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Migration and work visas. Expert Nadia Kurtieva explains

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Other countries are now also fighting for economic immigrants. With such an inefficient system, we may simply lose in this competition – says Confederation Lewiatan expert Nadia Kurtieva in an interview with TVN24 Biznes, referring to problems with obtaining work visas for foreigners. He points out that the main problem is booking visits to Polish diplomatic missions. This is due to, among other things, an inefficient drawing system and dishonest intermediaries who block “windows” for meetings with Polish officials.

Foreigners in Poland can apply for two types of visas – a Schengen visa or a national visa. “A Schengen visa is issued when a foreigner plans to stay in Poland for a short period of time, i.e. for a period not exceeding 90 days in each 180-day period, counted from the date of entry during the visa validity period,” explains one of the government websites.

READ MORE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided the data. This is how many visas Poland has issued to foreigners>>>

What is the visa procedure in Poland?

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It was noted that such a document, i.e. the uniform Schengen visa symbol C, allows a foreigner not only to stay on the territory of Poland, but also to move around all countries belonging to the Schengen zone.

However, a national visa (symbol D) is issued when a foreigner plans to stay on the territory of Poland for a period longer than 90 days (during one or several entries) during the visa validity period. “Based on it, a foreigner may also stay in Schengen countries for up to 90 days in each 180-day period,” we read on the gov.pl website.

Every Schengen and national visa entitles you to work, except for a visa issued for the purpose of tourism or temporary protection.

In an interview with the TVN24 Biznes portal, Confederation Lewiatan expert Nadia Kurtieva explains that “the work visa itself is issued on the basis of certain documents, which in turn must be obtained by employers in Poland.” – Here we have standard work permits for all foreigners and a simplified procedure for citizens of five countries. It is ArmeniaGeorgia, UkraineBelarus and Moldova. An employer who intends to employ a foreign employee applies for this document (work permit – ed.), he explains.

– The waiting time depends on the office to which we report, and this in turn depends on the address of the employer’s registered office. The waiting time for a work permit is about a month, in the case of a declaration – about 7 business days, but the waiting time may be extended. If the application contains formal deficiencies, the employer waits another month from the moment they are completed, he says.

However, a work permit does not mean that a foreigner can immediately start working in Poland. For this purpose, the foreigner must later apply for a work visa, which is the responsibility of Polish consulates or consular departments of Polish embassies in the foreigners’ countries of origin or residence.

– When we receive these documents legalizing the foreigner’s work, we must send them to him and the foreigner applies for a visit to the consulate to obtain a visa. If a foreigner comes from a country covered by visa-free travel (e.g. Ukraine, Georgia), he or she can come to Poland without a visa – says the expert.

– Citizens of other countries are required to have a visa or other residence document when entering Poland. The visa is issued by a consul in an office in the foreigner’s country of origin. There is an electronic system for booking dates – he points out.

However, he adds that “this is where the complications begin.”

They wait for months for an appointment

Nadia Kurtieva explains that the problem is that in some countries there is an inefficient sampling system, which means that the waiting time for an appointment can be up to 9-10 months.

The president of the Confederation Lewiatan, Maciej Witucki, had already drawn attention to this problem earlier in a letter dated July 14 to the director of the consular department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maciej Jakubowski. In some cases, the waiting time for a visit to a Polish diplomatic mission can be up to a year. As Witucki described, this is the case, for example, with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

– This means that available appointment slots are made available in specific time slots that are not shared with interested parties. Applicants do not receive any information about the total pool of available places or the total number of applications participating in the draw. The facilities do not indicate a specific opening time for new dates, which results in the need to spend a lot of time waiting for the opportunity to book an appointment – he points out.

– When trying to make an appointment, the person or the employer supporting the candidate in the visa process constantly monitors the website and waits for new slots to become available. In some countries, there are also dishonest intermediaries who simply block these slots – describes the expert.

Due to these difficulties, the waiting time for the meeting at the consulate is significantly longer. – In countries such as Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Turkey, due to this inefficient drawing system, the waiting time for an appointment may be up to nine or ten months. This is only the waiting time for an appointment at the consulate, when the visa application has not yet been submitted and we do not know whether it will be considered positively – emphasizes the expert from the Lewiatan Confederation.

In an interview with TVN24 Biznes, Nadia Kurtieva gives examples of specific foreigners. – In Kazakhstan we have an employee who waited five months – he points out.

– We had an example in Nigeria when a company was unable to keep a qualified employee in Poland due to an inefficient visa system. After obtaining visit D in December 2021, the foreigner came to Poland, his family, wife and two small children, waited for a visa meeting date from December 2021 to December 2022, i.e. a year. They sent requests for acceleration, tried to contact consultants, and after such a long separation, they decided to withdraw from the visa process and emigrated to Canada. He was a highly qualified employee, which is missing in our economy. Other countries are now also fighting immigrant workers. With such a dysfunctional system, we may simply lose in this competition – emphasizes the expert.

In one of many letters addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Confederation Lewiatan also described problems in the consular district in New Delhi. “According to information obtained from an international consulting company that currently supports three IT specialists in relocation from India to Poland, all attempts to arrange a visit to the consular district of New Delhi are ineffective,” we read.

“The company received information from one of the foreigners that there are external agencies on the local ‘visa’ market in India that block dates for submitting visa applications and then sell these dates to interested foreigners for 50,000 rupees (approx. PLN 2.5 thousand). – ed.)” – it was described.

According to Kurtieva, the problem has only gotten worse recently. – Employment of foreigners was not so popular before. However, we see that the number of employees from countries such as the Philippines and India is constantly growing. We are still actively recruiting employees from the East, but human resources from Eastern countries also have their limitations, and we saw this especially after the Russian invasion. The supply gap in the Polish labor market is constantly growing. We increasingly employ employees from Asia and Africa. Maybe that’s why we didn’t have such frequent reports of irregularities from our member companies before. My observations show that this year it has intensified, and compared to February, the waiting time for a visa in some countries has become even longer – he emphasizes.

The key point

Nadia Kurtieva points out that solving problems in consulting is crucial for Polish companies. – He estimates that approximately 300,000 people leave the Polish labor market every year. ZUS forecasts have also been published, which show that in the next few years we would need even more working-age migrants to stop the increase in the demographic dependency ratio, which has a negative impact on maintaining the security system, says the expert.

He adds that “when it comes to legalizing the stay of foreigners, Poland issues the most residence permits among all EU Member States.”

– However, given the shortage of qualified workers, other countries are also starting to become more open to migrants. However, they often pursue a more well-thought-out policy, have a migration strategy and control this process, explains Kurtieva.

He emphasizes that “the Lewiatan Confederation has been calling for years to start a discussion on an action plan that would comprehensively and coherently address the issues of coordination of migration processes.” – It has not been specified exactly who we want to attract to Poland, for how long, and what immigration model would respond to current social and economic challenges. The number of foreigners employed in Poland is constantly increasing, but we do not know which employees come to us and what competences and qualifications they have. At the moment, we do not have any migration strategy, which, in the face of increasing challenges on the labor market, may have disastrous economic and social consequences – he says.

Visa scandal

The National Prosecutor’s Office announced on Friday that the investigation it is conducting together with the CBA concerns irregularities in submitting applications for several hundred visas over a year and a half. She noted that less than half of these applications were approved. The irregularities being investigated concern Polish diplomatic missions in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the Philippines and Qatar.

August 31, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki dismissed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Piotr Wawrzyk. As he later explained, his resignation was due to ongoing explanatory proceedings to eliminate any doubts. Wawrzyk also disappeared from PiS electoral lists.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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