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June 06, 2023

Poland: And Still More Changes: Access to the Labor Market for Citizens of Ukraine

Izabela Florczak, PhD and Katarzyna Ziółkowska

The war in Ukraine has necessitated the passage of a law that will quickly allow hundreds of thousands of people to obtain title to legal work in Poland. The Polish legislature has expanded access to the national labor market – in fact, the Law of March 12, 2022 (on assistance to citizens of Ukraine in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of that country) opened the Polish labor market to all Ukrainian citizens legally residing in Poland. The condition for legal work for all Ukrainian citizens (including those who came to Poland because of the war) is the notification of employment. Notification is made by the employing entity through the IT system, and it has to be done within 14 days from the start of work.

In its next steps, the Polish legislature is expanding rights related to residency and work for people who fled Ukraine before the war. Poland is bound by EU regulations adopted in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons [Council Directive 2001/55/EC of July 20, 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof and Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 of March 4, 2022 establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC].

Abovementioned regulations established temporary protection for displaced persons. Such protection, by design, is intended to last for the necessary period of time, and is not intended to seek the settlement of displaced persons in the host country.

Given the huge shortage of workers in the labor market, the Polish legislator aims to facilitate the legalization of the stay of those displaced persons from Ukraine who are economically active in Poland. An amendment to the Law of March 12, 2022, made by the Law of January 13, 2023, introduces important exceptions to the general rule that prevents temporary protection beneficiaries from applying for a temporary residence permit. Under the new regulations, as of April 1, 2023, such applications will be allowed for displaced persons who apply for:

  • a temporary residence and work permit,
  • a temporary residence permit for the purpose of working in a highly skilled occupation, or
  • a temporary residence permit for the purpose of business activity.

In addition, it should be borne in mind that the procedure for granting the aforementioned permits will be conducted in a simplified manner to the regular one.

At the same time, it is worth bearing in mind the social significance of the discussed change. Its regulation covers persons who are economically active but no longer family members of such persons. Due to the nature of wartime migration from the Ukraine (migration mainly of women with children), multitudes of children remain outside the possibility of legalizing their stay for a longer period of time. They can, of course, stay in Poland on the basis of general rules that guarantee protection to displaced persons, but they are deprived of the opportunity to legalize their stay to the same extent as their guardians.

Izabela Florczak, PhD

Legal Advisor

Head of Employment Immigration Desk at C&C Chakowski & Ciszek (Poland)

Assistant Professor at the University of Lodz

Katarzyna Ziółkowska

Legal Advisor

Head of the International Department at C&C Chakowski & Ciszek (Poland)

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