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Living and working conditions

Poland

GENERAL INFORMATION

Area - 312,696  km2

Population – 38,386,000 (2019)

Official Language – Polish

REGISTRATION AND RESIDENCE PERMITS

 Entering the territory of Poland 

Citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States may enter the territory of Poland on the basis of a valid travel document or any other document which confirms their identity and nationality. Family members of the citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States, who are not citizens of the respective EU or EFTA Member State, may enter the territory of Poland on the basis of a valid travel document and a visa, if required. Visa applications should be submitted to the Consul of the Republic of Poland or the chief of the unit of the Border Guard.

Family members of the citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States are deemed to be: 

  • spouses,
  • direct “descendants” (descendants in direct line: children) of the citizen or his or her spouse, aged up to 21 years or being dependant of the citizen or his or her spouse, 
  • direct “ascendants” (ascendants in direct line: father, mother) of the citizen or his or her spouse, being dependant of the citizen or his or her spouse.

Citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States or family members who are not citizens of the EU may be rejected to enter the territory of Poland in case:

  • they enter during the validity period of the entry in the register of foreigners who are not desired to stay in the territory of Poland,
  • their stay may pose a threat to the defence or security of the state or to the protection of the security and public order and to public health,
  • they do not possess a document which gives the right to enter the territory of Poland, unless they prove in a different way which does not raise any doubts that they are entitled to benefit from the free movement of persons.

Registration

Citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States and their family members who are not citizens of the states are obliged to register in the place of their permanent or temporary residence of over 3 months not later than within 30 days from the arrival date to the place. Registration is for record purposes only and is aimed at confirming the stay of a person in the place in which he or she has registered. Citizens may register for permanent or temporary residence of over 3 months in writing, by means of an appropriate form in the municipal body which is competent for the location of the real estate the persons resides in, by presenting a valid travel document, whereby family members of citizens of the EU are obliged to present a valid residence card of the family member along with the valid travel document. The registration form must include a confirmation of the owner or of any other entity which has the legal title to the real estate that the person resides in the real estate, as well as a document which confirms the legal right to the real estate, e.g. a civil law contract or an extract from the land and mortgage register, must be kept available. The registration may be completed in person or through a proxy. Furthermore, citizens who possess the trusted profile (eGo) may register electronically on the Electronic Services Platform of the Public Administration (ePUAP). The registration is free of charge. Upon the registration, the PESEL number will be assigned as well.

Staying in Poland for up to 3 months – no obligation to register

Citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States and their family members who are not citizens of the states may stay in the territory of Poland for up to 3 months without the obligation to register their stay. While staying in the territory of Poland, the citizens are obliged to have a valid travel document or any other valid document which confirms their identity and nationality. Family members who are not citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States are obliged to have a valid travel document and a visa, if required.

Staying in Poland for over 3 months – obligation to register

Citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States may stay in Poland for a period of over 3 months in case: 

  • they are employees or self-employed in the territory of Poland,
  • they have sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their family members in Poland so that they are not a burden for the social security system and are subject to universal health insurance or are persons who are authorised to use health care services in accordance with the provisions on the coordination of the social security systems or they have private health insurance which covers any and all expenditures which may be incurred during their stay in Poland, 
  • they are students or participants in a professional training and are subject to universal health insurance or are persons who are authorised to use health care services in accordance with the provisions on the coordination of the social security systems or they have private health insurance which covers any and all expenditures which may be incurred during their stay in Poland and have sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their family members in Poland so that they are not a burden for the social security system, 
  • they are a spouse of a Polish citizen,
  • they are job seekers, but they may stay up to 6 months without the obligation to register, unless they prove upon the lapse of the period that they continue to be active job seekers and have real chances to get a job.

If the stay in the territory of Poland last more than 3 months:

  • citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States are obliged to register their stay
  • family members of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States who are not citizens of the states are obliged to obtain a residence card for family members of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States, which is issued for a period of 5 years as a rule (or for a shorter period depending on the period of the planned stay of the citizen of the EU whom a family member joins or with whom a family member stays in the territory of Poland.

