Based on providing information and legal consultations as part of the reStart project, the Ukraine Foundation together with lawyer Anna Trylińska collected the most frequently asked questions among migrants from Lower Silesia about changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a big challenge. Particularly vulnerable groups are foreigners who, due to the language barrier encounter difficulties in access to the current legal information. Anna Trylińska, lawyer of the Foundation Ukraine has prepared answers to the most important questions for migrants:
My temporary residence permit ends in two weeks. Offices don’t work due to a coronavirus pandemic. How can I extend my stay?
If the validity of the temporary residence permit expires during the state of epidemic emergency or epidemic state (announced from March 14, 2020), pursuant to the provisions of the so-called anti-crisis act is automatically extended for a period of up to 30 days after the end of the last state. You can send an application for a temporary residence permit now. After return to work, the office will call to make up for formal deficiencies, including submission of fingerprints.
I lost my job because of a coronavirus pandemic. I have a temporary residence and work permit. What will happen now?
The competent voivodeship office (the one who has granted you the residence and work permit) should be notified of the loss of job within 15 working days. Such notification should be sent by registered letter (Polish Post). If you notify the office, you will receive an additional 30 days to look for a job. If you don’t find another job, after this time the office will start proceedings to withdraw your residence permit. The office will take a decision and you can appeal against it. Only the final decision (i.e. issued by the Governor or in the case of appeal, issued by the Head of the Office for Foreigners) means that you should leave within 30 days after having received it. It should be remembered that under the so-called anti-crisis act, the deadline to leave Poland is extended until the end of the 30th day following the date of the cancellation of the last state.
My husband works in Poland, can I come to him with our child as part of visa-free movement?
Unfortunately you can’t enter. There is a temporary ban on the entry of foreigners into Poland due to coronavirus. Only the following can enter:
– persons having Polish citizenship,
– spouses of Polish citizens,
– children of Polish citizens or under their care,
– people with a Pole’s Card,
– persons with the right to permanent or temporary residence in Poland,
– people with the right to work (including those with work permits, dismissed
from holding such a permit – providing work on the same terms as Polish citizens, holding a seasonal work permit or a declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner).
The commander of the Border Guard may grant permission to enter Poland in particularly justified cases.
The declaration on entrusting work expired on March 12 this year. Currently, I’m waiting for a temporary residence and work permit. Can I work legally?
It depends on how long and on what basis you work. If you have worked for at least 3 months on the basis of an employment contract before submitting the application for a residence and work permit, you can continue your work legally. If it was work performed on the basis of another civil law contract, e.g. contract of mandate, then this work cannot be continued and you should wait until you will get a temporary residence and work permit or obtain a work permit. The extension of the declaration on entrusting work concerns those declarations which expire during the period of the epidemic or epidemic (after March 13, 2020) – without any additional conditions being required.
I found a job. How to start work during an epidemic based on a declaration on entrusting?
A declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner can be registered online via praca.gov.pl. To do this, your employer should have an electronic signature or trusted profile. After registering the declaration, the labour office sends it to the employer.
The employer reduced my working time and pay due to coronavirus. Is my work still legal? Work permit covers higher pay and full-time employment.
Yes, the work is still done legally and it is not necessary to obtain a new work permit. A foreigner or an employer cannot bear negative consequences due to a gap in the regulations that appeared in the so-called anti-crisis act. This is also the position of the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy.
I stay on a visa-free movement, which will expire soon. I can’t go back to Ukraine. How can I legalize my stay?
Currently applicable the so-called anti-crisis act (adopted on April 18, 2020) broadend the possibility of automatic extension the stay of foreigners also by those who are on the basis of visa-free movement. Pursuant to the provision, visa-free movement is automatically extended, and thus the stay of these persons is considered legal until the end of the 30th day following the cancellation of the last state. This applies to people who stayed on the basis of visa-free movement and this movement would expire after March 13 while the state of epidemic emergency or epidemic state is in effect.
My application for temporary residence permit was refused on April 3, when is the deadline to appeal against it?
Under the so-called anti-crisis act, the administrative deadlines did not start and the commenced have been suspended. Administrative deadlines apply to all matters regarding the granting of residence permit or work permit. Therefore, if you received a decision after March 13, it is possible to appeal against that decision within 14 days after cancellation of the state of epidemic emergency or epidemic state. If you received a decision until March 13, the period for lodging an appeal will be suspended accordingly. For example, the decision was received on March 6, so 7 days to appeal are already” lost”, but the next 7 days are retained for the period after cancellation of the state of epidemic emergency or epidemic state.
I submitted an application for a temporary residence permit before the introduction of the epidemic status. Until now I have no answer in the matter. What should I do?
First of all, if you have a case reference number, you can call the helpline of the Foreigners Department of the competent voivodeship office and try to get information on the status of the case. Unfortunately, not all offices run such a hotline and provide information on the case. Secondly, you can send a letter to the office asking for information on the status of the case or contact the office or the person conducting the case by e-mail. If you do not have a case reference number and do not know who is running it, you can send a letter to the office asking for information.
Does sending an application for a residence permit via Polish Post guarantee that my stay is legal?
Unfortunately, there is no such guarantee. As a rule, an application for a residence permit must be submitted in person at the office. The application should include a set of required documents and fingerprints submission. If the application has been correctly submitted and does not contain formal deficiencies or these have been filled in on time, the stay is considered legal from the date of submission of the application and a stamp is placed in the passport. The so-called the anti-crisis act extended the period for submitting the application for a new temporary residence permit, permanent residence or long-term resident’s EU permit and extended the validity of the temporary residence permit for a period of up to 30 days, following the date on which the last state was revoked. Sending an application by post without a personal appearance at the office and submitting fingerprints does not mean that your stay is legal. It will become legal after completing the formalities.
Remote consultation and information assistance for migrants
Do you still have questions? Our CUKR Infopunkt consults migrants remotely during regular office hours. On Tues and Thurs from 10:00 to 14:00 and on Mon, Wed and Fri from 14:00 to 20:00. You can contact us by phone: 571330203 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consultations with specialists of the Foundation Ukraine are also possible during Instagram lives on our account: https://www.instagram.com/cukr.wroclaw/. We invite you to follow our profile and join the discussion during broadcasts!
In addition, the Ukraine Foundation has launched its own YouTube channel, where you will find a videos about administrative and legal changes from a lawyer of the Foundation Ukraine: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS9Afcq5gYybQwMTOvfeGXg.
Stay in touch with other helpful materials and events of the Ukrainian Foundation, join the group of migrants from Lower Silesia on our website on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CUKR.Wroclaw/!