Holders of humanitarian visas may now apply for work permit

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As of Tuesday, foreigners staying in Poland under the humanitarian visa may apply for a work permit, a move made by the Polish government in light of the recent developments in Belarus.

“When we realised that due to the situation in Belarus citizens of this country ought to receive long-term visas because of humanitarian reasons, the law needed to be overhauled as well so that Belarussians could undertake work once they have arrived in Poland,” Deputy Justice Minister Bartosz Grodecki said, adding that “until now the law did not provide for such a possibility.” The official also said that the move was a big change and a tip of the hat to Belarussian citizens.

Mr Grodecki stressed that thanks to the overhaul of the Foreigners Act, people staying in Poland on the grounds of a humanitarian visa would be able to work and “simply make a living.” He added that due to the crisis in Belarus, citizens of the country received their visas according to an accelerated procedure that did not require payment of fees. The humanitarian visas are issued for a time of 365 days.

The official noted that although citizens of other countries were welcome to benefit from humanitarian visas, this solution was dedicated to Belarusians in the most.

“Since the outbreak of the crisis in Belarus, over 1,200 people entered Poland in search of protection… 800 people entered into Poland under the humanitarian visa scheme so far,” the official said.

Which foreigners can work in Poland?

In line with the overhaul, holders of Schengen and humanitarian visas just like people needing to work due to the state’s national interest or international obligations, are eligible for a work permit. The motion for the issuing of a work permit is viewed by provincial offices.

The overhaul requires foreigners entering Poland and applying for a work permit to have travel medical insurance valid for the entire time of their stay in the country.

It also adjusts the regulations in the country so that they are in line with the US Visa Waiver Program to which Poland has joined in 2019.

The Office for Foreigners (UdSC) said that a new overhaul of the Labour and Social Policy Minister’s decree was being processed. This overhaul would release the holders of humanitarian visas from the obligation of having a work permit in order to start working in Poland.