How to relocate foreign employee and their family

A growing number of Wroclaw-based companies are seeking personnel abroad. How to smoothly and easily relocate your foreign employees and their families? How to find accommodation, school for their children and obtain a PESEL number? Follow our guide to learn more about the procedures required to relocate non-EU personnel.

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    Photograph: Janusz Krzeszowski

One of the frequent reasons to give up relocating from one country to the other is family or children, who are not ready to take the risk of changing their environment or embracing a different culture. This is understandable because families usually do not want to separate to work in different locations. However, there is a group of people who decide to take the risk and relocate. Wroclaw is one of their destinations. Yuriy Nagirnyi and his family relocated to Wroclaw from Ukraine.

"When my employer offered me a job for a year in Poland, I had no second thoughts about it. I am from Western Ukraine myself, where Poland is perceived as similar in customs and mentality. It turned out that, despite a number of similarities, people in Poland display a far more positive attitude to life. When my annual employment contract came to an end, me and my wife decided that we were going to stay for a longer period of time, if not forever. Each day we discover something new in Polish culture or history, we like to spend our time and resources doing this," says Yuriy Nagirnyi, employed at Luxoft in Wroclaw.

A number of corporations are based in Wroclaw that assist in making the relocation of foreign employees and their families smooth and easy. They help in finding accommodation or school for children.

"The process of relocating highly skilled IT specialists is challenging both formally and in terms of HR. On the one hand, the employer has to see to logistics or helping their personnel to settle, but on the other, it is equally important to assist the employees and their relative as they adjust to their new environment. It is usually families who find it challenging to adjust to a new environment. We go out of our way to help both the professionals and their families to overcome their language barrier. That's why we finance their courses in Polish. We assist families in renting or buying a flat, understanding the Polish legal system, obtaining a residence permit or PESEL number, which is necessary in a number of different procedures. We are striving to make both foreign professionals and their relatives feel at home in Wroclaw. That's why we organise icebreakers for foreign personnel. Our guide takes our new employees on a trip around the city. All these solutions help the relocated families to address their challenges," says Bartosz Strożek, Regional Director at Luxoft in Wroclaw.

Relocation: how to legalise your residence in Wroclaw

So a non-Polish family have decided to relocate to Wroclaw. What should they do to legalise their residence in Poland.

In practice, the situation is the following: once you have obtained your work visa (issued to candidates who have obtained their work permits), you can exercise the right to live and work in Poland. Your spouse and children can join once they obtain any type of visa they are eligible for. This can be a tourist or business visa.

Temporary residence: residence card

When in Poland, on the last day before the visa's expiry at the latest, each family member is required to submit an application for a temporary residence permit with suitable attachments. In order to do this, an application must be made at your local or prospective Province Office in Poland. The temporary residence permit is issued as a residence card, and if the permit is issued for candidates who seek to obtain work and residence permits combined, the office issues the residence card with an annotation saying "eligible for employment".

Residence card template. Source:

In Wroclaw, foreign professionals can apply for their residence cards at the Lower Silesia Province Office, Department of Civic Affairs and Foreign Residents. You can also book a date to file your application to avoid queues, which have been getting increasingly longer recently.

Ten days after the submission of your documents, your family members who obtained short-term visas are eligible for a stamp in their passports that entitles them to stay in Poland until they receive their residence permits. You are not allowed to leave Poland when your visa expires and you have a stamp in your passport. You should wait until you obtain another residence card.

Once your application has been submitted, the administrative procedure can take from 3 to 6 months. Your residence card in turn expires after 3 months. Those of you who travel abroad a lot are recommended to apply as soon as possible.

The list of all the necessary documents can be found on the website of the Lower Silesia Province Office in Wroclaw. You may also want to download the file "Information for Foreign Residents" in the language of your choice and prepare the attachments following the information provided in Point 4.5 (Documents). Since the whole process is quite time-consuming, you can also use a proxy and entrust your case to someone with suitable experience in representing foreign applicants at the Province Office in your area. The power of attorney costs 17 PLN.

How much does it cost?

The fee for issuing a temporary residence and work permit is 440 PLN, and for issuing a temporary residence permit, which has been described above, is 340 PLN. The condition for obtaining a residence card once the process comes to its conclusion is that each person who has made the application presents their proof of address (lease agreement, purchase agreement, etc.) and pays a fee for issuing their residence card in the amount of 50 PLN.

Work permit or "Declaration of Intention"?

If a prospective employee wants to relocate to Wroclaw with the entire family, it is advisable that he or she has a work permit or is employed on the basis of the Declaration of Intention to Offer Employment to a Citizen of the Republic of Armenia, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Georgia, Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. In the latter case, some family members have encountered difficulties getting a visa to Poland. Which solution is favourable to foreign nationals and why?

"We often speak to companies that employ personnel from Ukraine, Belarus or Russia. We make an agreement that if their prospective employee wants to relocate to Poland with the entire family, it is recommended that they follow a longer procedure, that is, a work permit, instead of applying for what we call the declaration. In the latter case, family members are sometimes refused an entry visa," says Aleksandra Kłonowska-Drozd from the Wroclaw Metropolitan Area Development Agency.

Sylwia Jurgiel, Spokesperson for the Lower Silesia Province Office, informs that when it comes to employment opportunities for foreign nationals in Poland, the Province Office makes no distinction between a work permit and the declaration of intention to offer employment to foreign professionals. Both documents allow foreign nationals to work legally in Poland. The only difference is the period during which a foreign national is eligible for work in Poland. Those who obtained the declaration are eligible to work in Poland for 180 days over a period of 12 consecutive months, whereas in extreme cases it may take as long as 5 years for a work permit to expire.

"National or Schengen visas for family members who would like to join the foreign professional are a different story. According to the regulations, visas are issued by a consul competent for your place of permanent residence. It is at the consul's discretion to decide who obtains a visa. If the consul has doubts as to whether grant a visa to your family members against your declaration of intention to offer employment, than your employer may want to apply in writing for a work permit at your Local Province Office, which is likely to make a strong claim in your favour, as it shows that you have found employment in Poland and have a regular and steady source of income. The declaration of intention to offer employment is a declaration only and not a guarantee, and we have dealt with many cases where foreign nationals tried to obtain a visa under false pretenses using the declaration," says Sylwia Jurgiel.

"Employment on the basis of the Declaration of Intention to Offer Employment to a Foreign Citizen is a simple and smooth procedure that allows the employment of candidates from Ukraine and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union for 6 months over a period of 12 consecutive months. This means that after 6 months the employee has to obtain a work permit from the employer or return to Ukraine for at least 6 months. This employment option is favourable to those candidates who would like to relocate to Poland with their families," says Małgorzata Walat, Foreign Markets Director at Sanpro JOB Service BPO Sp. z o.o. S.K.

Foreign Professionals in Wroclaw [GUIDE]

Read more:

Employment for foreign candidates in Wroclaw (procedures).

Foreign residents on rise in Wroclaw

The feature was prepared in collaboration with RelocateYou and the Wroclaw Metropolitan Area Development Agency

Oksana Kartavtseva
President of RelocateYou sp. z o.o.

Aleksandra Kłonowska-Drozd
Project Manager