I. Main assumptions

Due to the ongoing armed conflict on the territory of Ukraine, on March 7, 2022, the Government adopted a draft of a special act on assistance to Ukrainian citizens (hereinafter referred to as the "bill"). On March 8, 2022, the first works on the bill in parliamentary committees took place.

The new regulations are to constitute an ad hoc legal basis for legalizing the stay of foreigners who, as a result of hostilities, were forced to leave their country. The bill is also intended to enable Ukrainian citizens more free access to the Polish labour market and social benefits.

The bill specifies:

  1. special rules for entrusting work to citizens of Ukraine residing legally in the territory of the Republic of Poland;
  2. specific rules for undertaking and carrying out economic activity by Ukrainian citizens legally residing in the territory of the Republic of Poland;
  3. assistance provided by voivodes, local government units and other entities to citizens of Ukraine;
  4. establishing an Assistance Fund to finance or co-finance the implementation of tasks to help Ukrainian citizens;
  5. certain rights of Ukrainian citizens whose stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland is considered legal;
  6. special rules for extending the periods of legal stay of Ukrainian citizens and the documents issued by Polish authorities regarding the rights to enter and stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland;
  7. certain rights of Polish citizens and citizens of Ukraine who are students, academic teachers or research workers entering from the territory of Ukraine;
  8. specific regulations concerning the education, upbringing and care of children and students who are citizens of Ukraine, including support for local government units in the implementation of additional educational tasks in this regard;
  9. specific rules for the organization and operation of universities in relation to the provision of study places for Ukrainian citizens.

The bill is to be a special act, existing next to the legal acts in force in the area of ​​migration and asylum, in particular the act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 2354, as amended), hereinafter referred to as the "Act on Foreigners", and the Act of June 13, 2003 on granting protection to foreigners within the territory of the Republic of Poland (Journal of Laws of 2021, items 1108 and 1918), hereinafter referred to as "the Act on granting protection to foreigners".

II. Legal stay for 18 months and a granted PESEL

The bill in Art. 2 clause 1 assumes that every citizen of Ukraine who has legally entered the territory of Poland after February 24, 2022 and at the same time declares the intention to stay in Poland, will be legally staying for a period of 18 months from February 24, 2022. Moreover, travel for a period of up to 1 month from the territory of the Republic of Poland will not deprive the citizen of Ukraine of the right to stay legally in the light of the above provision.

It should be noted that the above solutions regarding the recognition of residence as legal will not apply to citizens of Ukraine:

  1. with:
  1. permanent residence permit,
  2. long-term resident's European Union residence permit,
  3. temporary residence permit,
  4. refugee status,
  5. subsidiary protection,
  6. consent for tolerated stay;
  1. who:
  1. have submitted applications for international protection in the Republic of Poland or on behalf of which such applications have been submitted, or,
  2. declared their intention to submit applications for international protection in the Republic of Poland.

The bill also provides an authorization for the Council of Ministers to determine, by way of an ordinance, the last day of the period in which legal entry into the territory of the Republic of Poland directly from the territory of Ukraine will result in the recognition that his stay is legal according to the principles described above. When issuing such an ordinance, the Council of Ministers will take into account the number of foreigners arriving on the territory of the Republic of Poland, the situation of the civilian population and the prospects of ending hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, as well as defence, state security and the protection of public safety and order.

In addition, the provisions of the Bill provide for the granting of a PESEL number to Ukrainian citizens who come to the territory of the Republic of Poland in connection with hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, which will allow the implementation of a number of public services, including business activities. For this purpose, the Bill proposes a special procedure for obtaining a PESEL number upon an application containing a catalogue of basic data. Importantly, it is supposed to be a deformalized procedure that allows you to obtain a PESEL number without the need to show the legal basis for its possession. A specimen of such an application is to be published in the Public Information Bulletin of the minister responsible for computerization. The application will be accompanied by a photo of the person whose PESEL number is issued and their fingerprints will be taken.

III. Employment assistances

The bill, in accordance with the assumptions adopted by the Council of Ministers, entitles Ukrainian citizens to work in the territory of the Republic of Poland, provided that their stay has been recognized as legal in accordance with the Bill (Article 2 (1)) or the existing provisions of law.

