13.02.2020 – Conditions for foreigners to register at the Labour office as unemployed or employment seeking individuals

In Poland, the status of an unemployed is specified in the Act of 20 April 2004 on promotion of employment and on labour market institutions (Journal of Laws 2019, item 1482). The act applies both to Polish citizens and the specified groups of foreigners who intend to work or have already started work in Poland. An unemployed is a person without employment who’s not performing any paid work, but is ready and able to start working.

Foreigners from outside the EU, who lost their jobs, have the right to register at the labour office as unemployed if they have one of the below-indicated residential statuses:

  • Refugee status;
  • Permanent residence permit;
  • Long-term EU residence permit;
  • Temporary residence permit granted to perform work in a profession that requires high qualifications;
  • Temporary residence permit granted to conduct scientific research;
  • Long-term EU residence permit in another EU country connected with their intention to start work in Poland or run own business activity, start or continue studies at university, start or continue occupational training, or connected with different circumstances that justify their stay in Poland;
  • Residence permit due to humanitarian reasons or tolerated residence permit;
  • Temporary protection or supplementary protection in Poland;
  • Temporary residence permit for a family member of a Polish citizen,
  • A stamp in his or her travelling document that confirms the submission of an application for the temporary, permanent or long-term EU residence permit, if he or she had the temporary residence permit granted to a family member of a Polish citizen just before submitting the application.
  • The temporary residence and work permit, when the purpose of the foreigner’s stay is to perform work or fulfil a position on the board of a legal person, on condition that he or she does not own any shares in the company and directly before the registration as an unemployed was continuously employed in Poland for the period of at least 6 months, and meets the conditions specified in the act on promotion of employment and on labour market institutions.

A registered unemployed person has the right to:

  • Use the following services offered by the labour market for free: job agencies in the country and abroad, vocational counselling and participation in classes organized by vocational clubs and other employment support workshops organized by the poviat and voivodeship labour offices;
  • Apply for participation in financial training courses financed by the Labour Fund, as well as use other forms and tools of support, such as: internships, vouchers, vocational trainings for adults, one-time loans or funds to start own business activity, socially useful jobs, grants for telework, training loans, financing costs of licenses and examines, employment support benefits,
  • Apply for public and intervention works,
  • health insurance.

A person registered as an unemployed can get benefits from the poviat labour office if there isn’t any suitable job offer, internship, vocational training for adults, training courses, intervention or public works and who meets requirements necessary to receive them, i.e. the person, for the period of 18 months directly before the day of registration, had been employed for at least 365 days in total and had received remuneration in the amount at least equal to the minimum wage (work time does not matter in this case, the amount of remuneration does – it has to be in the amount at least equal to the minimum wage at that time).

Foreigners, who do not meet the conditions required for registration as unemployed can register as employment seeking individuals. They get access to services provided by labour offices, e.g. job agencies and vocational counselling.

Not only all foreigners with the right to register as unemployed can register as an employment seeking individual, but also:

  • foreigners with temporary residence and work permits, who reside in Poland to work or fulfil a position on the board of a legal person, on condition that they do not own any shares in the company;
  • foreigners with work visas issued to work in Poland;
  • foreigners with the temporary residence permit to study on bachelor’s degree studies, master’s degree studies, uniform master’s studies, third degree studies or to connect with their families, victims of human trafficking, granted due to family ties (acc. to art. 160 and 161 of the act on foreigners);
  • foreigners who have applied for the refugee status or their spouses, on condition that they have a required declaration (it can be obtained after the procedure to grant the refugee status takes more than 6 months and the delay does not result from the fault of the foreigner),
  • foreigners – family members of a Polish citizen, seeking employment, other paid work or other form of help specified in the act,
  • foreigners with work visas in the Republic of Poland granted on the basis of a seasonal work permit,
  • foreigners with temporary residence permits in Poland due to the performed seasonal work.