No work permit required for remote work in Poland
Foreigners do not need to hold a work permit if they intend to work remotely in Poland for employers, who do not have legal presence in Poland, – was the individual response of the Department of the Labour Market of the Polish Ministry of Family and Social Policy, to our question of 14 March 2023.
Remote work is not connected to the territory of Poland, its labour market or economy, it does not actually require the foreigner’s physical presence in Poland (or any other specific location), so the choice of Poland may be deemed irrelevant from an employment perspective. These features make the legal nature of remote work different from that of posting an employee, which requires work to be performed at a specific location (and which, as a result, requires a work permit), and speak in favour of different treatment of these two categories of foreigners’ work.
On the one hand, this is good news for foreign employers that are looking for talent abroad, including in Poland and for foreign workers who are residing in Poland. This may be particularly relevant in view of the inflow of workers to Poland as a result of the war in Ukraine.
Nevertheless, one issue still remains: legalizing a person’s stay (residence). Although, this does not currently affect Ukrainian citizens, because special legislation has granted automatic legal residence in Poland to most of them, it may still be relevant for other nationalities. Polish legislation does not currently anticipate remote work for a foreign employer as a ground for the grant of a visa or a residence permit, contrary to what is available in some other countries. In such a situation, the foreign remote worker may still seek a long-term visa and a temporary residence permit by declaring “other” purpose in the application (a category allowing the documents to be granted in special circumstances). As there is no guarantee that a person will receive the documents without holding a work permit and since the decision is discretionary, in order to succeed, it is essential to be able to clearly evidence an objective for the stay in Poland (e.g. through personal, cultural or material ties).