The Polish government has reportedly begun relaxing work permit requirements for certain individuals working remotely in the country for foreign employers. The policy change has been announced in agency guidance issued by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, which exercises responsibility over the Polish labor market. The move is a departure from the government’s previous policy requiring nearly all gainfully employed foreign workers located in Polish territory to obtain a work permit – even if their physical location was incidental to their work. Poland’s relaxation of work permit rules for remote workers comes as several other countries – including Spain, Italy, Romania, Iceland, and the United Arab Emirates – have introduced remote worker (or “Digital Nomad”) visas to attract an increasingly mobile class of global talent.
Policy Shift in Favor of Remote Workers
According to the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, remote workers are exempt from the normal requirement to obtain a work permit if they meet several specific requirements:
- The foreign national is staying in Poland principally for a purpose different than performing work for the foreign employer;
- The nature of the work performed remotely is such that the work could hypothetically be performed from any country;
- The work performed remotely does not require the worker’s physical presence in Poland;
- The work performed remotely is not related to the territory, labor market, or the economy of Poland; and
- The foreign national’s stay in Poland is “accidental” from the point of view of the remote work performed in Poland.
Although the exception above is not expressly stated in Polish law, the ministry’s interpretation is considered authoritative.
Upcoming Changes to Polish Legislation
In concert with the ministry’s updated policy, the Polish government is considering legislative changes that would make it easier for remote workers to live and work in Poland. Although the bill is not expected to be introduced until 2024, under the present draft foreign nationals would be able to undertake remote work in Poland without a work permit, if:
- The work for a foreign employing entity is performed occasionally and incidentally;
- The work is not related to the labor market and the economy of Poland;
- The work is performed by a foreign national who stays in Poland for a purpose other than performing of this work; and
- The work is not intended to provide services by a foreign employing entity from or in the territory of Poland and it is not organized directly or indirectly by the foreign employer.
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