Accounting

Relocation to Poland

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Relocation to Poland Program — Poland Business Harbor

Poland. Business Harbor (PBH) is a governmental program, a comprehensive package that helps IT professionals, startups and small, medium and large companies to relocate to the territory of the Republic of Poland.

For whom?

PBH initially was addressed to Belarusian companies and citizens in order to provide support in the difficult political situation in which their country turned out in 2020. The aim was to provide a safe refuge and a chance for the development of the hitherto thriving Belarusian IT industry, which, however, is particularly vulnerable to persecution. In 2021, after the great success of this program, it was additionally extended to Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia. Staring from 2022 program covered also Azerbaijan.

Poland Business Harbor Visa

As part of the program, a special type of visa has been created, which allows a specialist to work in Poland without the need to obtain a work permit in Poland and even to set up a business in any form, including a sole proprietorship. Specialist’s family members (spouse and children) can also obtain the same visa on the same conditions. For the years 2020-2021, 24,258 such visas have already been issued.

Advantages of Poland Business Harbor Visa

The advantages of the PBH visa:

  • priority processing of the visa application,
  • applied to the largest group of foreigners in Poland (the citizens of 7 former USSR-member countries),
  • the foreigner can commence the work or business activity straight after crossing the Polish border,
  • visa can be issued for foreigner’s family members,
  • visa has 1 year validity period.

Relocation program for startups

New startups can apply for funding under the program up to a maximum amount of PLN 300,000. So far, over a thousand applications have been submitted under the program, several dozen of them have been provided with relocation to Poland, financial support and access to the Polish acceleration ecosystem.

Relocation program for companies

Every small, medium and large company can move its activities to Poland by joining PBH program. They can count on a business consierge service, i.e. comprehensive assistance and advisory in transferring businesses or investment issues. 

Poland Business Harbor Procedure:

1. Joining Poland Business Harbor Program

Joining the PBH program allows the foreign company (employer)  to transfer its employees to Poland based on simplified visa procedure (PBH visa). The member of PBH program, entered on the PBH Partners List will be able to issue invitations to specialists who meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • has a document confirming technical education (ICT), or
  • has a document confirming min. 1 year of experience in the information / communication technology industry.

In order to join the PBH program the company has to:

  • complete the online questionnaire on GovTech Polska website,
  • create a contact point (phone no. and e-mail) and designate a contact person in HR matters.

After processing the questionnaire, the authority will enter the entity to the PBH Partners List.

2. Obtaining Poland Business Harbor Visa

Foreigner (employee of a foreign company), in order to obtain a PBH visa, must apply to the competent consulate in the country of his residence and submit, among other documents:

  • invitation of the PBH Partner company,
  • one of the following documents:
    • document confirming technical education (ICT), or
    • document confirming min. 1 year of experience in the information / communication technology industry.

PBH visas are only available to citizens of 7 former USSR countries: Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia and Azerbaijan.

3. Staying and working in Poland legally

After obtaining a PBH visa, a foreigner-employee may cross the border and enter Poland. He/she can commence work or start business activity straight after the border is crossed.

In order to stay in Poland after the visa expiration, foreigner have to apply for a residence permit. In that case further stay in Poland treated as legal until the decision on residence permit is issued. Otherwise, foreigner has to leave Poland at least on the last day of visa validity. Foreigner can repeat the process of obtaining a visa later abroad.

In order to extend right to work after PBH visa expiration, but before the decision on residence permit is issued, the employer can timely apply for a declaration on entrust work to a foreigner.

 

Declaration procedure

1. Registartion of declaration 

The declaration on entrust work to a foreigner (hereinafter - declaration) is a simplified way to relocate and entrust work to foreigners in Poland available to citizens of 6 countries:

  • Ukraine,
  • Russia,
  • Belarus,
  • Moldova,
  • Georgia and
  • Armenia.

Advantages of declaration procedure

The advantages of the declaration procedure:

  • simple, cheap (PLN 30) and fast (up to 7 working days) procedure,
  • applied to the largest group of foreigners in Poland (the citizens of 6 former USSR-member countries),
  • the foreigner can commence the work straight after the Employer’s declaration is registered by the authority,
  • can be settled by the employer or a proxy while a foreigner is abroad,
  • foreigner can obtain a working visa valid up to 1 year based on a declaration.

