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Poland – Work Permits and Working Legally

Working Legally in Poland

Poland has become an increasingly popular destination for expats seeking employment opportunities in Europe. However, before embarking on a career in Poland, it’s essential to understand the legal requirements for working in the country. One crucial aspect of working legally in Poland is obtaining a work permit. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the necessity of work permits for expats, who must make the application, types of work permits, eligibility criteria, application procedures, required documents, costs involved, and reliable sources of information for expats.

Necessity of a Work Permit in Poland

Yes, it is generally necessary for expats to obtain a work permit in Poland to work legally. Poland, like many other countries, has specific regulations in place to ensure that foreign workers have the legal right to work within its borders. However, there are certain exemptions and categories of foreign workers who may not require a work permit to work legally in Poland.

Who Applies for a Work Permit

Typically, the responsibility for applying for a work permit in Poland falls on the shoulders of the employer who wishes to hire an expat worker. It is the employer who must initiate the application process and meet the necessary requirements to secure a work permit for their prospective employee. This means that as an expat, you do not directly apply for your work permit; instead, your prospective employer should take care of this process on your behalf.

Employers in Poland must demonstrate that they have a legitimate need for hiring a foreign worker, and they must follow the established procedures to obtain the necessary permits. This includes proving that there are no suitable Polish candidates available for the position and that the foreign worker will receive fair treatment and compensation in line with local standards.


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While most expat workers will require a work permit to legally work in Poland, there are a few exemptions to this rule:

  • European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens do not need work permits to work in Poland. They enjoy the freedom of movement within the EU/EEA and have the right to work in Poland without restrictions.
  • Spouses and children of EU/EEA citizens who reside in Poland also do not require work permits.
  • Foreigners who have been granted refugee status in Poland may work without a work permit.
  • Foreigners holding a temporary residence permit based on family reunification with a Polish citizen may work without a work permit.

It’s important to note that even when exempt from obtaining a work permit, expats in Poland must still meet other legal requirements, such as registering their stay with the appropriate authorities and obtaining the necessary residence permits, if applicable.

Types of Work Permits for Expats in Poland

Poland offers several types of work permits for expats, each designed to cater to different categories of foreign workers. The type of permit you may be eligible for depends on your specific circumstances and the nature of your employment in Poland. Here are the primary types of work permits:

Type A Work Permit

A Type A work permit is designed for foreigners who are employed by a Polish employer for a specific job or task that lasts up to 6 months. It is typically granted for temporary or short-term employment. To be eligible for this type of permit, the employer must demonstrate the need for a foreign worker and that no suitable Polish candidates are available for the position.

Type B Work Permit

A Type B work permit is intended for expats who are employed in Poland for a period exceeding 6 months. It is valid for up to 3 years and can be extended if needed. To obtain a Type B permit, the employer must show that there is a long-term demand for the foreign worker’s skills and that they will receive fair treatment and compensation.

Type C Work Permit

A Type C work permit is granted to highly skilled professionals, including managers, specialists, and scientists. This permit allows for unlimited employment in Poland and is typically valid for an indefinite period. To be eligible for a Type C permit, the applicant must meet specific qualifications and prove their expertise in their field.

EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is a special work permit designed for highly qualified non-EU/EEA workers. To qualify for the EU Blue Card, applicants must have a higher education degree and an employment contract or binding job offer in Poland with a minimum salary requirement. This permit allows for easier mobility within the EU and can eventually lead to permanent residence in Poland.

Procedure to Apply for a Work Permit in Poland and Processing Time

The process of applying for a work permit in Poland involves several steps, and it’s crucial for both the employer and the expat employee to be aware of these procedures. Here’s an overview of the typical steps involved:

  1. The employer initiates the application process by submitting a request for a work permit to the local voivode office or a relevant district labor office in Poland.
  2. The employer must provide necessary documents, such as a copy of the employment contract, a statement explaining the need for hiring a foreign worker, and proof of efforts to hire locally.
  3. The voivode office reviews the application and verifies its compliance with legal requirements. The processing time may vary but generally takes several weeks.
  4. If the application is approved, the voivode office issues a work permit. The permit’s validity depends on the type of permit requested.
  5. The expat employee applies for a visa or residence permit at a Polish consulate or embassy in their home country, using the work permit as one of the required documents for the visa/residence permit application.
  6. Once in Poland, the expat employee registers their stay with the local authorities and obtains a residence card, if applicable.

