For almost a decade, the structure of labor migration in Poland has been changing dramatically. From a country of emigration, Poland has become a country of immigration. It is estimated that before February 2022, there were between 1.5 and 2 million foreigners actively working in Poland.
Immigration law in Poland is complicated, due to being subject to frequent changes. New regulations are introduced into existing laws, unfortunately – often introducing legislative chaos.
Recent years have seen numerous challenges to the employment of foreigners in Poland. First, it was necessary to implement procedures aimed at facilitating foreigners’ access to the labor market during the COVID-19 pandemic. The solutions introduced led to the extension of the legality of foreigners’ residence and work until the states announced in connection with COVID-19 were revoked or the regulations were repealed. These regulations are still in effect – although at the end of October 2022 a draft amendment to the regulations was announced to repeal them. This means that multitudes of foreigners who currently enjoy extended legality will have to legalize both their residency and work. Paralysis of the offices processing the application seems guaranteed.
February 24, 2022 was a day that changed the fate of the world forever, affecting the situation of migrants in Poland. Poland has become a major center of flight for Ukrainian citizens. Due to the increasingly frequent phenomenon of so-called circular migration (Poland-Ukraine-Poland…), it is difficult to estimate exactly how many war-migrants from Ukraine have found refuge in Poland. Approximate numbers speak of more than 7.5 million arrivals from Ukraine to Poland (as of early November 2022). Even taking into account that the same people may have crossed the border several times, this number is striking.