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How to get a work permit in Poland
DISCLAIMER: The following post is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to get a work permit in Poland. Its intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process and what kinds of documents are expected. Beginning the process, get a current, Polish version of this form and go over it with a Polish speaker who is willing to help you. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article or may have been inaccurately characterized in it. I invite all constructive input you may have on how to make this article more accurate and useful.
What’s a work permit?
Technically, there is no document called a "work permit". Instead a company wanting to employ a foreigner must obtain a "pledge for work permission", which is described how to do below. The foreigner then submits this document along with their visa or residency card application, allowing them to receive a work visa or a residency card with an annotation entitles them to work legally. For the purpose of simplicity, the "pledge for work permission" will be referred to as a work permit. In Poland, the work permit is very restrictive to the foreigner and employer alike. It is linked to one employee and one employer, it cannot be shared. This means that if a foreigner gets a work permit in Poland, he or she can only work for the company that the work permit specifies. If the foreigner wants to change employers or work at more than one job, a work permit must be obtained for each employer interested in hiring the foreigner.
Who gets the work permit?
There is some bureaucracy involved in obtaining a work permit, although the process has been simplified in recent years. The work permit requests specific information from the employer, so the employer must apply for the work permit, not the employee. As a result, very often companies avoid hiring foreigners legally simply because they don't want to be bothered with all the paperwork.
A foreigner finding themselves in a situation where their employer does not seem eager to obtain a work permit has a few options:
- they may examine the information below and decide to take matters into their own hands and take care of as much of the process as possible, boiling down the process to simply signing a paper or going to an office, or
- they may want to start their own company and become a freelancer. In the case of language teachers, companies welcome working with self-employed teachers because they do not have to seek a work permit for them and an invoice is preferred to an employment contract. The foreigner benefits as well because they seek their own work permit and they need to do so only once, no matter how many places the foreigner works.
How do I get a work permit?
Who: future employer Where: Urząd Wojewódzki (Voivoidship Office) pre-requisite: none Wait time: 14 days Cost: 100 zł What you’ll need:
- filled out application form (sample)
- information on the foreigner
- company information
- current criminal record report of the company from KRD
- document confirming the legal status of the company
- photocopy of passport
- copy of information the company's income or loses from the previous year
- information on company's employment (number of workers, etc.)
- proof of payment of fee
- document from the local unemployment office stating that there are no qualified workers who may take up this position which the foreigner is to fill*
- document demonstrating that the foreigner is qualified to fill the position they will be hired for
The Next Step
After the future employer has submitted all the documentation and waited the 14 days, they will receive the work permit At this point, the foreigner has two options:
- if they are in their home country, they may apply for a visa by going to the nearest Polish embassy or consulate, or
- if they are already in Poland, they may apply for a residency card at the local voidvodship office.
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