Poland. Business Harbour — program and its goals

Poland. Business Harbour — program and its goals
Joanna Kegler

Joanna Kegler

Senior associate / Attorney-at-law

Poland. Business Harbour” (further referred to as PBH) constitutes one of the leading programmes of the Polish government, aimed at making it easier for foreign professionals and entrepreneurs (especially from the broadly understood IT sector) to work in Poland. This solution – or rather a package of additional benefits – is constantly growing in popularity (since 2020). According to data from mid-2022, about 47 thousand foreigners have already used it. There are two main questions to be answered: what is so unique about this program and what advantages can its beneficiaries expect?

Table of Contents

Objectives of the programme Poland. Business Harbour

Currently, the PBH programme is directed at the citizens of Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Armenia. Keep in mind that PBH was somewhat “tailored” to the needs of our eastern neighbouring countries. The program was created in response to the situation in Belarus – it was supposed to provide a safe place for the citizens of this country and give the Belarusian IT industry the opportunity for development. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Belarusian citizens are the main beneficiaries of the PBH programme.

Who is subject to the Poland. Business Harbour programme?

According to the program’s assumptions, Poland. Business Harbour targets for three categories of entities:

  • for individual IT specialists,
  • for start-ups
  • for already functioning companies (small, medium and large enterprises).

Advantages resulting from the PBH programme

Among the most important benefits for people using the programme, there are:

  1. a possibility to use a special type of visa, which is the only one that:
    • allows you to work without the need to obtain a permit
    • enables establishing a business
    • and allows you to take your immediate family with you;
  2. priority in obtaining the abovementioned visa – the waiting period from the moment of submitting the application to obtaining a visa amounts to several days and the number of appendices to the visa application is shorter in comparison to the standard visa procedure;
  3. support in the form of connecting entrepreneurs with investors and grants for R&D activities;
  4. support in the form of the business concierge as part of cooperation with the Polish Investment & Trade Agency.

How to benefit from Poland. Business Harbour programme?

In order to participate in the simplified PBH visa procedure, the applicant must, first of all, have proof of interest in his or her employment from one of the partner companies. The list of companies is available on the official governmental website – gov.pl/pbh. Additionally, the applicant must have at least one year of experience in the IT industry. Confirmed technical education within this field also does the job.

After completing all the formalities and obtaining the visa, its owners may work in Poland without a work permit. The employment process of such workers is then analogous to that of Polish citizens. The foreigners participating in the programme and willing to work under B2B contracts also have such possibility – they may start their own business in Poland on conditions similar to those of people with Polish citizenship.

For how long is the visa issued and is there a possibility to extend it?

The visas obtained by the participants of Poland. Business Harbour are temporary – they have one year validity period. After this period, a foreigner may either leave Poland and apply for a  new visa or start a procedure for legalizing his or her residence and work on the territory of Poland. Having in mind the possible length of such procedures, we recommend to submit relevant applications some time in advance – up to several months. Keep in mind the situation of the citizens of Azerbaijan. They can participate in the PBH programme as well, however, in their case, there is no possibility to submit a declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner. For this group of foreigners, the lack of a work permit after the visa’s expiry date will mean that there is no possibility to continue work.

Extended validity of Visas

Finally, the provisions of the covid special Act extended the validity of national visas –  also including Poland. Business Harbour. The validity period of these documents extends by virtue of law until the 30th day following the date of cancelling the state (epidemiological, epidemic) that was last in force. Until that moment, the owner of the PBH national visa may legally stay, work and conduct business in Poland. However, the possibility of extending visas’ validity this way is only temporary. Therefore, the procedure for legalizing the stay and work of the PBH programme participants should be initiated as soon as possible.

Based on our many years of experience in cooperation with foreign companies who are interested in company registration in Poland in order to gather workforce from eastern Europe, including companies from Ukraine and Belarus, we offer support in obtaining a Poland Business Harbour Visa. Our assistance will allow you to shorten the visa procedure as much as possible and start your business in Poland in the shortest possible time.

If this article was interesting for you and you want to know more on the topic it concerned we encourage you to contact us. Specialists from our law firm in Poland, Warsaw, will  be happy to help. If you are interested in company registration in Poland visit our dedicated landing page.

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Joanna Kegler

Senior associate / Attorney-at-law

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