Immigration law is constantly changing. In addition to procedural changes, more important ones are also introduced – legal institutions providing additional grounds for staying in the country and performing work there.
One could say that this is an additional complication of the law. It is important to note, however, that the principle is that people from outside the European Union cannot work in Poland or enter Poland – all possibilities in this regard, from visas to permanent residence permits are an exception to this rule.
Therefore, despite the fact that this is associated with a large complexity of regulations, it is beneficial to create new institutions – i.e. different grounds for staying in Poland and working here.
A relatively new institution can be considered so-called The EU Blue Card*, i.e. a residence and work permit to have a job, which needs qualified employees. Of course, it supposedly exists for a long time, but the fact that it should be considered a new one can be backed by the fact that in practice we had to remind clerks of its existence and sometimes even ask for correction of issued permits, because in the legal basis there were indicated provisions on a “regular” residence permit, not the EU Blue Card provisions.
The permit is intended for highly-qualified persons – this means that the work is performed by a foreigner, who has the so-called “higher professional qualifications”, so either the foreiner has completed his studies on a university or has at least five years of professional experience.
The requirements for obtaining it include those, which apply to the “standard” residence and work permit. In addition, the authorities require proof that the employee has higher professional qualifications. There are also some additional conditions (e.g. pay amounting to at least 150% of the average salary).
The fact that an employee has the EU Blue Card does not exempt the employer from the obligation to show that the employer is not able to meet the staffing needs in the local labour market (conducting a labour market test). However, in case of many professions requiring high qualifications, it is not necessary as they are included in the list of professions and types of work that do not require a labour market test (the list is kept by the voivode).
The EU Blue Card gives you some possibilities, which the standard work permit does not give you. For example, after two years of work, employee can change their employer based on the same permit (notification is required, but a change of decision is not). It is also much easier to move to Poland with your family – members of the foreigner’s family, who has a EU Blue Card have the right to obtain a residence permit, no matter how long the foreigner has already stayed and worked in Poland.
The permit is granted for a period of time longer by 3 months than the period of work, and in the case of employees whose profession requires a labour market test to be carried out, there are means to facilitate continuation of employment.
* The EU Blue Card should not be confused with the Polish institution of the Blue Card, which is related with domestic violence – the similarity of names is quite unfortunate.