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Draft Act amending the Act on Foreigners and certain other Acts

Draft Act amending the Act on Foreigners and certain other Acts

Date27 Mar 2024

The legislative draft of February 7, 2024, aimed at amending the Act on foreigners and certain other acts, provides for the introduction of a number of new regulations relating to the procedures for the entry and stay of foreigners in Poland. The proposed changes cover various aspects, such as residence applications formats and EU Blue Card regulations. Despite the favourable changes, the government’s proposed amendments to the Act on Foreigners fails to meet the expectations of experts, who believe that a number of problems remain unresolved.

The project entails several significant changes, including:

  • Implementation of the provisions of Directive (EU) 2021/1883 of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 20, 2021, on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment (EU Blue Card)
  • replacement of paper-based applications for temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits, and long-term EU resident permits with the obligation to submit them electronically using an online service via the Case Management Module.

As for the changes concerning the EU Blue Card, the project provides for several simplifications, such as shortening the period required to conclude a contract with a foreigner from 12 to 6 months. Another important change is to grant foreigners who have been granted temporary residence permits for highly qualified employment the right to conduct business activities on the same terms as Polish citizens. The new proposal also assumes a departure from specifying the employer and employment conditions in decisions, which is to make the EU Blue Card a type of general permit, enabling the unrestricted change of employer. Additionally, the draft is also to introduces a protection-guarantee mechanism, according to which the authority must notify the foreigner in advance of the intention to withdraw their EU Blue Card, allowing the foreigner to seek employment for either 3 or 6 months without the risk risking the withdrawal of the permit.

The proposed regulations also impose new information obligations on EU Blue Card holders, including:

  • Notification of the commencement of a period of unemployment.
  • Notification of a change in the entity entrusting the work.
  • Notification of cessation of compliance with the requirements for granting the EU Blue Card.
  • Notification of the commencement of long-term mobility of an EU Blue Card holder.

An important element of the amendment is also the digitization of residency permit application procedures, which is intended to relieve the burden on Polish authorities and speed up the processing of cases. However, it will still be necessary to appear in person at the office to submit fingerprints and provide documents necessary to verify the information contained in the application, as will be required by the voivode. The current practice of confirming the submission of an application with a stamp in the foreigner’s passport will be replaced by a special certificate confirming the submission of the application.

However, although this direction is commendable, there are concerns about its implementation, particularly in the context of the need for a qualified electronic signature or trusted profile, which may pose a barrier to some foreigners.

The planned date for adoption of the project by the Council of Ministers is the second quarter of 2024.

getsix Tax & LegalSource: This article was prepared by Joanna – Legal advisor at getsix® Tax&Legal

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