To register the stay in the territory of Poland or to obtain a residence card for family members of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States, citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States should submit an appropriate application with the required documents to the voivode who is competent for the place in which the citizen of the EU stays in Poland.

No fees are charged for registering the stay or issuing the residence card for family members of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States.

Right of permanent residence in Poland – applying for evidence documents 

Upon the lapse of 5 years of continuous residence in the territory of Poland, citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States acquire the right of permanent residence. Family members who are not citizens of the states acquire the right of permanent residence upon the lapse of 5 years of continuous residence in the territory in Poland together a citizen of the EU or of the EFTA Member States. The residence is deemed to be continuous in case the interested person has not left Poland for more than 6 months during a year (in total). However, they may stay outside of Poland for a longer period due to: mandatory military services or an important personal event, in particular pregnancy, delivery, illness, vocational training, or delegation, provided that the period does not exceed 12 consecutive months. 

To obtain a document which confirms the right of permanent residence in Poland or to obtain a residence card for family members of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States, citizens of the EU should submit an appropriate application with the required documents to the voivode who is competent for his or her place of residence in Poland. The voivodes issue the documents free of charge

Refusal to register the residence of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States or to issue a residence card for family members of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States

The voivode refuses to register the residence of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States or to issue a residence card for family members of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States

in case:

  • the conditions for residence mentioned in the provisions have not been fulfilled, or
  • the stay of the person concerned poses a threat to the defence or security of the state or to the protection of the security and public order, or
  • the marriage with the citizen of the EU or of the EFTA Member States is a sham marriage.

The voivode is also a competent authority in the following matters: cancelling the registration of residence, exchange or issuing a new certificate on the registration of residence, issuing, replacing or cancelling the residence card for family members of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States, and issuing, replacing or cancelling the document which confirms the right of permanent residence or the card of permanent residence for family members of citizens of the EU or of the EFTA Member States. The decision of the voivode may be appealed against to the Head of the Office for Foreigners in Warsaw through the competent voivode. The appeal should be submitted in writing within 14 days from the receipt date of the decision.

LOOKING FOR A JOB

Nationals of the EU or EFTA Member States may take up employment in Poland without the need to acquire a work permit, under the same conditions as Polish citizens.

In Poland, it is possible to search for a job independently by submitting CVs and motivational letters to selected employers or through:

  • the EURES network which has been founded by the European Commission and brings together public employment services and other authorised organization and which is aimed at supporting employers’ mobility in the EU or EFTA Member States. All citizens of the states may use the services of the network which cover the recruitment services in the EU and the provision of information about the working and living conditions in the states. The Polish job advertisements are published on the European Job Mobility Portal which contains job advertisements by all public employment services of the EU and EFTA Member States and of other Member States of EURES, which makes it possible to find job advertisements placed by the Polish Poviat Labour Offices and the Voluntary Labour Corps there;
  • the Poviat Labour Offices which place job advertisements in the Central Database of Job Offers. To make use of all job offers held by the Poviat Labour Office, it is necessary to register with the Office as an unemployed person or a job seeker. Upon registering, it is also possible to access those job advertisements for which the data of the Polish employer have been submitted to the office which is to select appropriate candidates to work and direct them to the employer;
  • the Voluntary Labour Corps which render recruitment services mainly for the youth, while job advertisements may be found in the “Recruitment Database” and the Central Database of Job Offers;
  • operators who run employment agencies which recruit personnel on behalf of employers. In order to carry out a legal activity in Poland, employment agencies must obtain a certificate which confirms that they have been registered as an employment agency by the Voivodeship Marshals competent for the registered office of agency. Employment agency are not allowed to charge the persons for whom the agency is seeking employment or any other paid work or whom it assists in selecting a proper job and place of work with any fees other than the fee for delegating to work by foreign employers abroad, including travel costs of the delegated person, visa costs, costs of the medical examination and the translation of documents. The fees may be charged for the factually incurred costs in relation to delegating employees to work abroad provided that these fees are specified in the agreement concluded with the individual who is delegated to work abroad. A list of certified agencies is available on the Internet website of the National Register of Employment Agencies. Offers of the employment agencies may be found on their Internet websites;
  • operators entitled to render job placement services without the obligation to register as an employment agency, i.e. foreign entrepreneurs from the EU and EFTA Member States, holding certificates issued in the state of origin and rendering job placement services in the territory of Poland (excluding temporary work) based on the notification submitted to the marshall of the voivodeship;
  • Internet portals which are run by those entities which render job placement services only by storing and making available information about job offers in the form of an electronic document and through the IT systems. These entities are not required to register as an employment agency. 

