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Together with representatives of the world of business, we call for changes in the law on employment of foreigners

22nd August 2018

Employers’ organisations and NGOs that support foreigners living in Poland jointly appeal to Elżbieta Rafalska (Minister of Labour and Social Policy) and Jadwiga Emilewicz (Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology) to introduce systemic changes that will improve the process of legalising foreigners’ stay and employment in Poland. Not assigning employees to specific employers, informatisation of the system of legalising the work of foreigners, changing the competences of Chief Labour Inspectorate PIP are but a few of their postulates.

Employers’ associations and social organisations speak with one voice regarding the amendments to the Act on the Labour Market proposed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The amendment concerns the employment of foreigners in Poland.

“Work on a new regulation is a good moment to re-engineer the assumptions of the employment process for foreigners in Poland, and not only to introduce minor adjustments to existing solutions”, we read in a letter signed by professor Witold Klaus, President of the Association for Legal Intervention.

The letter to the ministry was signed by the following organisations: Business Centre Club, Polish Chamber of Commerce, Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, Centre for Migration Research Foundation, Polish Migration Forum Foundation, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Bread and Salt Initiative, Institute of Public Affairs, Homo Faber, Association for Legal Intervention, Association for Multicultural Society Integration. What do they demand?

  1. More freedom for employees

The current regulations stiffen the labour market and lead to strengthening the already privileged position of the employer towards foreigners who find it harder to assert their rights in case of being abused or falling victim to an abuse of rights. This is due to the fact that the legalisation of work is closely related to the legalisation of stay, and the loss of employment leads in principle to the loss of the legality to stay.

A new form of a work permit could therefore be issued to a foreigner for a specified period of time, but to provide services to any employer. In the minimum variant, it would be possible to introduce restrictions on working only in a specific profession or only in a specific area (e.g. one voivodship).

  1. Legal employment upon submission of documents

It would also be appropriate to introduce a principle that the work of a foreigner is considered legal from the moment of submitting a formally valid application, containing all the required documents regarding the legalisation of work. In that case, delays resulting from a prolonged wait for a document to be issued by the appropriate office would not unnecessarily burden enterprises or foreign employees. Thus, obtaining a work permit or a declaration of entrusting work to a foreigner would only confirm the legality of their employment.

  1. Permission to work as a “reward” for legal work

Another important systemic change would be to show greater confidence in foreigners who have so far acted legally, i.e. they worked legally. After a certain period (e.g. 3 years) of such work, foreigners would receive a general permit for a legal stay and work in Poland for a period of, for instance, 5 years.

  1. Permission-free employment for graduates

All high school or university alumni who completed their education in Poland should receive the opportunity to work without a work permit as well as obtain a residence permit for this purpose for 3 years, and then having documented employment in the above-mentioned period, a permanent residence permit. The challenges facing the Polish labour market also require extending rather than narrowing the current regulations.

  1. Automation and informatisation of the foreigners’ employment legalising system

Procedures related to employing foreigners should take place online without the need for employers to appear in offices. All submitted documents could be confirmed by an electronic signature (or analogous systems, e.g. a trusted profile on the e-PUAP platform). This way, employers would fill out an online application, attach scans of relevant documents to it and could generate a relevant permit / statement after the verification of the application by a clerk appriximately 2-3 days after the application submission date.

  1. Operational changes of the Chief Labour Inspectorate’s prerogatives to transform it into an institution offering only help and assistance

The Chief Labour Inspectorate should be deprived of investigative functions, checking the legality of foreigners’ employment and punishing them for working without proper permits. The Inspectorate – as it takes place in case of Polish employees – should be an institution only providing support and assistance that can be contacted without fear of negative consequences associated with this action.

The full contents of the letter with comments on the proposed changes can be found here.

Recommendations on improving the process of legalisation both employment and stay of foreigners in Poland can also be found in the report of the Association for Legal Intervention and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation titled “Employers and employment of foreigners.” The publication is available on the Association’s website in the Publications tab.

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