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Changes in the act on foreigners

In 2023, employers will face revolutionary changes in the employment of foreigners. The legislator has prepared a draft that provides for great facilitations in submitting applications and, above all, shortening the duration of the entire employment process. Originally, these changes were to come into force on January 1, 2023, but due to numerous comments raised by the social side, this deadline was extended.

Currently, the draft amendment to the Act on foreigners (Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners, Journal of Laws 2013 item 1650) is at the stage of reviewing. It assumes many changes streamlining the process of employing foreigners in Poland. The main assumptions of the project are:

1. Elimination of the labor market test – the labor market test consists in determining by the staroste the inability to meet the staffing needs of the enterprise on the local labor market. In the proposed changes, the Ministry of Family and Social Policy eliminates this mechanism, describing it as unnecessary in the current situation on the labor market in Poland and, above all, taking into account the persistently low unemployment rate. Changes regarding the liquidation of the labor market test will apply immediately after the act enters into force. This solution will significantly speed up the entire process of issuing work permits by voivodes. The draft allows entering of the labor market test for occassional situations, e.g. in the area of a specific voivodeship or in relation to a specific profession. Such a decision is to be made directly by voivodes;

2. Liquidation of the process of extending a work permit – applies to foreigners whose employment in a given entity is continued, the employer applying for a work permit for a further period does not have to undergo the so-called labor market test. The draft maintains the possibility of entrusting work while waiting for a permit to be issued for a further period of work in the same position;

3. Full electronicization of the procedure process – from 2023, all applications for a work permit or information on entrusting work will be able to be submitted in electronic form. Not only applications, but also all communication between the employer and the office, and in the event of a refusal to grant a permit, the entire appeal process will also be conducted in electronic form using a dedicated platform. In the case of this solution, the legislator provided for a 3-year transitional period for its entry into force, which means that applications during this period will be able to be submitted both in paper and electronic form.

4. Tighter penalties in the case of illegal employment and counteracting the exploitation of employed persons – these actions will consist in refusing to issue a work permit if:

  • the entrepreneur submitting the application is in arrears with the payment of social security contributions in ZUS or PIT,
  • was punished by authorized institutions verifying compliance with labour law regulations,
  • offered the employed person too low remuneration compared to other persons employed in the same position on the local labor market.

The Ministry of Family and Social Policy also came up with a proposal to condition the receipt of a work permit on the remuneration declared by the future employer at a level not lower than ¼ of a full-time job or 10 hours a week. The idea was criticized by representatives of employers and voivodeship offices.