The president has signed an amendment to the Special-purpose Act

On January 13, 2023, Sejm passed the final text of the law on amending the Law on Assistance to Citizens of Ukraine in Connection with the Armed Conflict on the Territory of Ukraine and Certain Other Laws (hereinafter: Special-purpose Act). The Special-purpose Act Amendment Act (hereinafter: the Amendment) was signed by the President January 25, 2023.

Below are the major modifications that have been made to the Special-purpose Act.

Deadline of 30 days to apply for a PESEL number

A Ukrainian citizen will have 30 days from the date of his/her arrival in Poland to submit an application for a PESEL number (in accordance with the amendment to Article 4(2) of the Special-purpose Act). There will no longer be a 90-day time limit for registering the stay of a Ukrainian citizen where entry was not registered when crossing the border (Article 3(2) of the Special-purpose Act). Simultaneously, persons who crossed the Polish border before the date of entry into force of the amendment will be obliged to submit an application for a PESEL number within 30 days from the date of its entry into force. [Article 1(3)(a) and Article 22 of the Amendment].

Changes to the funding of social assistance

According to the Amendment, social assistance including accommodation and full board, to which Ukrainian citizens covered by the Special-purpose Act are entitled, shall be provided for no longer than 120 days from the date of entry to Poland. After 120 days, assistance can be provided if the Ukrainian citizen (with a PESEL number) pays 50% of the cost of this assistance in advance, not more than PLN 40 per person per day. After 180 days from the date of first entry of a Ukrainian citizen, assistance may be provided if 75% of the costs of this assistance are covered, not more than PLN 60 per person per day. The obligation to bear the costs will not apply:

  • persons with disabilities and persons caring for them,
  • persons who are 60 (women) or 65 (men) years of age or older,
  • pregnant women,
  • persons raising a child up to the age of 12 months,
  • persons with single custody of more than two children,
  • minors and temporary guardians of minors who arrived in Poland without a factual guardian or who were placed in Ukrainian foster care,
  • others who are in a difficult situation that prevents them from contributing to the cost of assistance.

PLEASE NOTE: The obligation to incur 50% of the aid costs will enter into force on March 1, 2023, and the obligation to incur 75% of the aid costs will enter into force on May 1, 2023 [Art. 1(8)(a) and (b) and Art. 36(1)(c) of the Amendment].

14 days for the employer to notify the labour office of the employment of a foreigner

The draft clarifies that in a situation where a temporary residence and work permit is granted to a Ukrainian citizen (under Article 114 of the Act on Foreigners) subject to the notification referred to in Article 22(1) of the Special-purpose Act, the employer will have to notify the labour office of the employment of the foreigner within 14 days until the date the Ukrainian citizen starts working or the date of delivery of the decision on granting this permit.  This will also apply if the employer wishes to employ a person who is exempt from the obligation to have a work permit (e.g. a graduate of Polish full-time studies). [Article 1(11) of the Amendment].

Children in foster care

Pursuant to the amendment, except in situations where the welfare of the child will be at risk, children who were in foster care in Ukraine and then came to Poland with the person in charge of such care will not be placed in foster care (referred to in the Act of June 9, 2011 on family support and the foster care system). [Art. 1(17)(b) of the Amendment].

Amendments concerning temporary residence permits

The Amendment repealed Article 38 of the Special-purpose Act, which allowed individuals to apply for a temporary residence permit in Poland bypassing the requirements under the Act on Foreigners. [Article 1(18) of the Amendment].

PLEASE NOTE: For Ukrainian nationals covered by the Special-purpose Act, the possibility to apply for a temporary residence and work permit, temporary residence for the purpose of business, temporary residence for the purpose of work in a highly qualified profession has been introduced. However, it is not possible to apply for a temporary residence permit in other cases. It will be possible to submit these applications from April 1, 2023. [Article 1(21)(g) and Article 36(1)(f) of the Amendment].

Furthermore, if the applications of citizens of Ukraine for a temporary residence permit are examined, but they do not meet the prerequisites for granting this permit (justification of the purpose of their stay in Poland, longer than 3 months) or some prerequisites justifying the refusal occur, such persons will be granted a temporary residence permit for a period of 1 year, counting from the date of the decision. [Article 1(22) of the Amendment].

Extension of residence permits

The Amendment harmonises the deadline for extending the validity of the grounds for legal residence and residence permits of Ukrainian citizens, which in all cases ends on August 24, 2023. This applies to:

  • national visas
  • temporary residence permits,
  • deadlines for leaving the territory of Poland and deadlines for voluntary return,
  • validity of residence cards, Polish identity documents of foreigners, “permit for tolerated stay” documents,
  • visa-free movement, Schengen visas, visas and residence permits issued by other Schengen countries.

PLEASE NOTE: The provisions on the extension of national visas and temporary residence permits shall enter into force retroactively from January 1, 2023 [Article 1(21)(a – e) and Article 36(1)(e) of the Amendment].

Amendments concerning return proceedings

Pursuant to the amendment, until August 24, 2023, proceedings on the obligation to return may not be initiated (not commenced) against Ukrainian citizens or such proceedings may be abandoned (discontinued) if the important interests of the Ukrainian citizen so warrant. Exceptions to this are situations in which such proceedings were initiated for reasons of defence or state security or the protection of public safety and order or the interests of Poland. The stay of such persons will be irregular and therefore they will not be entitled to legal work in Poland. [Article 1(22) of the Amendment].

Repeal of covid provisions on submission of residence applications, renewal of residence permits, deadline for leaving Poland

The Amendment provides for the repeal of certain provisions of the so-called “Covid Act”(Articles 15z-15z3, 15z6, 15zd, 15zzza and 15zzzb of the Act on Special Arrangements for Preventing, Countering and Combating COVID-19, Other Communicable Diseases and Emergencies Caused by Them). The provisions that were repealed extended: the legal stay of foreigners in Poland, the validity of residence documents (e.g. visa, residence card) and temporary identity certificates of foreigners, the deadline for applying for a temporary residence permit and the deadline for leaving the territory of Poland and the deadline for voluntary return.

PLEASE NOTE: This revision applies to all foreigners in Poland, not just Ukrainian citizens. The provisions will be repealed as of August 24, 2023. Until then, one must take steps to extend the legality of one’s stay in Poland. [Article 17 and Article 36(5) of the Amendment].