Polish employers and employment agencies publish job advertisements in the press, the Internet or in their premises, as well as with the use of other communication forms, e.g. social media. 

The majority of daily newspapers, both nationwide and local, contain special columns with job advertisements. The most popular nationwide daily newspaper with job advertisements is “Gazeta Wyborcza” with its Monday supplement “Work”. Furthermore, job advertisements are published in all local dailies.

INCOME AND TAXATION

Average incomes 

In the 2nd quarter of 2018, the average monthly gross remuneration in the national economy amounted to PLN 4,521 (approx. EUR 1,051). In August 2018, the average monthly gross remuneration in the enterprise sector amounted to PLN 4,798.27 (approx. EUR 1,115). 

For example, the average gross income in Mazowieckie Voivodeship (including Warszawa) in different sectors in July 2018 amounted to: enterprise sector – PLN 5,754 (approx. EUR 1,338), industry – PLN 5,597 (approx. EUR 1,301), industrial processing – PLN 5,396 (about EUR 1,254), construction – PLN 6,281 (approx. EUR 1,460), trade – PLN 5,877 (approx. EUR 1,366), transport – PLN 4,655 (approx. EUR 1,082), hospitality and catering – PLN 4,325 (approx. EUR 1,005), ICT – PLN 8,825 (approx. EUR 2,052), real estate services – PLN 6,560 (approx. EUR 1,525), administration and supporting services – PLN 3,784 (about EUR 880). 

Types of taxes

In Poland, there are fourteen types of taxes which comprise of direct taxes (paid by a tax payers which are obliged to pay taxes to the tax authority) and of indirect taxes (paid when purchasing goods).

Direct taxes are the following:

1) Personal income tax (PIT),

2) Corporate Income Tax (CIT),

3) Inheritance and donation tax,

4) Tax on civil law acts,

5) Agricultural tax,

6) Forest tax,

7) Property tax,

8) Tax on means of transport,

9) Tonnage tax (imposed on ship owners operating offshore commercial vessels in international shipping),

10) Tax on the extraction of certain minerals,

11) Tax on certain financial institutions.

Indirect taxes are the following:

1) Tax on goods and services (VAT – 23%, 8%, 5%, and 0%),

2) Excise duty,

3) Gambling tax.

In terms of employment and carrying out economic activity in Poland, the most important taxes are the Personal Income Tax and the Corporate Income Tax

Personal income tax

The most important tax for natural persons who are employed in Poland is the personal income tax.

Incomes received by natural persons are subject to Personal Income Tax. Should tax payers receive incomes from more than one source during the particular tax year, the sum of the incomes from all sources in Poland and in foreign states is taxed. With regard to the incomes received by non-residents in Poland or by Polish residents in foreign states, the provisions of the respective agreements concluded by Poland on the avoidance of double taxation do apply. Poland has signed such agreements with, inter alia, Austria, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. The complete list of countries with the respective agreements is available on the Internet website of the Ministry of Finance.

Any person who resides in Poland must pay the tax on the received incomes in Poland. The person who resides in Poland means any person whose “centre of personal or economic interests” is located in Poland (e.g. lives and works in Poland) or stays in Poland for longer than 183 days a year. The person is a tax resident in Poland and is obliged to pay the tax on the total amount of the incomes received during the particular tax year, both in Poland and in foreign states. Those who do not reside in Poland are obliged to pay the Polish tax only on the incomes received in the territory of Poland. The incomes are taxed in accordance with the principles specified in the agreements concluded by Poland on the avoidance of double taxation.

Incomes are taxable (revenues minus tax deductible expenses). 

