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Alert: Changes to the Poland Business Harbour visa program


The Polish government announced an extension of the “Poland. Business Harbour” visa program. Applicants from Azerbaijan will be able to obtain a PBH visa. In total, the program is now open to foreigners from 7 countries (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine). At the same time rules of the program will change for Belarus from 1 February 2022.

The PBH program is intended for IT specialists who want to start in Poland. The benefits remain unchanged: the possibility of obtaining a visa for one year in a simplified process (less documents required) for the employee and family members, the possibility of performing work without a work permit, and facilitating entry to Poland.

Holders of visas with the annotation “Poland. Business Harbour” are exempt from a requirement to hold a work permit during validity of the visa.

However, the regulations still contain a loophole. The loophole prevents legal performance of work after the PBH visa expires and before obtaining another document legalizing work in Poland (such as appropriate residence permit in Poland or a work permit).

Citizens of Azerbaijan are not able to perform work based on declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner (also known as Special Permission) which makes it possible to secure further right to work within under one month. Process of obtaining work permit for them may take even half a year or more, depending on region on Poland.

As PBH visas are issued for one year, we recommend to apply for documents legalizing further work well in advance. This allows to minimalize risk of losing right to legal work in Poland after expiration of PBH visa.

Visas under the PBH program are also issued to spouses and children of employees. The family members will be able to enter Poland without additional entry approval from Border Guard (that may be required based on restrictions introduced due to Covid epidemy). However, the PBH visa does not offer exemption from quarantine.

Currently, PBH visas are also available to specialists from Belarus, who can demonstrate their job experience or education in an IT field but have not yet found Polish employer. However, rules for Belarus will change from 1 February 2022. It will no longer be possible to obtain PBH visa without support of Polish company participating in the PBH program.

The change is not connected with cancellation of already issued visas. Foreigners from Belarus who obtained PBH visa without support of Polish employer, may still benefit from visas until end of their validity