Required documents

The employer or its proxy files the following documents to the local labor authority (powiatowy urząd pracy) competent for the employer’s seat:

  • declaration on entrust the work to the foreigner,
  • the statement on a lack of criminal records concerning the employer (signed by the employer),
  • power of attorney - for proxy,
  • foreigner’s passport copy,
  • confirmation of payment for registration in the amount of PLN 30.  

The local authority will register the declaration within 7 working days.  

After the declaration is registered, the employer or its proxy must notify the local authority about the commencement the work by the foreigner within 7 days from the date of work commencement.

2. Obtaining working visa

If the foreigner is abroad, the registered declaration may be a basis for a working visa issuance by the Polish consul. In this case the registered declaration must be sent to the foreigner.

Foreigner, in order to obtain a working visa, must apply to the competent consulate in the country of his residence and submit, among other documents, registered declaration on entrust work to a foreigner.

Based on a working visa and registered declaration foreigner will be able to cross the Polish border.

3. Staying and working in Poland

The employment contract or contract of mandate with the employee must be concluded only in accordance to the conditions mentioned in the declaration. The contract can be concluded before or after the declaration is registered, but it is advised to do it after the declaration registration to make sure that foreigner will be able to commence the work as planned. 

The registered declaration itself doesn’t allow the foreigner to stay in Poland. A foreigner, while in Poland, should take care of obtaining and maintaining an appropriate legal title to continue his/her stay in Poland after working visa is expired (e.g. residence permit).

The registered declaration allows foreigner to work in Poland under the conditions indicated in the declaration for up to 2 years in Poland without having to obtain a work permit, provided that the foreigner has a legal title to stay in Poland, e.g. valid passport with visa (except visa issued for tourism purpose or to visit family or friends), visa-free travel, residence permit.

Additional facility 

The foreigners being employed based on a registered declaration of entrust work for a period of not less than 3 months can work legally even after the expiration of registered declaration, provided that:

  • they worked constantly during this period, for the same employer and on the same position and on the same or better conditions indicated in the declaration, and
  • the foreigner submitted the application for a residence and work permit before the declaration is expired, and
  • the application or documents attached to it do not contain any formal defect or these defects were completed on time.

Work permit procedure

1. Obtaining work permit in Poland

A work permit is granted for the period over 3 months up to 3 years by regional authority (wojewoda) competent for employer’s seat or place of residence. New companies in Poland, that were registered less than 1 year ago can only obtain work permit valid for maximum 1 year.

As in the case of registration of the declaration, the work permit should be obtained by the employee and it is employer who is the party to the proceedings.

The list of the documents to be filed in order to obtain a work permit:

  • The application form for granting a work permit,
  • Confirmation of payment of PLN 100 for permit issuance,
  • Employer’s ID (for natural person) or excerpt from KRS (for legal person),
  • Copy of foreigner’s passport,
  • Certificate on Labor Market Test (see page 14) or documents confirming the possibility to use exemption from the Labor Market Test (most IT specialists are exempted),
  • Documents confirming foreigner’s job qualifications (if provided by the law).

In practice, the procedure of issuing a work permit takes 3-5 months. Such a long period is explained by a large inflow of foreigners from former USSR countries, primarily from Ukraine. 

2. Obtain working visa in Poland

If the foreigner is abroad, the work may be a basis for a working visa issuance by the Polish consul. In this case the work permit must be sent to the foreigner. Maximum period of validity of working visa is 1 year.

Foreigner, in order to obtain a working visa, must apply to the competent consulate in the country of his residence and submit, among other documents, a work permit.

Based on a working visa and work permit foreigner will be able to cross the Polish border.

3. Staying and working in Poland 

The employment contract or contract of mandate with the employee must be concluded only in accordance with the conditions mentioned in the work permit. The contract can be concluded before or after the work permit is issued, but it is advised to do it after the issuance to make sure that foreigner will be able to commence the work as planned. 

The work permit itself doesn’t allow the foreigner to stay in Poland. A foreigner, while in Poland, should take care of obtaining and maintaining an appropriate legal title to continue his/her stay in Poland after working visa is expired (e.g. residence permit).

In practice, the procedure of issuing a work permit takes 3-5 months. Such a long period is explained by a large inflow of foreigners from former USSR countries, primarily from Ukraine. 

