Can we hire each immigrant?


An employer who illegally hires an immigrant should incur a pecuniary penalty amounting from 3 to 5 thousand zlotys.

However, when the persistent violation of the provisions occur, he may be obliged to pay even 10 thousand zlotys or get the restriction of liberty. On what grounds can a Polish employer hire immigrants then?

The amendment of immigration law, which was introduced in May, facilitated procedures enabling to obtain consent to a temporary residence by foreigners. According to the Office for Foreigners, the number of foreigners who are staying and thus looking for a work in Poland systematically increases from the beginning of the year. Additionally, the number of Ukrainians who are trying to get a refugee status in Poland may increase in the nearest future. The kind of an issued visa as well as the character of stay decide whether a foreigner may take up a legal job in Poland.

It may be a visa in respect of a work or intramural studies which are chosen here (work may be taken only in a holiday period then). However, taking up a certain occupation is categorically forbidden in case of some kinds of visa, for instance, a tourist visa. People who apply for granting a refugee status and still wait for a final decision concerning them, in case of the period of waiting for the decision, may have a chance to pursue employment – explains Magda Karwowska, lawyer in Centrum Pomocy Cudzoziemcom.

Work permit is not required only in case of foreigners after obtaining a refugee status or granting him an international protection. If one of the procedures has not finished yet, a foreigner cannot pursue legal employment in Poland. The exception is when the decision considering status or protection has not been made within six months since the submission of an application – in such situation, immigrants may pursue employment in Poland on the basis of a certificate issued by the head in the Office for Foreigners.

According to the Office for Foreigners, an application for granting a refugee status was submitted by over 15 thousand of people in Poland in 2013, that is 40 per cent increase in comparison with 2012. Till 7 September of the current year, such application was submitted by 4,1 thousand of people, 24 per cent of whom were Ukraine citizens. Magda Karwowska points out that these people are not always aware of procedures which they should follow and because of the fact that they often do not have enough financial resources – they try to purse employment as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Polish employers may hire legally only citizens from the European Union and the European Economic Area without any individual permits. However, part of them is obliged to have special permits granted by a voivode adequate to the residence of an immigrant. Voivodship offices gave ca. 39 thousand of such permits in 2013, over a half of which was granted to Ukrainians.

The part of foreigners may benefit from a simplified procedure but it refers only to citizens of some countries. Then, such person may work legally only for half a year within the whole calendar year in Poland – points out Magda Karwowska. On the basis of a simplified procedure of declarations, which consists in concluding a written employment contract (or civil law agreement), citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia or Ukraine may be employed in Poland. Employers hired in such way 235 thousand of people last year.

An employer who considers employment of a foreigner has a right to ask about a legal basis, on which he stays in Poland. However, a foreigner does not have to answer this question in a situation when he was given protection on the territory of Poland. – These are very intimate issues, much more crucial and emotional than commonly criticized questions about family or sexual preference. A person who has a refugee status should not be asked about the reason why he escaped from his native country – comments Karwowska.

Expert in Centrum Pomocy Cudzoziemcom advises that each foreigner should consult his situation with a lawyer before pursuing employment because the penalty for illegal taking up a job starts with 1 thousand zlotys and additionally it leads to serious legal consequences. In an extreme case, depending on a legal basis on which a foreigner stays on the territory of Poland, he may be deported to a native country with a ban to return defined in months or years – explains.

According to National Labor Inspectorate data, 494 people were caught on illegal work in Poland in 2013. However, experts believe that the problem is much bigger than it seems while analyzing statistics. Most frequently, immigrants are hired illegally by small companies.

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