Employment & labor law

This is the last moment to legalize residence of British employees in Poland

Brexit, planned on March 30, 2019, triggers questions of Polish employers about the further possibility of legal employment of British citizens. It is estimated that the problem may affect about 6,000 Britons living in Poland.

The exit of Great Britain from the European Union in the context of British status in Poland has been regulated in the draft Act on the Principles of residence in the Republic of Poland of citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and members of their families in connection with the withdrawal of this country from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. As is clear from the content of the draft bill, British citizens who will have the right of residence or the right of permanent residence on the territory of Poland the day before Brexit, i.e. 29 March 2019, will be able to stay and work in Poland for another year. Having a right of residence in the country is equal to having a valid certificate of registration of a citizen’s residence in the European Union or a valid document confirming the right of permanent residence. It should be remembered (and in practice often this obligation seems to be neglected by EU employees) that if the residence of a citizen of a European Union country on the territory of the Republic of Poland lasts longer than 3 months, he / she is obliged to register his / her stay in the competent voivodship office.

Importantly, the right to apply also extends to family members of British citizens, even if they are not British citizens, to spouses and children up to 21 years of age or dependents, as well as dependent parents. After 5 years of uninterrupted stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland, these persons will be able to acquire the right of permanent residence.

So what specific steps should British citizens take to ensure the legality of their residence in Poland after Brexit?

  1. Register of residence at the competent voivodship office until 29 March 2019 – which guarantees the legality of residence for a year, i.e. until 30 March 2020;
  2. During the so-called transitional period, i.e. between March 30, 2019 and March 31, 2020, apply for the legalization of stay by submitting an application for a temporary residence permit (up to 3 years) or permanent residence on preferential terms.

If the stay is not legalized prior to the Brexit date, or if you do not apply for legalization during the transitional period, UK citizens and their family members will probably have to apply for the legalization of residence under the general rules of Foreigners Act and consequently, employment of a British citizen who did not legalize his residence during the transitional period will basically require a work permit, according to the procedure regulated in the Act on employment promotion and labor market institutions.

It should be remembered that Act described above has not yet entered into force and its provisions may change.

Author team leader DKP Legal Alicja Myśluk-Landowska
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