Work permit exemptions:

A foreigner is entitled to work on the territory of Poland without having to obtain a work permit if he/she (the most common categories are provided below):

  • has a permanent residence permit in Poland,
  • has a long-term resident's EU residence permit in Poland,
  • is a citizen of a member state of the European Union,
  • is a citizen of the European Economic Area, not belonging to the European Union,
  • is a spouse or a descendant of a Polish citizen or foreigner mentioned above and possesses a temporary residence permit on the territory of Poland,
  • has a valid Polish Card (Karta Polaka),
  • is entitled to reside and work in the territory of a Member State of the European Union or a European Economic Area not belonging to the European Union or Swiss Confederation who is employed by an employer established in the territory of that country and temporarily posted by that employer to provide services on the territory of Poland,
  • is a citizen of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation or Ukraine, who performs work other than seasonal for a period not longer than 6 months in the next 12 months, if the local labor authority prior to commencement of work by a foreigner has entered a statement on entrusting work to a foreigner in the record of statements, and the work is performed on the terms specified in this statement,
  • is a student of full-time studies in Poland or participants of full-time PhD studies in Poland,
  • graduated of Polish upper secondary schools, full-time studies or full-time PhD studies at Polish universities, at scientific institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences or research institutes operating on the basis of provisions on research institutes,
  • delegated to the territory of Poland by a foreign employer, and keep his/her permanent residence abroad, for a period not exceeding 3 months in a calendar year, in order to:
  • the receipt of ordered equipment, machines, other equipment or parts, made by a Polish entrepreneur,
  • performing assembly, maintenance or repair works, delivered technologically complete equipment, constructions, machines or other equipment if the foreign employer is their producer,
  • training of employees of a Polish employer who is the recipient of devices, constructions, machines or other equipment referred to in point a, in terms of its use or use,
  • assembly and disassembly of trade fair stands, as well as care for them, if the exhibitor is a foreign employer who delegates them for this purposes.
  • holding Poland.Business Harbour visa,
  • other categories of foreigners provided by the legal regulations.

The foreigner exempted from the obligation of obtaining work permit still obliged to ensure the legality of his/her residence in Poland. 

The employer can not allow to work a foreigner whose stay in Poland is not legal (e.g. lack of valid visa of residence permit or exceeded the free-visa period).

Labor Market Test

The labor market test is a procedure for obtaining information on the situation on the local labor market, confirming the lack of possibility to employ a Polish citizen to a given position. This means that a foreigner may obtain a work permit allowing him/her to work for an employer only if there are no candidates among Polish citizens registered in the local labor authority (powiatowy urząd pracy), that can meet the employer's requirements.

  1. the employer submits a job offer at a local labor authority competent for a employer’s seat or residence address, 
  2. the local labor authority conducts an analysis of unemployed and jobseekers registers,
  3. if it turns out that the registers contain an appropriate number of people who meet the employer’s requirements (qualifications, skills, salary expectations etc.) according to the submitted job offer, the local labor authority issues a positive certificate on Labor Market Test, which means that the employer cannot offer the same job to the foreigner. Otherwise, the certificate will be negative,
  4. the certificate is passed to the employer.

The local labor authority issues a certificate within 14 days from the date of submitting a job offer in a local labor authority office.

The Labor Market Test is free of charge.

Foreigners exempted from labour market test 

The certificate on Labor Market Test is not needed in following cases:

  1. the employer applies for an extension of the work permit for the same foreigner and in the same position,
  2. a citizen of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, performing nursing and caring work or as domestic help for individuals in the household,
  3. a citizen of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia who performed work for the same period of at least 3 months in the period immediately preceding the submission of the application for a same employer on the basis of a declaration of intention to entrust work,
  4. the foreigner straight before the application for a temporary residence and work permit filing had a work permit or uniform residence and work permit and worked for the same employer in the same position,
  5. the foreigner is exempted from the obligation of obtaining a work permit (please see page 13),
  6. the foreigner will work on the following position: 
    • doctors and nurses,
    • some categories of engineers (concrete, glass technologies, electrical, for Industry and production),
    • the most of IT specialists,
    • some categories of builders and craftsmen,
    • carers of elderly persons,
    • bus and truck drivers,
    • others.
  7. the foreigner will work on the position included in the list approved by the regulation of regional authority (wojewoda). For example, for Wielkopolska region the list consists the following professions:
    • some categories of cooks,
    • some categories of builders and craftsmen,
    • furniture carpenters,
    • warehouse workers,
    • kitchen help,
    • manual packers,
    • some others.

Michał Dudkowiak

Lawyer

Michał Dudkowiak

Barrister, Managing Partner

Michał Dudkowiak
Denis Ushakov

Lawyer

Denis Ushakov

Counsel Lawyer

Denis Ushakov