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A short guide to employing a non-EU citizen in Poland


by Małgorzata Kolasa-Dorosz

4 August 2022

More and more employers want to hire citizens from countries outside the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland (the so-called third countries) in Poland. Using the example of a non-resident Indian citizen, we explain how to lawfully and correctly employ a foreigner in Poland.

In order to lawfully employ an Indian citizen in Poland you need:

  • a legal residence;
  • a legal job;
  • an employment contract / a civil law contract;
  • to ensure that work is done on the terms and conditions laid down in the documents legalizing the job.

In the case described above, once a potential candidate for a job has been found, it is the future employer who has to legalise the foreigner's right to work in Poland. 

Work permit

First, the employer must obtain a work permit for the employee, unless the foreigner needs no work permit by law. 

Applications for a work permit may be submitted not only by employers who have their registered office, branch or establishment in Poland, but also by foreign employers who have their registered office in a third country and have no branch, establishment or other form of organised activity in Poland. This is particularly important for employers who hire, for example, qualified specialists abroad and wish to post them to a Polish company in collaboration with a Polish entity. 

The application for a work permit must be submitted by the hiring entity (not the potential employee) to the provincial office competent for the employer’s registered office (or the registered office of the entity to which the employee will be posted). Depending on the type of permit (which depends on the circumstances of the case) the application must be completed accordingly and accompanied by the required attachments, together with proof of payment for the permit fee. You can also appoint an attorney to handle the proceedings on behalf of the employer. The final decision on whether or not to issue a permit is up to the provincial governor. 

The work permit contains the specific terms and conditions of employment that must be included in the employment contract (civil law contract). The foreigner must perform the work on the terms and conditions specified in the permit (changes of certain elements, e.g. the registered office of the hiring entity, do not require an application for a new permit). The work permit is issued for a certain period (of maximum 3 years, but can be extended later).  

After obtaining the work permit, the hiring entity is obliged to:

  • provide one copy of the work permit to the Indian job candidate so that he or she can obtain a residence title;
  • inform the provincial governor in writing of e.g. the foreigner's failure to take up employment or of its interruption;
  • conclude a written contract with the foreigner (both in Polish and in a language the foreigner understands) on the terms and conditions specified in the work permit.

The entity hiring a foreigner may apply for an extension of the work permit no earlier than 90 days and no later than 30 days before the permit expiries (as long as it is for work under the same terms and conditions as before). If the application for the extension of the permit is submitted in accordance with the law, the foreigner's work is considered legal until the decision extending the permit is issued (however, the lawfulness of the residence title in Poland should still be monitored). 

Residence title

In order for a candidate from India to legally work in Poland, he or she must apply for a title to reside in Poland (e.g. a work visa) as soon as he or she receives the copy of the work permit. An application for a work visa may be submitted in person with all the required documents attached. If the visa application is refused, the future employer's work permit does not authorise entry, stay or work in Poland.

To obtain a work visa, an Indian citizen is likely to choose a Polish diplomatic post in Mumbai or New Delhi (depending on where he or she lives). The visa application must meet certain conditions and is subject to a fee. Among the necessary documents to be attached to the application is proof of medical insurance. A Polish visa is issued or denied within 15 days of the application date, but this period may be extended. 

As the application for a work permit for an Indian citizen is a multi-stage and formally complex process, you are welcome to contact the experts at Rödl & Partner. We will be happy to clarify any doubts you may have and assist you in obtaining the relevant documents to legalise the foreigner's work and stay in Poland.


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Klaudia Kamińska-Kiempa

Attorney at law (Poland)


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