The website for critical discussion about migration in Central and Eastern Europe.
11. 4. 13
Zdroj: migrationonline.cz
Země: Poland

Poland: Work and residence permits

International project “Migration to the center” was aimed at investigating diverse problems in the area of integration of foreigners in Poland also in regards to the access to the labor market. Within this topic, in the first part of the project we have focused on the analysis of the problem of irregular employment in Poland.

According to Patrycja Mickiewicz, the author of the analysis on the irregular work of migrants in Poland, legal work is still hedged around by complicated regulations. Despite some recent facilitations in the access to the Polish labor market, many migrants still need to obtain the work permit, which – when combined with the accurate resident permit – gives the right to work legally in Poland. Both, Polish employers and migrants searching for a post in Poland still perceive procedure as very complicated and bureaucratic one. Mickiewicz states that what we see in practice is that migrants, in spite of having the legal basis for work and accurate resident permit, still tend to work illegally. In many cases, however, they are not aware of it until they start the procedure of legalization of stay in Poland or until the routine control reveals it. Therefore, in many cases, the problem with irregular employment is directly connected, firstly, with a lack of awareness of migrants, and secondly, with neglecting the law by the employers.

The results of control of The National Labour Inspectorate in 2011 clearly show that the problem of irregular employment among migrants is connected not only with the lack of valid work permit [2]. According to the binding law, working without valid visa, or valid resident permit entitling a migrant to work legally, working on a different post or on different terms than indicated in the work permit, working without work permit or without legal contract is considered as irregular employment.

Undoubtedly one of the turning point in regard to legalization of migrants stay in Poland and their integration within labor market was the Abolition Action[1]. Agnieszka Sitko in her analysis describes that within last Abolition Action[2] conducted in Poland in 2012, 9521[3] illegal migrants submitted the application for a temporary residence permit. According to available statistics the number of migrants who benefited from this opportunity was twice bigger in comparison to two previous ones.

Sitko describes that among key factors determining the decision about conducting the Abolition action 2012 in Poland is definitely a growing number of illegal migrants. According to recent estimations number of illegal migrants in Poland ranges from 50 000 to 80 000.[4] Although the scale of the issue is difficult to verify, the problem of the large number of illegal migrants is given as the main reason for carrying out the action.

Agnieszka Sitko argues that what was about to be considered as one of the main advantages of the action was granting the work permit to foreigners, who legalized their stay during the action and at the same time decrease the illegal employment of migrants. Analyzing amnesty we cannot forget about advantage of the output of the grey zone. Taking up the job entails a long-term effects. Our expert writes that legal work allows access to previously unavailable institutions such as the police, health services, and civil protection. In this case we assume that one can count on decent working conditions, insurance and medical care. It is very important for foreigners, but also has a positive effect on the host country. Following this path it brings a positive impact for Poland. Not only entails a lower risk of criminalization, but it also contributes to strengthen the national economy.

However, as Agnieszka Sitko argues in her analysis, to a significant group of migrants this opportunity could also cause some difficulties as those who legalized their stay in this way are able to work just on a basis of a contract of employment while in Poland (similarly to other EU Member States) migrants are mostly employed on the basis of civil law agreement. So, as IPA analysis shows, in this case the abolition fails as a measure undertaken to counteract the growing gray zone.

Main findings of these two aforementioned analysis were confirmed and upgraded by personal stories contributed by three mingatns from Ukraine, Syria and Israel who are living and working in Warsaw. Interviews show that our interlocutors experienced different difficulties in regard to legalization of their stay in Poland and obtaining a work permit. Only one of them, Shaggy Hamdan, agreed not to be anonimus. Shaggy Hamdan is 40 years old, comes from Israel and lives in Poland for 13 years. In the short interview he shared his experience with coming to Poland, starting his own business, bureaucratic procedures and difficulty to obtain citizenship. Second interlocutor, Victoria is a young women from Ukraine, living in Poland for two years. She came to Poland with visa and work permit and works in a bar. In the short interview conducted by the IPA researcher she described how difficult it is for a foreigner to find a job and how long is her waiting for obtaining a residence permit. Third interview was conducted with migrant coming from Syria which he fled because of the war. 35 years old Syrian engineer lives in Poland for almost two years and works in a bar. In the interview he talked about his plans to start business but lacking necessary documents and means to do so.

IPA mission is not only to prepare policy analysis but also to initiate public debate around crucial issues connected with public policies and to prepare policy recommendations. That is why in the next phase of the project IPA has organized international seminar devoted to discussion on the plans and strategies of migrants from Asia and the Middle East in Poland. Debate entitled “Istanbul and Delhi in Warsaw” took place on 28 march 2013 of and gathered high number of experts, representatives of public administration, non-governmental organizations and academia.

The seminar focused on the situation of various migrant groups on the Polish labour market. Firstly, researchers from the IPA presented findings from their research among Koreans, Japanese, Syrians, Armenians and Georgians conducted by IPA within the project and then the results were commented by experts and representatives of the migrant communities. Among the main speakers were: Anna Piłat (Researcher, Migration Policy Programme, IPA), Kinga Wysieńska (Expert, Migration Policy Programme, IPA), JJ Singh (President, Indo Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland), Efe Türkel (Polish - Turkish Association), Monika Szulecka (Assosiate expert, Association of Legal Intervention and Centre of Migration Research University of Warsaw) and Ksenia Naranovich (The Foundation for Development “Beyond Borders”).

As research shows, in Poland we may observe a significant number of Turkish investments in catering, construction services and tourism sector. When it comes to Armenian community, trade remains the main area of economic activity in Poland. As qualitative research shows Indian migrants in Warsaw are involved in different kinds of economic activity: import of Indian products, managing wholesale textile warehouses, restaurants and travel agencies.

Although more and more companies are being establish by foreigners in Poland, according to Monika Szulecka compared to EU countries Poland is not attractive for foreigners in terms of establishing and running a business, especially in regard to the process of registering business activity in your municipality.

As Anna Piłat from IPA concluded, based on the research Asian migrants in Poland are highly educated and possess strong social and economic capital. Research showed that they have not experienced any difficulties on the Polish labor market and it does not seem as if they were excepting any specific facilitations. Anna Piłat also stated that the main expectation of foreign entrepreneurs is not to be interfered while running a business in Poland.

The article has been written as part of the project Migration to the Centre supported by the by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union and the International Visegrad Fund.

This article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


[1] “Abolition” is a term used by the Poles to determine an amnesty for undocumented immigrants residing on the territory of Poland. More about the origin of this term can be read in the interview with Witold Klaus and Tomasz Tarasiuk, pg 20:

[2] “Abolition” is a term used by the Poles to determine an amnesty for undocumented immigrants residing on the territory of Poland. More about the origin of this term can be read in the interview with Witold Klaus and Tomasz Tarasiuk, pg 20:

11. 4. 13
Zdroj: migrationonline.cz
Země: Poland
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