of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation or Ukraine) regardless of whether the foreigner has a visa or a residence card issued due to studying in Poland.

What is a declaration of intention to entrust a job to a foreigner?

More information on declaration of intention to entrust a job to a foreigner is available here ->

How to check if an employer exists?

Employer data can be checked in the REGON database (www.stat.gov.pl/regon/) or the KRS National Court Register database (www.krs-online.com.pl). If the employing entity is a Polish temporary employment agency, data can be found in the National Register of Employment Agencies (www.kraz.praca.gov.pl).

What documents confirm the fact of performing work if the employer is at fault for me not having a signed labour contract?

A labour contract is to be concluded in writing. If an employment contract has not been concluded in writing prior to the start of work, the employer must  - not later than on the day of commencement of work by the employee  - confirm in writing the details concerning the type of contract and its terms and conditions.

In the case a contract has been signed but has not been given to the employee, the employee may apply to a court to prove the existence of an employment relationship, or to prove that the employee actually has worked at a particular place of employment. Relevant evidence may be such documents as working documents signed by the employee, e-mails sent from a workplace inbox, phone calls, witness statements, etc.

In the case of an employer not signing a contract and not paying wages, you can pursue the matter in court and also by contacting the district labour inspector. District labour inspectors do not deal with complaints arising out of civil law contracts, however. Such complaints can be dealt with only by courts.

Contact details for District Labour Inspectorates are available here ->
The National Labour Inspectorate offers free advice on labour law issues - telephone numbers are available here ->

Can I work in Denmark in the branch office of the same employer for whom I hold a work permit in Poland?

No, this is not possible. A work permit issued in Poland entitles you to work only on Polish territory. If a foreigner wants to work in Denmark, he or she must apply for a work permit in Denmark.

Does a foreigner who arrives in Poland from a country from outside the European Union via visa-free traffic have the right to work in Poland?

No. Citizens of countries from outside the European Union who are exempted from the visa obligation may stay in Poland for up to 3 months only for tourist purposes. This does not apply to an entry for permanent residence in order to take up work or other gainful activity. A visa is required in the case of a stay exceeding three months or entry to obtain paid employment within Poland.

What to do if an employer fails to pay wages?

If a foreigner is employed on the basis of a labour contract and the employer fails to pay wages, he can file a complaint with the Chief Labour Inspectorate and/or with a labour court.

A foreigner working in Poland on the basis of civil law contracts (a contract of mandate or a contract for a specific task) can only submit a complaint to a labour court. When a person working on the basis of a civil law contract in fact has a de facto employment relationship (i.e. the work is performed in a place and time determined by the employer and under his direction), it is possible to file a lawsuit in a labour court to ascertain the employment relationship.

More information on employees' rights is available here ->

I employ a foreigner who has a work permit in Poland. I would like to delegate him to a branch office abroad. Does he need to have a work permit in the country to which he is delegated?

As a rule, yes. A work permit issued in Poland authorizes a foreigner to work only in Poland. If a foreigner is to perform work in another country (even if it is a branch office of the Polish employer), he must have a work permit in that country. Some countries, however, allow delegated workers to perform work without the need for a work permit for a period not exceeding 30 days (as is the case in Poland). In any case, prior to delegating an employee it is advisable to seek information in the country to which he is to be delegated.

I work in Poland on the basis of a declaration of intent to employ a foreigner. What do I do if I want to work longer than six months?

If an employer is interested in employing a foreigner for a period exceeding 6 months, after 3 months of work performed by the foreigner he may apply for a work permit. A work permit in this case is issued following a simplified procedure (a labor market test is not required). More information about work permits is available here->

I am an Ukrainian citizen and I have a permit to settle in Poland. Can I take up work in Germany?

A foreigner holding permanent residence in Poland can take up work only in Poland. To be able to work in Germany, a foreigner needs to obtain a work permit in that country.

In almost all EU countries, the first step to getting a work permit is finding an employer. The employer then applies for permission to employ a foreign employee. This permit is then the basis for obtaining a visa with the right to work.

I intend to employ a foreigner who is a national of Morocco and a spouse of a Polish national. The marriage has been concluded in Morocco. What should I do?

The very fact of concluding a marriage with a Polish national, whether in Poland or in Morocco, does not give a foreigner a right to take up employment in Poland. In order to be employed in Poland a foreigner’s stay in Poland should be legal and he should have a work permit.

In principle, a foreigner who is married to a Polish national and holds a temporary residence permit in Poland, which has been granted on account of the marriage with a Polish national, is exempted from the obligation of having a work permit. If the sole grounds for the issuance of the permit were the marriage with a Polish national, then such a foreigner is exempted from the obligation of having a work permit and may be employed based on the same principles as a Polish national.

In the event a foreigner has a temporary residence permit issued on other grounds than those of marriage, he may need a work permit. The grounds for issuance of a residence permit are indicated in a positive decision of the Voivode issued to a foreigner prior to the issuance of a residence card (the decision cites the relevant provisions of the Foreigners Act).

Do foreigners from non-EU Member States need a work permit in order to participate in internship or training programmes at Polish companies?

In general, if the internship or training in which you want to participate is paid (i.e. if you should receive any remuneration in return for participating in it), you need to obtain a work permit. Participation in an unpaid training or internship programme does not require a work permit.

If you are a full-time student and you are legally residing in Poland, you can participate in paid internships or apprenticeships without a work permit.

Do I need a work permit if I have a temporary residence card as a full-time student of a Polish university? Can I work based on a labour contract?

If you have a temporary residence permit for a fixed period that was issued on the basis of your enrolment in a full-time course of study in Poland, then you may work without a work permit throughout the validity period of your residence permit. This means that your future employer may employ you on the same terms that apply to Polish citizens. The employer also has to sign a contract with you. Such a contract may be a labour contract but also a contract of mandate or a contract of commission. In the case of labour and mandate contracts, your employer is obliged to register you at the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) within 7 days of the moment of commencement of the performance of work. In the case of employment under a labour contract the employer should also comply with the provisions of labour law, including the time of work (e.g., as a rule, the time of work should not exceed 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week on the average), and the minimum wage – in 2018 it is PLN 2100 gross for full-time employment.