Tax deductible expenses are specified depending on the type of the received income, e.g. for those who receive revenues during 2018: 

  • from the employment relationship – the basic tax deductible costs amount to PLN 1,335 (approx. EUR 313) a year and to PLN 111.25 (approx. EUR 26) a month; 
  • from contracts for services - the tax deductible costs are equal to 20% of the received revenues; 
  • from copyrights – the tax deductible costs are equal to 50% of the received revenues, whereby the yearly total costs must not exceed the amount of PLN 42,764 (approx. EUR 10,038); 
  • from economic activity – the tax deductible costs cover any costs which have been incurred in order to receive the respective revenues or to maintain or secure the source of revenues, excluding the expenses which are listed as non-tax deductible in the respective statute. 

The method for calculating income tax is dependent on the source of revenues the incomes have been received. The tax system provides for the following methods to calculate the tax due:

1. progressive tax scale with a degressive amount decreasing the tax due – natural persons who have their incomes taxed under general principles use the two-rate tax scale, with the tax rates of 18% and 32% in 2018 and with one tax threshold in the amount of PLN 85,528 (approx. EUR 20,077) and with the amount to reduce the tax due which amounts to:

  • PLN 1,440 (approx. EUR 279), if the yearly income of the tax payer (the tax calculation basis) does not exceed PLN 8,000 (approx. EUR 1,549);
  • from PLN 556.02 (approx. EUR 130) to PLN 1,440 (approx. EUR 279), if the yearly income of the tax payer (the tax calculation basis) exceeds PLN 8,000 (approx. EUR 1,549), however not more than PLN 13,000 (approx. EUR 2,582);
  • PLN 556.02 (approx. 130 EUR), if the yearly income of the tax payer (the tax calculation basis) exceeds PLN 13,000 (approx. EUR 2,582), however not more than PLN 85,528 (approx. EUR 20,077);
  • from PLN 0 to PLN 556.02, if the yearly income of the tax payer (the tax calculation basis) exceeds PLN 85,528 (approx. EUR 20,077), however not more than 127,000 (approx. EUR 29,812);
  • PLN 0, if the yearly income of the tax payer (the tax calculation basis) exceeds PLN 127,000 (approx. EUR 29,812). 

By collecting advance tax payments, the amount to reduce the tax due applies only to the incomes which do not exceed the first threshold of the tax scale (PLN 85,528 – approx. EUR 20,077) and amounts to PLN 556.02 (approx. EUR 130) a year.

The progressive tax scale applies, inter alia, to the incomes received from hired labour (the employment relationship, contracts for services or contracts for a specific work), retirement benefits, economic activity, or lease and rental contracts.

Tax payers who have their incomes taxed according to the progressive tax scale, upon fulfilling the conditions specified by law, may benefit from the joint taxation of the incomes received by the spouses and from preferential taxation of the incomes received by single parents.

The joint taxation of incomes may be applied by the spouses who: have been married throughout the whole tax year and have been bound by the matrimonial property throughout the whole tax year. The spouses calculate the tax due in the double amount of the tax calculated on a half on their joint incomes.

On the other hand, single parents have the right to calculate the tax in the double amount of the tax calculated on a half of their incomes;

2. 19% income tax on non-agricultural economic activity or special sections of agricultural production – incomes from non-agricultural economic activity or special sections of agricultural production may be taxed with the tax rate of 19% (based on the accounting books). The profit (loss) is settled under a separate declaration;

3. flat-rate methods of taxation for non-agricultural economic activity – tax payers may also, upon fulfilling the conditions specified by law, choose one of the flat-rate methods of taxation with regard to the incomes (revenues) from non-agricultural economic activity, i.e.

