The obligation of the employer to verify the legality of a foreigner stay and work in light of the “Covid Law”
With the entry into force of the Law of 2 March 2020 on specific arrangements relating to the prevention, counteraction and eradication of COVID-19, other communicable diseases and crises situations caused by them and its later amendments (hereinafter referred to as: the Covid Law) the legislator introduced a legal solution regulating the issues related to the work of foreigners on the territory of Poland during an epidemic emergency or epidemic declared in connection with the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
It should be remembered that, according to the Covid Act, if the last day:
- the period of stay of the foreigner on the basis of a national visa or,
- the validity period of a temporary residence permit or,
- the validity of a work permit (including a seasonal work permit and the decision to extend a work permit),
falls during the period of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemics announced in connection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus infections, the period of stay on the basis of a national visa, the period of validity of a national visa, the period of validity of a temporary residence permit and the period of validity of a work permit of foreigner shall be extended by the law until the expiry of the 30th day following the date of cancellation of this state which was in force as a last one (see article 15 zd § 1 and § 2 and article 15zzq § 1 of the Covid Act). The same rule applies to declarations of entrusting work to a foreigner (see article 15zzq § 3 of the Covid Act).
In the context of the current situation in the country and in accordance with the provisions of the Covid Act, employers in particular, should pay attention to the documents of foreigners whose validity has been extended under the provisions of the aforementioned Act, because in the case of cancellation of an epidemic or an epidemic emergency, these documents will be valid only for 30 days from the date of cancellation. This means that employer who misses this deadline and fails to ensure that the foreigner, who is his employee, obtains new documents legalizing his stay and work in Poland, will lose the basis for his legal employment.
Due to the above mentioned, each employer employing foreigners in Poland should carefully follow the regulations adopted in the area related to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to prevent exceeding the aforementioned 30-day period and remind their employees in due time about the need to obtain new documents, because employing foreigners staying in Poland without the appropriate documents and allowing them to work without the required permit, the employer is threatened of, inter alia, criminal responsibility.