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GMI Legal Update: Amendments to Ukrainian Special Bill – overview of the most significant changes


Newest amendments to the Special Bill on help to foreigners from Ukraine and to some other acts are in force from 28 January. They in particular provide for obtaining certain types of temporary residence permit by Ukrainian refugees. Moreover, the adopted protective mechanism should help them to avoid receiving negative residence permit decisions.

Another important points are changes on work notifications for Ukrainians. We have already shared the alert on a new obligation upon the employers in this regard and the additional 14 days deadline to submit missing notifications for all Ukrainians holding combined temporary residence and work permit (Single Permit) with an annotation of exemption from the work permit under the Special Bill. The article is available here.

The other most significant changes to the Special Bill are:

  1. Polish residence documents (visas and residence permits) extended based on COVID-19 regulations will expire on 23 August 2023. This will be the case unless the epidemic emergency state is revoked in Poland before that date. If this that case, the documents will cease to be valid on the day the state is revoked. It is advised that impacted foreigners apply for residence permits to extend their legal stay in Poland as soon as possible.
  2. From 1 April 2023 refugees will gain the opportunity to apply for a Single Permit, Blue Card or residence permit based on running business in Poland. This is only applicable to Ukrainian nationals who both stay in Poland as beneficiaries of the temporary protection under the Special Bill and registered with local administration to obtain PESEL number with “UKR” annotation. Unfortunately, children and other dependents will not be able to benefit from this solution, because other types of temporary residence permit are not currently available to them. At the same time, the previously applicable special residence procedure provided for all refugees from Ukraine was repealed. Residence permit applications submitted under this procedure before these changes came into force will be left unprocessed.
  3. All Ukrainians applying for abovementioned temporary residence permits will be protected from obtaining negative decision – in case of not meeting criteria for a residence permit, an applicant will receive a separate type of residence permit for only 1 year (subject to exceptions). Such a protection mechanism will only be in place until 24 August 2023.
  4. The new rules have automatically extended right of stay in Poland until 24 August 2023 for both Ukrainians who entered Poland due to war and Ukrainians already staying in Poland before 24 February 2022.
  5. Refugees can now register with local administration to obtain PESEL with “UKR” annotation within 30 days after arrival from Ukraine. The deadline has been shortened from 90 days.
  6. Ukrainians benefiting from temporary protection in another EU country have automatically lost their Special Bill status in Poland (including temporary protection). The new law makes it clear that it is not possible to enjoy temporary protection simultaneously in two Member States.
  7. The suspension of deadlines for the processing of cases concerning residence permits for foreigners was extended retroactively from 1 January 2023 to 24 August 2023. Thus, any option of combating inaction by the authorities or protracted proceedings in such cases during this period was excluded too.

We expect more changes, including regarding ability to travel for children of refugees, in the nearest months. All upcoming updates will be posted on our LinkedIn profile.