Polish regulations allow the employment of foreigners under specific conditions. Regardless of the number of employers or the basis for legalization of the employment relationship, a foreigner can work for multiple entities.
How does a change of employer affect the residence card? Find answers in the following article.
Rules for employing foreigners
A foreigner can legally work in Poland if he or she:
1. stays in Poland legally,
2. provides proper documents regarding his/her stay.
An employer must verify the legality of a foreigner’s stay before the beginning of work. He should also keep a copy of documents confirming the foreigner’s legal stay in Poland throughout the employment period.
A foreigner can work in Poland based on:
- Temporary residence and work permit (unified permit).
- Work permit.
- Seasonal work permit.
- Declaration of entrusting work.
The residence card is an important document for a foreigner’s employment. During its validity:
- It allows the foreigner to stay in Poland based on the grounds specified in it.
- It confirms the foreigner’s identity.
- It allows the foreigner, along with his travel documents, to cross the border multiple times without a visa.
- When issued due to granting a temporary residence and work permit, it is the only document confirming the foreigner’s right to stay in Poland and work for a specific employer, under the conditions specified in the permit decision, as indicated by the annotation “access to the labour market”.
Changing a foreigner’s employer – unified permit
The unified permit for temporary residence and work can be changed at any time. It occurs upon the foreigner’s request if he or she intends to work:
- For another entity entrusting work or under the exemption from the obligation to have a work permit.
- For another user-employer.
- Under different conditions than those specified in the permit decision, concerning
- job position:
- lower salary for the given position
- working hours
- type of contract.
The request should be submitted to the voivode responsible for the foreigner’s current place of residence. During the permit’s validity, the foreigner can apply for its change any number of times. These modifications do not extend the validity period of the permit. In other words, the permit will remain valid for the same duration after the change as it was before. Moreover, there is no need to exchange the residence card.
The residence and work permit does not need to be updated in the event of:
- Change of the employer’s registered office
- Change of the place of residence.
- Change of the employer’s legal form.
- Change of a civil law contract into an employment contract.
- Change of the name of the position while maintaining the same scope of duties.
- Increase of working hours with a proportional increase in remuneration.
Changes in work permits and declarations of entrusting work to a foreigner
When it comes to work permits and declarations of entrusting work to a foreigner, all changes to the employment conditions and salary impose an obligation on the employer to obtain a new permit or declaration for the foreigner. This condition must be fulfilled before implementing the change.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. We specify them below:
- In the case of declarations of entrusting work, when the change relates to:
- The registered office or place of residence
- The name or legal form of the entity entrusting work to the foreigner. Also, the transfer of the employing establishment or its part to another employer.
- Replacing a civil law contract with an employment contract.
- Rates of remuneration – in favour of the employed person.
- In the case of work permits, when the change relates to:
- The name of the job position on which the foreigner is working, while maintaining the scope of duties.
- An increase in working hours with a proportional increase in remuneration.
- The foreigner being subject to a reduced working time resulting from other regulations.
- Replacing a civil law contract with an employment contract.
- The remuneration rate – in favour of the employee
Procedure for changing an employer
A foreigner staying in Poland based on a unified permit for temporary residence and work must inform the voivode who granted the permit of the termination of employment with any of the entities entrusting work specified in the permit. A foreigner should do it within 15 working days from the termination of employment. The termination of employment does not automatically make the foreigner’s stay illegal. Yet, it may result in the withdrawal of the positive decision regarding his/her stay in Poland.
To effectively apply for a change of a unified permit for temporary residence and work, one must submit an official form and attach:
- Attachment no. 1 indicated in the Act.
- Documents necessary to confirm the data provided in the application and justify the change of the permit for temporary residence and work.
- Application fee (220 PLN).
The application does not need to be submitted in person at the office. Moreover, the foreigner’s fingerprints are not taken.
The voivode’s decision
The voivode may accept the application, leave it unprocessed or issue a negative decision. The authority refuses to change the permit when:
- The foreigner failed to notify about the loss of employment within 15 working days.
- The intended employment period specified in Attachment no. 1 to the application for a change of the permit is shorter than the validity period of the permit subject to change.
- The foreigner does not meet requirements for changing the permit with regard to the salary level indicated by the employer in Attachment no. 1 to the application, as the salary is:
- lower than that of employees performing work of a comparable type or in a comparable position for the same period of time;
- lower than the minimum salary.
- The foreigner does not meet the requirement of having health insurance.
- The employer has the possibility to find workers in the local labour market.
- The circumstances specified in the Act occur.
The voivode may refuse to change the unified permit for temporary residence and work in cases where the entity entrusting work:
- Doesn’t have the necessary financial resources or sources of income to cover obligations resulting from entrusting work to a foreigner.
- Doesn’t conduct actual economic, agricultural, or statutory activity that justifies entrusting work to a foreigner during a given period. Especially, if it has suspended activity, was removed from the relevant register, or is subject to liquidation.
In the case of refusal to change the permit, the foreigner has the right to appeal to the Head of the Office for Foreigners. One can do it through the voivode who issued the decision. There are 14 days from the date of receiving the decision to proceed with that.
Residence card and change of employer – summary
Foreigners can work legally during their stay in Poland. However, the legislator sets specific requirements for their employment procedures, including changing employers. This helps to ensure equal and fair access to the job market.
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