Moreover, in order to take advantage of the above solution, according to the report of the Sejm committee submitted to the Sejm (form no. 2077 on the website of the Sejm's legislative work) it is enough for the entity entrusting the performance of work to a citizen of Ukraine to notify the poviat labour office competent for the seat or place of residence of the entity within 14 days from the date of commencement of work by a citizen of Ukraine. Notification of entrusting work to a citizen of Ukraine takes place via the ICT system - praca.gov.pl.

Failure to meet even one of the above two conditions means that you cannot work without a work permit.

In the aforementioned notification, the entity entrusting the performance of work to the citizen of Ukraine provides:

  1. information on the entity entrusting the performance of work to a citizen of Ukraine:
  1. name or given name (s) and surname,
  2. the address of the seat or place of residence,
  3. telephone number or e-mail address of a business nature,
  4. NIP and REGON identification number - in the case of an entity conducting business activity, or PESEL number - in the case of a natural person,
  5. entry number in the register of entities running employment agencies - in the case of an entity entrusting work to a citizen of Ukraine, who runs an employment agency providing temporary work services,
  6. PKD symbol and description of activities related to the work of Ukrainian citizens;
  1. personal data of a citizen of Ukraine:
  1. first name (s) and surname,
  2. date of birth,
  3. gender,
  4. citizenship,
  5. the type, number and series of the travel document or other document confirming or making it possible to establish identity and the country in which this document was issued,
  6. PESEL number - if assigned;
  1. the type of contract between the entity entrusting the performance of work and the citizen of Ukraine;
  2. position or type of work performed;
  3. place of work.

The Bill authorizes the minister of labour to determine, by means of an ordinance, the number of citizens of Ukraine who may be employed by the entity entrusting the performance of work. This number is to be determined in relation to the number of all persons to whom this entity entrusts work, guided by the reasons of state security and public order, protection of local labour markets and the principle of complementarity of employment of foreigners in relation to Polish citizens.

The Bill in question also provides for the possibility of undertaking and carrying out economic activity on the terms applicable to Polish citizens by Ukrainian citizens who legally reside in the territory of the Republic of Poland. The legality of the stay will be examined in the light of this special act (e.g., pursuant to Art. 2, Art. 35 and Art. 39 - i.e., legal stay, temporary residence permit, extended visa) or on the basis of the Act of 12 December 2013, about foreigners.

The right to undertake and pursue economic activity will depend on prior registration of a citizen of Ukraine in the PESEL register, in order to ensure the security of economic transactions. It is also important that in the event of the loss of the right to legally reside in the territory of the Republic of Poland, the entrepreneur - citizen of Ukraine will be removed from the Central Register and Information on Economic Activity on general terms.

IV. Simplifications in obtaining a temporary residence permit

The Bill regulates the issue of further legalization of the stay of Ukrainian citizens, provided that their stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland is or was considered legal in accordance with the previously indicated Art. 2 clause 1. Such a citizen of Ukraine will be granted a temporary residence permit upon his/her request, for a single period of 3 years, starting from the date of the decision. A citizen of Ukraine will have the right to submit an application for a temporary residence permit not earlier than 9 months from the date of legal entry to Poland, and not later than within 18 months from that date. In accordance with the proposed legal regulations, the temporary residence permit will be granted by the voivode competent for the place of residence of the Ukrainian citizen on the day of submitting the application.

The newly created provisions provide that the basis for granting a temporary residence permit and the refusal to grant the above-mentioned permits, will only be grounds regulated in the Bill. The Bill assumes that the temporary residence permit will not be issued or will be revoked in a situation when it is required for reasons of state defence or security or protection of public safety and order, or when the data of a Ukrainian citizen is entered in the list of foreigners whose stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland is undesirable and in the event that the application was submitted by failure to meet the deadline. The conditions defined in this way are a significant simplification in relation to the requirements imposed by the Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners.

It should be emphasized that a citizen of Ukraine who has been granted the temporary residence permit described above will be entitled to work in the territory of the Republic of Poland without the need for a work permit.

V. Vacatio legis

The Bill in the scope discussed above is to enter into force on the day of its publication, with effect from February 24, 2022. The purpose of the act is to regulate certain matters, including the introduction of facilitation in the employment of Ukrainian citizens, in connection with the mass influx of foreigners directly from the territory of Ukraine.

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