A draft of amendment to the Employment of Foreigners Act has been published on the website of the Government Legislation Center. The Act specifies the conditions and rules for issuing, refusing and revoking work permits. The law also specifies the procedure for dealing with the above issues and designates the authorities to deal with these matters.

The main purpose of the amendment is to streamline procedures for hiring foreigners, to improve procedures related to their employment and to fully electronify these procedures.

1. Electronization of proceedings

The first important change will be the full electronification of the proceedings for issuing a work permit, as well as the proceedings on the statement on the assignment of work to a foreigner. The electronification will be combined with the expansion of the ICT system, which should significantly relieve the staff of labor offices.

As a result, authorities carrying out inspections of the legality of work and residence of foreigners will be able to obtain all the data needed to carry out inspections much faster, which will streamline inspection proceedings. These authorities will also be able to more effectively enforce bans on the issuance of work permits for foreigners to entities punished for illegally entrusting work to foreigners.

Foreigners themselves will be able to review their account. This will allow them to control their work permit as well as check whether they are registered for social security. Thanks to the ICT system, foreigners will also be able to provide information regarding their employment in person.

The legislator also announces that there will be applications dedicated to conducting proceedings on obtaining a work permit or on a statement on the assignment of work by a foreigner. This application will contain a database and will allow the generation of the necessary documents.

2. Abolition of the labor market test

The labor market test consisted of an inquiry to the locally competent labor office to verify whether the employer’s labor shortages could be met by local job seekers.

The legislator argues for the elimination of the market test on the grounds that only 10% of foreigners applying for work permits were subjected to the test. This is since citizens of 6 countries (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia), as well as those in deficit and highly skilled professions, were exempt from this obligation.

The labor market test, carried out in the course of proceedings for issuing a work permit, took a considerable amount of time, so its elimination should help in speeding proceedings up.

3. Strengthening the position of the foreigner in the labor market

Other changes are expected to strengthen the foreigner’s position in the labor market. These changes include:

  • Automatically comparing the salary amount specified in the work permit application or statement with the salary amounts specified in job listings posted on CBOP for comparable work in the area;
  • Refusal to issue a work permit to a foreigner may be motivated by the employer’s delays in paying social security contributions for a period exceeding 2 months;
  • Refusal to issue a work permit to a foreigner may be motivated by circumstances from which it will appear that the foreigner, despite obtaining a work permit, will not actually perform work on the territory of Poland;
  • Employment of foreigners on the basis of labor contracts will be simplified;
  • A work permit will be able to be implemented if the working hours are not less than ¼ full- time per month.

4. Changes in the procedure for extending the work permit

Another improvement will be the ability to extend an existing work permit through a dedicated application. The ICT system will check whether social security contributions and advance income tax payments were made in connection with the foreigner’s work.

If the system does not encounter any inaccuracies, the employer’s and employee’s account will show a notice one month before the expiration of the work permit that they can apply for a new work permit.

5. Changes in the imposition of punishments

The draft of the amendment to this Act also provides clarification of the way in which punishments will be imposed in the event of a violation of the law by entities illegally entrusting work to foreigners.

In addition, the ICT system will be able, also in an automated manner, to check the data collected by the control authorities and those contained in the National Criminal Register.

The draft stipulates that the new regulations will come into force in 2022, 7 days after the announcement. The exception will be the provisions on the expansion of the ICT system, which will come into effect 6 months after the date of announcement. It is worth noting that the amendment described above is one of the so-called “milestones” specified in the National Reconstruction Plan, and according to the assumptions, they are to be enacted by the end of 2022.

Jan Mielczarek (e-mail: [email protected]) will answer questions related to the discussed draft amendment and further work on the draft amendment.