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War in Ukraine. Ukrainians in Poland – PESEL number, temporary residence permit, temporary protection

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Two years have passed since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Poland has become a refuge for many Ukrainian citizens. Nearly one million people from this country residing in Poland have an active PESEL number. It enables refugees, among other things, to take up work and access benefits.

Already in the first hours of the war, crowds appeared at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossings. Due to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of citizens Ukraine it became necessary to adopt regulations that would regulate their status and enable them to function in our country.

Citizens of Ukraine with PESEL numbers

According to the regulations, Ukrainian citizens have time to submit an application for a PESEL number within 30 days from the date of arrival in Poland. Having a PESEL number with the UKR status assigned to it is an official confirmation of the right to stay in the territory of Poland and the accompanying rights resulting from individual provisions of the special act.

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“At the end of December 2023, 956,633 people from Ukraine staying in Poland had an active PESEL number,” it was reported in a recent announcement by the Ombudsman for Children.

According to forecasts by UNHCR – the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there will be 1.1 million refugees in Poland by the end of 2024. More than 90 percent are women, children and the elderly.

From April 1, 2023, citizens of Ukraine who have a PESEL number with UKR status can apply for temporary residence permits in order to work or running a business. The solution is addressed to people who feel confident on the Polish labor market and want to give up the use of temporary protection. To apply for a temporary residence permit, an application must be submitted to the voivodeship office competent for the place of residence of the Ukrainian citizen.

The Office for Foreigners points out that the possibility of applying for the mentioned residence permits is optional. “Ukrainian citizens who arrived in Poland from February 24, 2022 and do not take advantage of this solution will still be able to legally stay in the country on the basis of temporary protection (as a result of the decision of the EU Council – ed.),” the office explained.

A citizen of Ukraine must remember that if he or she uses temporary protection, he or she will lose the right to stay legally if he or she leaves Poland for more than 1 month. This limitation, however, does not apply to persons sent to work abroad by entities operating in Poland.

Legality of stay extended

On Monday, February 19, the president Andrzej Duda signed the law on assistance to citizens of Ukraine, which, among other things, extends the legality of stay of Ukrainian war refugees until June 30, 2024. This law results from the decision of the EU Council, which extended temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees until March 4, 2025.

The Act also introduces changes consisting in extending to 28 months the period during which, among others, a citizen of Ukraine who obtained the qualifications of a doctor or dentist outside the territory of the EU Member States may be granted permission to practice the profession of a doctor or dentist and be granted a conditional right to practice the profession of doctor or dentist.

The Act also introduces changes to the Personal Income Tax Act and the Corporate Income Tax Act. They consist in extending the period of tax preferences related to counteracting the effects of hostilities on the territory of Ukraine until 2024.

Help for Ukrainians

Citizens of Ukraine who came from this country to Poland after February 23, 2022 in connection with hostilities and obtained legal residence in our country are entitled to the benefit 800 plus. According to data from the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy, in December 2023 500 plus benefit (from January 1, 800 plus) received PLN 209.7 thousand. children, citizens of Ukraine.

Refugees from Ukraine are also entitled to free health care in Poland if they present a document confirming crossing the border no earlier than February 24, 2022.

Students from Ukraine at the age of compulsory schooling and compulsory education (7-18 years old) are admitted to public schools and provided with care and education under the conditions applicable to Polish citizens. Admission to the school is possible throughout the entire school year, and the grade in which education is continued is determined based on the total years of schooling completed abroad.

Ukrainians set up companies in Poland

Ukrainian citizens seeking refuge in Poland can quickly start working without unnecessary bureaucracy. Refugees who arrived in Poland after February 24, 2022 may, after confirming their identity, receive a PESEL number and apply for a job. According to the regulations, the employer must notify the competent labor office about entrusting work to a foreigner within 14 days. Registration is possible at praca.gov.pl.

According to data ZUS over 755.8 thousand people work in Poland Ukrainians. For comparison, in March 2022, the number of insured citizens of this country was 666.7 thousand, 39.7 thousand more than more than in December 2021

Most Ukrainians work in the following voivodeships: Masovian (184.1 thousand), Greater Poland (89.2 thousand), Lower Silesia (88.6 thousand), Silesian (71.7 thousand) and Lesser Poland (62.2 thousand) .

Ukrainian citizens most often choose work in the field of administrative services and support activities, as well as in industrial processing, construction and transport.

People in their prime come to Poland to work, i.e. from 25 to 49 years of age, with the majority of people with a Ukrainian passport working at the age of 30-39.

Over the last several months, the economic activity of Ukrainian citizens in Poland has increased. The Polish Economic Institute reported in a report that in 2023, almost every tenth (9.4%) business activity in Poland was started by a citizen of Ukraine.

Data from the Central Registration and Information on Economic Activity (CEIDG) – cited by PIE – show that approximately 28.6 thousand were created last year. Ukrainian active sole proprietorships, i.e. 1.8 times more than in the entire year 2022.

Polish Economic Institute

Ukrainian enterprises operate primarily in the following industries: construction (24 percent), information and communication (18 percent) and other service activities (14 percent), said a think tank associated with the prime minister’s office.

Main photo source: PAP/Darek Delmanowicz

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