  • lump-sum tax on registered revenues: the achieved revenues are taxed with a certain tax rate; a separate tax declaration on this method of taxation should be submitted until 31 January of the following tax year; 
  • tax card: the monthly amount is established by the head of the competent tax office; tax no tax declarations are submitted in this case, while it is necessary to report the paid and deducted health insurance contributions (tax card) in the annual declaration by 31 January of the following tax year; 

4. flat-rate method of taxation for revenues from lease and rental contracts - may be chosen by tax payers subject to certain conditions specified by law. The tax rate amounts to 8.5% on the achieved revenues up to PLN 100,000 (EUR 23,184.10). The tax rate of 12.5% is charged on the surplus. A separate declaration is to be submitted until 31 January of the following tax year;

5. 19% income tax on certain capital gains – the uniform tax rate of 19% applies to certain capital gains (e.g. from the sale of securities or derivative financial instruments for a remuneration), the profit (loss) from which is settled under a separate declaration;

6. 19% income tax on the sale of properties for a remuneration – the obligation to pay income tax of 19% on the income from the sale of properties for a remuneration comes into existence if the property is sold before the end of the period of 5 years starting from the end of the calendar year in which the property has been purchased or constructed, and if it is not part of economic activity; the income is settled under a separate declaration.

Incomes from the sale of properties for a remuneration may be exempt from taxation, if the respective revenues are used by the tax payer for housing purposes, as mentioned in the Polish tax provisions;

7. flat-rate income tax collected by the payer – the tax applies to revenues (incomes) from, e.g. winnings from lotteries, interest, discounts on securities, interest on cash (not related to the economic activity carried out) on the bank account of the tax payer, units in capital funds, dividends. The revenues (incomes) are not settled in the tax declaration as the respective tax is collected and paid by the payer.

Corporate Income Tax

Corporate income tax is paid by:

  • legal persons,
  • organisational units without legal personality, excluding companies without legal personality, whereby commercial companies in organisation and limited joint-stock companies with their registered office or management board in the territory of Poland are subject to corporate income tax,
  • tax capital groups (which comprise at least two commercial companies with legal personality which operate under capital associations and fulfil the conditions specified by law),
  • companies without legal personality with their registered office or management board in a foreign state, if they are treated as legal persons in accordance with the provisions of the tax law of the respective state and are subject to taxation on the total of their incomes in the state irrespective of the place the incomes have been received.

Tax payers with their registered office or management board in the territory of Poland are subject to taxation on the total of their incomes, irrespective of the place the incomes have been received. Tax payers which do not have their registered office or management board in the territory of Poland are subject to taxation only on the incomes which have been received in the territory of Poland.

Income tax is charged on incomes irrespective of the sources of revenues from which the incomes have been received. The surplus of revenues over costs is a profit during a particular tax year. The difference between costs and revenues is a loss. The loss may be used to reduce the profit in the consecutive five tax years, whereby the amount of the deduction in any of the years must not exceed 50% of the amount of the loss.

As far as revenues from the share in profits of legal persons (e.g. dividends) and revenues of foreign entities from the so called license fees (e.g. interest) are concerned, the revenues are subject to taxation.

In case of capital relations and other specific associations, it is possible to tax incomes by estimation.

The Polish tax law provides for a catalogue of tax exemptions, including for such tax payers as associations, foundations which perform statutory tasks of public utility. With regard to the tax payers, the exemption refers to the incomes which are used for performing the socially useful objectives, as specified by law. The objectives must correspond to the objectives the entities specify in their statutes.

In particular, taxable revenues comprise the receive money, pecuniary values, foreign exchange differences, or the value of the items, rights or other services which have been received without a remuneration or for partial remuneration. The revenues related to economic activity and special sections of agricultural production during a particular tax year also comprise due revenues, even if not factually received, excluding the value of the returned items, and the granted discounts and allowances.

Tax deductible costs are costs which are incurred to generate revenues or to maintain or secure the source of revenues, excluding the costs (expenses) which are not deemed to be incurred to generate revenues, as listed in the Act on the Corporate Income Tax. Costs which are directly related to the respective revenues may be treated as tax deductible costs. Other costs excluding the costs which are directly related to the respective revenues are deducted on the date they are incurred. Should the costs refer to a period which exceeds one tax year and it is not possible which part refers to the particular tax year, they are treated as tax deductible costs in the proportion to the length of the period they refer to.

The costs which are directly related to the respective revenues are settled during the year in which the respective revenues are generated. Other costs are settled during the year they have been incurred. 

The tax base is a difference between taxable revenues and tax deductible costs and is a profit reduced by donations granted for public services, as specified in the Act on Public Benefit Activity and Voluntary Activity.

