Working conditions

Employment of foreigners

Ensuring communication is particularly important in the case of foreign nationals who may have a language barrier. Therefore, if the employer and the employee do not speak the same language, it may be necessary to engage an interpreter. The legislator protects the Polish labour market, so that when employing a foreigner – in addition to the usual employment formalities – three additional conditions must be met.

Firstly, the employee must legalise his/her stay in Poland, which usually means the need to obtain a visa or a residence permit (the formalities are handled by the employee). This is very important as the payments, benefits and other receivables from the employment relationship, civil law contracts and property rights due, paid, made or made available to a foreigner who, during the period of rendering work or personally exercising his/her activity in the territory of the Republic of Poland, did not possess a valid document, required under separate regulations, entitling him/her to stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland, are not considered as tax deductible expenses. This also applies to the contributions for these receivables in the part financed by the payer of the contributions, as well as to the monetary allowances from social insurance paid by the employment establishment to this foreigner. In other words, the employment of a person residing in Poland illegally means that his/her remuneration and its derivatives cannot be counted as deductible costs.

  • in Poland, a foreigner is most often employed without a work permit:
  • holds a permanent residence permit in Poland,
  • holds a residence permit for a long-term resident of the European Union in Poland,
  • has a residence permit for humanitarian reasons,
  • has a permit for tolerated stay in Poland.

It is planned to replace this form of employment with new forms of work permits in the near future:

  1. seasonal work permits – dedicated primarily to agriculture,
  2. short-term work permits.

A foreign employee should earn as much as a Pole in such a position. However, it is imperative that he or she should receive at least the minimum wage (in 2022, this is PLN 3010). A seasonal permit may invariably cover a maximum of nine months in a calendar year.

If the employee does not have a previously assigned PESEL or NIP number, a NIP number must be applied for – an obligation on the part of the employee, but the number is needed by the employer. At the moment, no PESEL number is assigned to foreigners who stay in Poland only to provide work.

In addition, the same formalities must be followed as for Poles, such as registering the employee with the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS), carrying out an initial examination and occupational health and safety training, etc.

The rules on the employment of foreigners in Poland are contained in a number of legal acts (laws, regulations). On 29 January 2022, amended regulations on the employment of foreigners entered into force. Major changes were introduced to the Act on Promotion of Employment and Labour Market Institutions. The rules on registration of declarations of entrustment of work, granting of seasonal work permits and work permits were modified. The biggest modifications, which revolutionise the rules on employing foreigners from 6 countries: Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Armenia and Ukraine, were introduced in the ‘declaration procedure’, i.e. in the declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner. From 29 January 2022, an employer can register a statement on entrusting work to a foreigner for 24 months and does not have to wait to register another one. It can do so as soon as the previous document expires. The new regulations have also eliminated the reference period. The date of commencement of work of a foreigner indicated by the employer in the declaration cannot be later than 6 months from the date of its submission. The foreigner’s remuneration cannot be lower than the remuneration of employees performing work of a comparable type or in a comparable position. This means that an employer will not be able to employ a foreigner for a lower rate than he pays Polish citizens performing work at the same position.