Today’s article is dedicated to all of you from countries outside the European Union. I describe two documents that are a huge problem for many non-EU employees: a work permit and a temporary residence and work permit in Poland. Hopefully this article will make your relocation and life in the new country a little bit easier.

In this article I describe only the basics of both topics but I’ve also attached links to the official and reliable sources of information where you can find more detailed descriptions.


Let’s start with the work permit in Poland

Do you need a work permit?

Some expats can work in Poland without a work permit. Check it out on this list.

You will have it easier also if you come from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia or Ukraine. Learn more here.


Work permit in Poland

When you want to come to Poland you must legalize your stay and your work separately. Visa or residence permit legalizes your stay. A work permit legalizes your work when no other conditions apply.

Remember: If you’ve obtained a visa for tourism, temporary protection or humanitarian reasons, you cannot work in Poland at all.

You don’t apply for a work permit on your own – only your future employer can apply for it. The document includes the name of your company and your job title.

That means that there is no such a thing as an open work permit for all kinds of jobs in the European Union, or even in Poland. You can work legally only for an employer who’s obtained a work permit for you, on the position described in the document. If you wish to get a second job or change employers (or even positions), your new employer must obtain a new work permit for you.


Labour market test

One of the most extraordinary steps of the process is a labour market test. The aim of this administrative procedure is to check if there are unemployed people registered in the labor office who could work in your position. Your employer will be allowed to give this position to you only if there are no appropriate, unemployed candidates from the local labour market. I haven’t heard any complaints about that procedure and I suppose that it’s not a real obstacle for anyone. If you know anyone whose work permit has been blocked because of the labour market test please let me know – send me a message or write a comment below.

You can read more about the labour market test and the exceptional professions that don’t require this test to be conducted here.


Work permit in Poland: Protect your rights

Polish law requires that your employer follow some procedures that you should know about. Check the list from below and make sure that your employer complies with all obligations. In case of any problems contact me and I’ll find professional help for you.

  1. Your employer must inform you about any progress in the application or prolongation procedures, and about any events or conditions affecting your work permit application process;
  2. The contract offered to you by an employer must be in accordance with the conditions described in the work permit’s application.
  3. The contract you sign must be translated into a language that you can understand.
  4.  Your employer must provide you with copies of the documents involving your employment. They must always give you a copy of the work permit.
  5. At least once a year your employer must adjust your salary to the average monthly remuneration published by the Polish official statistical institution.

I hope to publish an article about employee’s rights and duties in Poland in the future so make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so that you don’t miss anything important.


Work permit in Poland: Continue your research

Do you want to learn more about work permits in Poland? Don’t look for information on big international expat websites. It’s better to use official info sources prepared by Polish institutions responsible for foreigners (all of the attached webistes have English language versions):


What’s the difference between a work permit and a temporary residence and work permit in Poland?

Remember when I told you that there’s a difference between legalization of your stay and legalization of your work? The simple rule was that you were responsible for legalizing your stay, so you applied for a visa or a residence permit. And your employer was responsible to apply for a work permit for you. Well, the temporary residence and work permit is a real game changer. It legalizes both your stay and work – two for one.

This time you don’t rely on your employer – you’re the one who must go to the office and apply for the permit.

Document Applying person
Visa Employee
Work permit Employer
Temporary residence and work permit Employee

You still need to collaborate with your future company though. Your employer has to provide you with the results of the labour market test conducted for the job position that you’ll get and fill out the so-called “Attachment Number 1” which is crucial to start the procedure. They also have to sign a preliminary contract stating that you’ll start working in Poland when your work here is legal. You’ll find the full list of the required documents on the website of the office responsible for issuing your residence permit. For example in Kraków it’s the Voivodeship’s Office in Kraków, and in Warsaw it’s the Voivodeship’s Office in Warsaw.

Right now the offices in Poland are terribly slow and overcrowded and the process takes about 4 months in the easiest cases. You won’t be able to start working until the office issues a positive decision. There are some exceptions though. You can read about them on the websites linked in the “Continue your research section” below.


When you can get a temporary residence and work permit in Poland?

Let’s imagine that you’ve already been staying in Poland on the basis of a work visa. The visa will expire in a few months but you want to stay. Expats in Poland often ask how they can extend their visas. Visa prolongation is a rare procedure reserved  for extraordinary situations. Normally you’re supposed to obtain a temporary residence permit. You can apply for it only when you’re already in Poland.

There are several types of temporary residence permits. If work is the purpose of your stay in Poland, then you apply for a temporary residence and work permit.


For how long is a temporary residence and work permit valid?

Your document will be valid for up to 3 years, but not longer than your contract is for. If you have a contract for 6 months then you’ll obtain a residence and work permit for only 6 months. If you change employers, you’ll need to apply for a temporary residence permit on the basis of a new contract.

From time to time I receive questions from expats who’ve been offered short contracts for the probation period. Remember that you’ll obtain a residence permit based only on a contract signed for longer than 3 months. You can submit your TRP application with the first contract, but during the procedure you will be asked by your inspector to provide a new contract for longer period of time. Tell your employer about that and ask them to hire you for as long as possible, between a year and 3 years.


Temporary residence and work permit in Poland: Continue your research

Learn more about the temporary residence and work permit from these addresses:


Work visa to Poland

I’m guessing that like many other people reading this post right now, you still haven’t moved to Poland yet. If you would like to know how to obtain a work visa for Poland this article should help you a little bit.

If you would like to find more useful articles about Poland before you move here, make sure to check out my Work in Poland category and Moving to Poland subcategory.

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