The processing time for a work permit application in Poland may vary depending on the workload of the local voivode office and the completeness of the application. Typically, it can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months to receive a work permit. It’s advisable to begin the application process well in advance of the intended employment start date to ensure a smooth transition.

Documents Required for a Work Permit Application in Poland

When applying for a work permit in Poland, both the employer and the expat employee must provide a set of documents to support the application. These documents are essential to demonstrate the legitimacy of the employment and the need for hiring a foreign worker. Here are some of the key documents typically required:

  • Copy of the employment contract between the employer and the expat employee.
  • Statement from the employer explaining the reasons for hiring a foreign worker and detailing their efforts to hire locally.
  • Proof of the expat employee’s qualifications and skills, such as diplomas, certificates, or professional licenses.
  • Copy of the expat employee’s valid passport or other travel documents.
  • Confirmation of payment for the work permit application fee.
  • Additional documents may be required depending on the specific type of work permit being applied for.

It’s essential to ensure that all required documents are complete and accurate, as incomplete or incorrect submissions can lead to delays or even the rejection of the application.

Costs Involved in Applying for a Work Permit in Poland

Applying for a work permit in Poland comes with certain costs, both for the employer and the expat employee. These costs can vary depending on the type of permit and other factors. Here are some of the typical expenses associated with obtaining a work permit:

  • Work permit application fee: The fee for submitting a work permit application varies depending on the type of permit and may range from several hundred to over a thousand Polish zlotys (PLN).
  • Legalization and translation costs: Expats may need to have their documents legalized and translated into Polish, incurring additional expenses.
  • Visa or residence permit fees: Expats who require a visa or residence permit to enter and stay in Poland must pay the associated fees at a Polish consulate or embassy in their home country.
  • Additional costs: Depending on the circumstances, there may be other costs, such as fees for medical examinations or insurance.

It’s essential for both the employer and the expat employee to budget for these expenses when planning to work legally in Poland. Being aware of the costs involved can help avoid any financial surprises during the application process.

Reliable Information on Working Legally in Poland

For expats considering employment in Poland, accessing reliable information on the legal requirements and procedures is crucial. Here are some reliable sources and websites that provide valuable information on working legally in Poland:

1. Polish Government’s Official Website: The official website of the Polish government offers comprehensive information on the procedure for employing foreigners in Poland, including work permits, residence permits, and relevant forms.

2. Polish National Labour Inspectorate: The Polish National Labour Inspectorate provides guidance on labor laws and regulations in Poland, including information on hiring foreign workers and work permits.

3. Migrant Info Point: This website offers information and resources for migrants and expats in Poland, covering various aspects of living and working in the country, including legal requirements for employment.

4. Expat.com – Work in Poland: Expat.com provides a guide to working in Poland, with insights into the job market, work permits, and practical advice for expats.

5. Just Landed – Poland: Just Landed offers an expat guide to Poland, including information on work permits, visas, and other essential topics for expats.

These sources can serve as valuable references for expats seeking up-to-date and reliable information on working legally in Poland. It’s essential to stay informed and consult official sources when navigating the legal requirements and procedures for employment in the country.

In conclusion, working legally in Poland as an expat generally requires obtaining a work permit, except in certain exempted cases. The responsibility for the work permit application lies with the employer, who must demonstrate the need for hiring a foreign worker. Poland offers different types of work permits to cater to various categories of expat workers, each with its eligibility criteria and validity periods. The application process involves several steps, including the submission of specific documents, and the processing time can vary. Expats should be prepared for the associated costs, including application fees and document-related expenses. To access reliable information on working legally in Poland, expats can refer to official government websites and other reputable sources specializing in migrant and expat resources.