In accordance with the Act of Parliament on Foreigners of 12 December 2013, the Polish authorities have announced the roll out of several changes to the country’s immigration system. Most notable among these changes are the implementation of a single work and residence permit, and several measures aimed at streamlining the overall immigration experiences for foreign nationals.
These changes are effective as of May 1, 2014.
Single Work and Residence Permit
European Parliament and Council’s Directive 2011/98/EU calls for all European Union (EU)-member states to establish a single application procedure for a combined work and residence permit. With their recent changes, Poland joins several EU nations that have implemented this Directive in recent years. Details of this change are as follows:
• Eligible applicants may file their single work and residence permit application with the Provincial Governor’s Office (Urzad Wojewodzki) with jurisdiction over the employee’s place of residence.
• These combined permits will state the basis for which the card was issued to the foreign national (e.g. work based on a local contract, work based on a foreign contract and delegation to Poland, EU Blue Card, university education, accompanying dependent, etc.).
• Foreign nationals over the age of 6-years-old will be required to submit their biometric data in-person during the application filing process.
• The combined permits will be issued valid for a maximum of three years.
In addition to new application procedures, the departure notification requirements have also been slightly modified:
• Foreign nationals will be required to return their Residence Permits within 14 days of its expiration or their final departure from Poland, whichever occurs first.
• Foreign employees working on a local contract must notify the authorities within 15 days if they depart from their job assignment early.
• Employers will be required to notify the authorities within 7 days if any of the following occur:
a. The place of business, legal form, or business ownership changes;
b. The employee does not start work within 3 months of the permit start date;
c. The assignment is suspended or stopped for more than 3 months; and/or
d. The employee completes his/her assignment more than 3 months before the permit expiration.
Measures to Streamline Immigration Procedures for Foreign Nationals
Finally, the Polish authorities have made significant attempts to streamline several immigration procedures for foreign nationals. Included in these changes are,
• Reduction of the time constraints on residence permit and visa renewal applications.
a. Residence permit renewal applications may now be filed up to the last day of legal stay in Poland, rather than the previous 45-day deadline.
b. Visas renewal applications may also be filed up to the last day of legal stay in Poland, rather than the previous 3-day deadline.
• Temporary Residence Permits will now be issued for a maximum validity of three years, rather than the traditional two year maximum. This change aims to reduce the number of renewal applications for foreign nationals.
• Definitive criteria and requirements for business owners establishing entities in Poland to regularize their residence status in Poland have also been established.