Magdalena Świtajska from the Employment Law practice group at Wardyński & Partners explains the sanctions faced by employers for illegally hiring foreigners and by foreigners working illegally in Poland.
Employing a foreigner illegally in Poland may have far-reaching consequences for the employer and employee. Along with the growing scale of the problem in Poland, every year the number of employers audited by the National Labour Inspectorate for the legality of their hiring practices is growing, and the Polish Parliament is seeking to stiffen the existing sanctions.
An employer is guilty of illegal hiring of a foreigner if it hires the foreigner without first obtaining a work permit (if required) or if it has obtained a work permit for the foreigner but employs the foreigner under different conditions or at a different job than provided for in the permit. Illegal employment of a foreigner is a petty offence subject to a fine of PLN 3,000 to 5,000.
A foreigner who works illegally in Poland, i.e. without a required work permit or without a required work visa or other legal basis for staying and working in Poland (e.g. a temporary residence permit), is guilty of a similar offence, subject to a fine of PLN 1,000 to 5,000. It is also illegal for a foreigner to work in Poland under different conditions or at a different job than provided in the work permit, or without concluding the required employment contract or service contract.
If illegal employment of a foreigner is discovered, labour inspectors may notify other authorities, including the Police or Border Guards, the province government, the Social Insurance Institution, and tax authorities. Notification of the Police or Border Guards may result in issuance of a deportation order, with costs assessed against the employer. If the employer is again found guilty of illegal employment of a foreigner, it will lose the ability to apply for a work permit for foreigners in the future.
Introduction of such severe sanctions may bring about implementation into Polish law of the “Frattini Directive,” adopted last year by the European Parliament, providing for stiffer financial sanctions and a ban on seeking EU funds by employers illegally hiring foreigners.