In response to the arrival of foreigners to Poland because of the conflict in Ukraine, The Polish government has developed legal solutions to help facilitate said foreigners’ legalization of their stay and work status. The indicated solutions are included in the Act of 12 March 2022 on assistance to citizens of Ukraine in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of that country. This law exists alongside the binding legal acts in the area of migration and asylum.
Who is affected by this Act?
The provisions of this Act apply to the following persons who have crossed the Polish border since February 24th, 2022:
- Citizens of Ukraine (including their spouses) who came directly from Ukraine
- Ukrainian citizens holding a Card of the Pole, who came to Poland with their immediate family due to military operations.
The Act shall not apply to citizens of Ukraine who have a permanent or temporary residence permit, a residence permit for long-term EU resident, and those who have refugee status, subsidiary protection, or approval for tolerated stay.
Ukrainians who have submitted applications for international protection (or on whose behalf such applications have been filed), or who have declared their intention to submit such applications, or who are concerned by such declarations of intent, are also not covered by the provisions of this Act. However, foreigners may still be covered by the Act if they withdraw the above application / declaration.
Legal residence of Ukrainian citizens in Poland
According to the Act, if a citizen of Ukraine has legally entered Poland starting on February 24th, 2022, and declares the intention to stay in Poland, his/her stay is considered legal for a period of 18 months with a start date on February 24th, 2022. The above provision also applies to the child born on the territory of Poland to a Ukrainian mother (the child is covered by this Law for the same amount of time as the mother), and to other members of the immediate family of a Ukrainian citizen holding a Card of the Pole.
A Ukrainian citizen’s departure from the territory of Poland for a period exceeding 1 month revokes his or her temporary protection.
The Council of Ministers will determine the date this Act terminates on by means of an ordinance. This termination will be determined by a number of factors including but not limited to: the number of foreigners that have arrived on the territory of Poland; the situation of the civilian population; and the prospect of the conclusion of the conflict on the territory of Ukraine.
Legal work of Ukrainian citizens in Poland
During the period of legal stay, both a citizen of Ukraine having temporary protection introduced by this Act, and one not benefiting from this protection, but legally residing in Poland, is entitled to work in the territory of the Republic of Poland. The work is legal if the employer (via the domain: praca.gov.pl) within 14 days from the date of commencement of work, notifies the poviat labor office about this fact.
Moreover, a citizen of Ukraine may register with the employment office and be recognized as an unemployed person or a jobseeker.
Economic activity of Ukrainian citizens in Poland
Ukrainian citizens residing in Poland legally may undertake and conduct business activity in Poland on the same terms as Polish citizens, provided that they obtain a PESEL number. In the case of Ukrainians who came to Poland before February 24th, 2022, they can set up a sole proprietorship or any commercial company only if they have a residence permit that entitles them to do so.
A Ukrainian citizen who came to Poland before February 24th, 2022 and does not have such a residence permit, cannot establish a sole proprietorship, civil partnership, general partnership or partnership.
Legal basis: The Act of 12 March 2022 on assistance to citizens of Ukraine in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of that country (Journal of Laws of 2022, item 583).
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