Milewska Legal

How to legally hire a foreigner in Poland?

14 March 2023

Globalization and the dynamic flow of human capital are increasingly prompting Polish entrepreneurs to hire foreigners, including those not from European Union countries. What is the procedure for hiring a foreigner? This article is dedicated to the procedure for hiring a foreigner working under employment contract.

Employment of a citizen of the European Union working under an employment contract in Poland

 The process of hiring an EU citizen working under an employment contract is the same like entering into a contract with a Polish citizen. This is a consequence of numerous international agreements as a result of which all EU citizens have equal and free access to labor markets in all member countries. What is important, the EU citizen does not have to apply for a work permit, and can even remain in the country of work provision after the end of the employment contract without any negative consequences. However, it is worth emphasizing that any stay longer than 3 months – including that for work reasons – must be legalized. This means that an EU citizen is obliged to register his or her stay with the Provincial Office proper to the place of his or her residence. On the basis of the registration certificate obtained, he is obliged to apply for a PESEL number which he/she receives within a month (PESEL is a personal identification number necessary for, among others, tax settlements in Poland).

Employment of a foreigner coming from outside the European Union – procedure for obtaining a work permit

 A foreigner coming from a non-EU country may take up employment in Poland on the basis of an employment contract after obtaining a work permit and provided that he or she has legal residence in Poland. In the case of being employed on a local (Polish) contract, the obligation to obtain a work permit lies on the employer who wishes to hire the foreign employee.

In order to apply for a work permit, a number of documents must be completed in advance, including documents confirming the identity of the employer and employee, documents confirming the employee’s qualifications, e.g. diplomas, or confirmation of delegation to work on Polish territory.

 An application for a work permit can be submitted to the Provincial Office, or online via The application can also be sent by post.

There are two types of work permit:

  1. Work permit type A – for a foreigner who performs work in the territory of Poland, on the basis of a contract with an entity whose registered office, place of residence or branch is located in the territory of Poland;
  2. Work permit type B – for a foreigner who e.g. acts within the board of directors of a legal entity entered in the Polish register of entrepreneurs.


Both, work permit type A and work permit type B, are issued for a limited period of time – work permit type A for up to 3 years, work permit type B for up to 5 years (provided that the legal entity employs more than 25 people). Renewal of the work permit is possible upon a written request of the employer, submitted no earlier than 90 days and no later than 30 days before the expiration of the existing permit.

The work permit is not the only obligation to make the foreigner’s staying and work in Poland legal. It is also necessary that the foreigner has legal residence title in Poland. The procedure for legalization of residence occurs at the Provincial Office in the department for foreigners, and the obligation of obtaining legal residence shall lie with the person who applies for such residence.

A foreigner may legally reside in the territory of Poland with, e.g. a visa, a residence card, or a permanent or temporary residence permit.

 It is worth mentioning that a foreigner cannot work legally in Poland when he holds a visa issued for tourist purposes (01), under temporary protection (20), due to arrival for humanitarian purposes (21). In those cases, the foreigner is required to apply for at least a temporary residence permit.

What is more, if a foreigner intends to stay and work in Poland for more than 3 months, he can apply for a so-called unified permit, which is issued by the voivode having jurisdiction over the foreigner’s place of residence. In such case, the entire procedure is carried out in the course of a single administrative proceeding and, on the basis of one document, the foreigner can both: stay in Poland (staying permit) and work legally (work permit). When applying for a unified permit, the foreigner is a party of the entire procedure – the employer does not apply for a work permit for this employee.

Due to the current political situation, citizens of Ukraine who seek refuge on Polish territory are in a privileged position. In their case, the procedures are very simplified, and in practice come down to filling out basic formalities. In other cases (foreigners from other countries), such a procedure can take up to 3 months, while the final deadline depends on the current occupancy of Polish offices.

It is worth mentioning, that due to Polish regulations, in most of the cases a foreigner can receive a work permit on condition there are no Polish citizens who could be hired for the same position instead of the foreigner. Thus, before applying for a work permit for the employee, the employer is obliged to obtain confirmation from the starost that there is currently no pending Polish citizen registered at the labor office who could take up the position in question.

Obviously, there are exceptions to the above rule. The employer does not have to receive information about the local market when, for example, the work to be performed by the foreigner is on the list of so-called deficit occupations or when it concerns a foreigner who is authorized to represent a foreign entrepreneur in his branch located in Poland.

Work permit for a delegated contractor

 It is also possible to delegate an employee employed by a foreign company to a branch located in Poland. This may happen when the company’s headquarters is located outside the European Union, and the employee is to be delegated to Poland for a fixed period of time, longer than 30 calendar days. In such case, the employer applies for a type C work permit, which is issued for a fixed period (equal to the period of posting), not exceeding 3 years. It is possible to apply for an extension of this permit. Such application must be submitted no earlier than 90 days and no later than 30 days before the expiration of the existing work permit

The procedure of obtaining a work permit type C generally takes from 30 days to a maximum of two months.

Maria Czechowska

Trainee attorney-at-law

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