Red tape slows down employee acquisition

Currently, more than 40% of big companies in Poland employ foreign workforce. Employees from other countries, mainly Ukraine and other non-EU states, have been present here for a long time and constitute a substantial part of the labour market. Many businesses, especially those in the construction, manufacturing and agriculture sectors, rely heavily on workers from the East of Europe.

Today, it is not uncommon for Polish companies to search for new employees in such countries as Nepal or Turkey. Thousands of foreign workers enter Poland each year, and many more are still needed. The demand for labour force is still strong. However, Polish employers complain that state institutions make it difficult for them to fill out vacancies.

According to media reports, obtaining a work permit for a foreign employee currently takes not weeks, but months. Even though in theory reviewing work permit application should take no more than 30 days, in practice, in some regions of Poland, this period is being continuously prolonged by the authorities in charge of permit proceedings. Critics argue that it is not the administrative procedure that is to blame, but people. The delays are said to be caused by staff shortages and ineffective work.

To make things worse, Germany is opening its borders to Ukrainian skilled workers. Our southern neighbour, Czech Republic, has also recently taken some legislative steps to make it easier for companies to employ foreigners. Meanwhile, in Poland applicants are still forced to submit paper documents, even though the procedure could be done electronically.

Some voivodship offices, which review requests for worker permits, allow electronic submissions only for a limited number of applicants. Another issue that employers criticise are significant differences with respect to application processing times in various parts of Poland. Employers’ associations stress the fact that lack of qualified workforce and system deficiencies constitute a barrier which hinder the growth of Polish businesses.