Amendments to the Act on foreigners in Poland

Tomorrow, April 27, 2019, new provisions will come into force to the Act on foreigners in Poland. The amendment includes the introduction of ways to combat "leisure tourism" and foreigners who come to Poland as students, but do not continue their education.

European countries need workers, and the most highly qualified. If the country needs new people who will work well for the state and remain permanently, it focuses particularly on students and researchers.

In January 2019, the Sejm adopted amendments to the Act on foreigners. The amendment adapts Polish legislation to Directive 2016/801 of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on the conditions of entry and stay of third-country nationals. The changes concern foreigners coming to Poland in order to conduct research, study, internship and work as part of European voluntary programs.

However, the Act does not contain provisions on the admission of pupils to school exchanges or as part of educational projects, as well as volunteers from non-European programs.

The purpose of Directive 2016/801 is to encourage highly qualified third-country nationals to come to the EU, in particular researchers and students. In addition, representing the EU as an attractive place for research and implementation of innovations, which increases its chances in the fight for talents on the global market.

Let's look at the main theses of the amendment to the Act on foreigners .

1. Possibility of obtaining a national visa or temporary residence permit for students, researchers or volunteers.

Receiving a Polish national visa or a temporary residence permit is possible for people coming to Poland in order to:

  • to take up full-time studies in educational institutions at any level, with the annotation "student" in the national visa or on the residence card,
  • running research programs with the annotation "scientist",
  • take an internship with the annotation "trainee",
  • participate in the voluntary programs of a European organization with the annotation "volunteer".

The novelty is that since the amendment to the Act came into force, foreigners who come to Poland for a preparatory course before taking up full-time studies will also be able to obtain a national visa or a temporary residence permit.

2. Requirement of approval of the host institution.

This amendment aims to prevent cases where foreigners come to Poland as students, but do not continue their studies.

"The proposal assumes establishment of the institution of approval by the minister competent for internal affairs of the units conducting studies, units organizing internships and organizational units, on whose behalf foreigners will perform benefits as volunteers," - reads wpolityce.pl .

During the verification, the unit will be checked for illegal activities in order to simplify the conditions for the transfer of fictitious students to Poland. Such approval will be valid for 2-5 years from the date of its receipt.

The obligation does not apply to public educational institutions whose activities are regulated by international agreements.

3. Mobility of students, short-term and long-term mobility of scientists and their families.

Mobility means the opportunity to participate in exchanges between educational institutions for the period: for students - up to 360 days, for researchers - 180/360 days.

This means that a student from a university in another EU country will be able to come to exchange for a Polish university for a period of up to 360 days, moreover he will be able to do so on the basis of a national visa or residence permit issued in another EU Member State.

This fragment also applies to scientists and their family members. A scientist can benefit from short-term mobility up to 180 days over a 360-day period.

In order for the scientist and his family to be able to benefit from long-term mobility to 360 days, it is necessary to apply for a temporary residence permit in Poland for long-term mobility.

With regard to the mobility conditions for students in Poland planning to travel to other EU Member States, they depend on the legislation of the host country.

4. Temporary residence permit after graduation or studies.

The law provides for the possibility of obtaining a temporary residence permit in order to find a job or start a business in Poland for graduates of Polish universities and researchers. To obtain a permit, you must submit a document confirming the completion of an educational institution or research. The permit will be issued for a period of 9 months.

It is worth adding that this amendment shortens the time to find a job that students could have previously counted on. Previously, graduates of Polish universities had the right to obtain a residence permit in order to find a job for a period of 12 months.

5. Preventing the phenomenon of "leisure tourism"

It is about combating situations when foreigners come to Poland or another Schengen country on the basis of a tourist visa, but they actually do the job or search for a job.

According to the Ministry of Interior and Administration, this phenomenon was noticed by the Polish authorities in 2017. Mainly citizens of Iraq, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India are applying for a temporary residence permit during their stay in Poland on the basis of a tourist visa.

As part of the fight against this phenomenon, amendments to the Act on foreigners provide for two new grounds for refusal to grant temporary residence and work permits. The refusal to initiate proceedings will concern foreigners staying in Poland on the basis of:

  • a Schengen visa or a national visa issued by the Polish authorities for tourism or family / friends;
  • a visa issued by another Schengen state for tourism or to visit family / friends.


Amendments to the Act on foreigners in Poland

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