Epidemic emergency lifted: the situation of foreigners in Poland
Published on 11th Jul 2023
On 1 July 2023, the state of epidemic emergency introduced in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic was canceled. This ended special solutions for the employment of foreigners in Poland introduced by the so-called ‘Special Covid Law’.
Documents legalizing work
As a reminder: under covid regulations, if the last day of validity of a work permit (statement on entrusting work to a foreigner) was during a pandemic (or during the epidemic emergency), the validity of these documents was extended only until 31 July 2023. This means that as of 1 August 2023, such a work permit or statement on entrusting work to a foreigner will not be valid and cannot be the basis for employing a foreigner in Poland.
Documents legalizing residence
Similar rules apply to documents legalizing a foreigner’s stay in Poland. Under covid regulations, if the last day of a foreigner’s period of stay on the basis of a national visa or the last day of the period of validity of a temporary residence permit fell during a state of epidemic emergency or a state of epidemics declared in connection with SARS-CoV-2 infections, the period of stay on the basis of that visa and the period of validity of that visa or the period of validity of the residence permit was extended until the expiration of the 30th day following the day of cancellation of whichever state was last in effect. Thus, according to these regulations, foreigners residing in Poland whose temporary residence permits and national visas expired during the pandemic (or during the period of the epidemic emergency) have their legal stay extended only until 31 July 2023. In order to stay in Poland legally afterwards, they must obtain a new basis for their stay in our country.
Consequences of employing foreigners without valid documents legalizing work and residence
Illegal employment of foreigners (i.e. without documents legalizing residence and/or work) triggers the risk of a fine for the employers (between PLN 1,000 and PLN 30,000). In specific cases, the penalty of limitation of liberty or imprisonment is also in place.
WHAT TO DO?
Employers should audit documents legalizing the work and residence of foreigners employed by them as at 14 March 2020 and those hired after that date. This is because on 14 March 2023, an epidemic emergency (and then an epidemic state) was introduced which brought special arrangements for the employment of foreigners. Next steps to be taken:
a) file by 31 July 2023 at the latest the relevant applications to legalize the work of foreigners;
b) in parallel, staff should – by 31 July 2023 at the latest - file applications for residence permits to legalize their stay in Poland and obtain a stamp imprint in their passports confirming the application was filed.
Feel free to contact us with additional questions or concerns.