Fewer restrictions for foreign employees

Polish emigration to Germany, The Netherlands and the UK for better-paying jobs has led to shortages of workers in many sectors of the Polish economy.That has prompted Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s government to make it easier for citizens of three countries outside the EU to work here.Employers can now hire Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians without the work permits that the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy once demanded.The only requirement for the immigrants to obtain three-month visas is an employer?s guarantee to hire them.In the past, immigrant workers had to complete a dozen requirements and pay a fee of almost 2,000 zloty.The short term of the visas means that Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian workers will not have the same rights that citizens of EU countries do to work in Poland.  Vice Minister of Labor Kazimierz Kuberski said the Polish economy needs more programmers, engineers, medical workers, construction workers and agricultural workers. To help Poland obtain those workers, he said, the ministry plans to seek additional changes in the laws governing guest workers. And it plans to publish job advertisements in Ukraine. The ministry is also talking with China, India and Vietnam about allowing their citizens to work in Poland without permits. News reports says there is little chance of that happening in the near future, however. The relaxed restrictions mean that many of the estimated 80,000 to 300,000 foreigners who have been working illegally in Poland will likely become taxpayers. Because of the workers’ illegal status, employers don’t register them. That means the government misses out on taxing them and on getting the social security payments that employers are supposed to make on their workers.The change in both immigration and labor laws also is good news for those who have lived in Poland illegally for at least 10 years. The “second illegal-immigrant amnesty” provision gives illegals six months to legalize their stay.To receive a permanent residency card, a foreigner must certify that he or she has lived in Poland, with breaks no longer than 10 months, since January 1, 1997. Two other conditions for the card are a job and an apartment rental contract. Four years ago 4,000 people legalized their stays in Poland. Most were from Armenia or Vietnam.The length-of-stay requirement for the second amnesty is longer this time so fewer applicants are expected. The first wave of amnesty recipients had to prove they had been in the country six years.

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