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I would like to start with some positive aspects but the first sentence goes as follows...

Unfortunately, a Polish employer is not willing to employ a foreigner and fulfil all standards of law. They do not have to be and indeed are not bad themselves nor are they a horror of a foreigner. However, complicated legal rules and disproportionately high costs of the employment cause the employers to look for easier ways of documenting all situations that take place in their firms or companies.


How is a foreigner supposed to act when they were employed on an oral contract basis (the law allows also for such a form of employment) by an employer that is not willing to apply for a work permit, submit a declaration, register them for social security, pay obligatory financial contributions to the ZUS (ZUS – ZakładUbezpieczeńSpołecznych, Social Insurance Institution), or pay the income tax? All those matters should be documented and, more importantly, they should require frequent contacts between an employer and some public administration institutions.

Let us step back for a moment: why should employers bother with some complications related to employing foreigners when they have to face almost as many formalities when they want to employ NON-foreigners?

My advice for all foreigners who want to document their employment and residence is to apply the most popular solution – take maximum responsibility for the contact with public administration and accounting services, being aware of the future costs of employment and willing to cover some of them on one’s own.

Below, I provide a practical example.

Ms N. has been working for some family for years: she does the cleaning, she cooks, takes children to school and picks them up. She likes her job and does not complain about her earnings. However, after a few years she learns more about regular employment and the possibility of obtaining permanent residence on the basis of the several years of employment. What is she supposed to do?

- She should find the information about the costs of the regular employment.

- She should find the information about the proceedings and formalities in public institutions.

- She should find the information about the institutions that deal with work permits, social security register, or residence permits, and find local institutions, to which she should apply.

- She should collect all mentioned information and be aware that she can do that on her own, authorized by her employer.

- Only then can Ms N. talk with the family for which she works about her wish to take up regular employment; she can tell them that she is aware of all proceedings and that she can deal with them on her own.

The success in solving the case is guaranteed.

Knowledge about everything that concerns public administration is also an invaluable asset for a foreigner, to their benefit for many years of their residence in Poland.

Should you have any additional questions or need the models of documents, authorizations, or help with filling them in – I offer my help; my e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. While working with foreigners and public administration authorities, I prepared the models of various useful documents and I am willing to share them.

Some important rules concerning applying for a work permit:

  • An application for a work permit should be submitted by an employer or an authorized person (it can be a future employee, a foreigner). The cost of the authorization – no costs. The authorization should be signed by an employer.
  • An employer cannot hire a foreigner if a foreigner does not have a valid work permit that was issued for the firm of the given employer. In accordance with the law, a work permit is now personal, both for an employer and a future employee.
  • The information that is provided in an application for a work permit is essential for the possible future procedure of applying for a temporary or permanent residence permit or a long-term resident status. The employment should strictly follow the criteria that were indicated in the permit, e.g. a post and salary. Note! The salary can be changed for the higher (and not the lower) value. However, it is impossible to change a post!
  • The validity of a work permit can be prolonged for 2 years if an application is submitted at least 30 days before the expiration of a permit.
  • The most popular type of a work permit for foreigners concerns a foreigner that works in Poland and is employed by an employer whose firm is located on the territory of the Republic of Poland.
  • The copies of a foreigner’s and employer’s documents are necessary to submit an application (in some provinces, it is necessary to present the originals of documents). The originals HAVE TO be available for inspection with the application.
  • The originals of the authorization are necessary to submit an application.
  • The documents that are signed by an employer have to be signed in accordance with the form of representation of the company. It is verified with the valid register in the National Court Register (KRS – KrajowyRejestrSądowy) or with another document that confirms the legal status and the nature of the activity.
  • The institution that is responsible for issuing decisions concerning work permits for foreigners is the provincial administration office (UrządWojewódzki) according to the address of a firm or an employer’s place of residence.
  • Obtaining a work permit takes place in two stages:
    a) A labour market test and a consultation with a district employment office (PowiatowyUrządPracy) about the possibility of meeting the requirements of a given job offer (from 7 to 14 days after the submission of an offer).
    b) Obtaining a work permit (3-4 weeks after the submission of an application).
  • In some cases it is possible to obtain a work permit without conducting a labour market test. But this issue will be the topic of the next article, containing examples and the description of all proceedings.

October-November 2014, MarijaJakubowycz

Translation: Alicja Kosim