Donations for entities which carry out such an activity in a Member State of the EU or in a Member State of the European Economic Area, excluding Poland, may also be deducted under the joint limit of 10% of the profit.

Donations for charity and care activities on the basis of the so called church statues – up to 100% of the profit – are also deductible.

The value of the expenses incurred for research and development activity, i.e. the part of the costs for research and development which have also been treated as tax deductible costs, may also be deducted from the tax base.

The tax is equal to 19% of the tax base. In 2017, the corporate income tax rate of 15% was introduced for small tax payers, i.e. the tax payers the revenues of which did not exceed the amount of EUR 1.2 million (approx. PLN 5 million) during the preceding tax year.

Tax payers and payers of taxes do not submit tax declaration during the tax year, but are obliged to pay in monthly advance payments. Small tax payers and tax payers which start economic activity have the right to pay in advance payments for income tax on a quarterly basis.

During the tax year, tax payers can also settle advance payments under the simplified scheme

Tax payers are obliged to submit a declaration on the amount of the profit (loss) generated during the tax year until the end of the third calendar month of the following year and pay the tax due within the deadline or the difference between the tax due on the profit presented in the tax declaration and the sum of the advance payments due from the beginning of the year.

Rights to tax allowances and tax exemptions

Tax payers in Poland have the right to certain tax allowances and tax exemptions by law.

Tax allowances

Tax payers subject to Personal Income Tax have the right to the following tax allowances: 

  • the tax allowances which are deducted from taxable income,
  • the tax allowances which are deducted from the tax amount.

The following items may be deducted from taxable income:

1. social insurance contributions paid by the tax payer;

2. expenses for rehabilitation purposes – the tax allowance is for persons with disabilities or tax payers who support persons with disabilities. For the purposes of the tax allowance, it is deemed that a person is supported in case their yearly taxable income does not exceed the equivalent of twelve social allowances in the amount as of December of the tax year. Payments for children’s maintenance and attendance allowances are not counted towards the incomes.

3. donations for the following purposes: 

  • specified in the Act on Public Benefit Activity and Voluntary Activity, e.g. protection and promotion of health, culture, arts, science, and education,
  • religious associations,
  • blood donation by voluntary blood donors.

The total deductible amount must not exceed the equivalent of 6% of taxable income;

4. donations for church legal persons which carry out charity and care activity – the allowance is subject to the statutes which regulate the relation between the state and individual churches and religious association. The deductible amount may amount to 100% of the tax payer’s taxable income;

5. expenses for using the Internet network – the deductible amount must not exceed PLN 760 (approx. EUR 179). The allowance may be used exclusively during two consecutive tax years; 

6. expenses which are related to the tax payer’s saving for retirement pension – the payments made to the Individual Pension Security Account (IKZE) made by the tax payer during the tax year are deductible up to the amount specified in the provisions on the Individual Pension Security Account. The payments made to the Individual Pension Security Account (IKZE) during the calendar year must not exceed the equivalent of 1.2 times the average monthly remuneration, as forecasted in the national economy for the respective year in the Budgetary Act or in the Act on the Provisional Budget or their drafts, if the relevant statutes have not been passed. In 2018, the maximum deductible amount is equal to PLN 5,331.60 (approx. EUR 1,254).

The following items may be deducted from tax:

  1. obligatory health insurance contributions paid by the tax payer (the deductible amount must not exceed the equivalent of 7.75% of the calculation basis);
  2. child allowance – the allowance may be used by the tax payers who bring up a minor child or an adult child who continues education (up to the age of 25 years). The allowance may be used by parents, legal guardians (if the child lives with the guardian) and foster parents. 

The deductible amounts are the following:

  • PLN 92.67 for the first and second child each (approx. EUR 22) on a monthly basis [PLN 1,102.04 each (approx. 259 EUR) on a yearly basis],
  • PLN 166.67 for the third child (approx. EUR 39) on a monthly basis [PLN 2,000.04 (approx. EUR 471) on a yearly basis], 
  • PLN 225 for the fourth and following child each (approx. EUR 53) on a monthly basis [PLN 2,700 each (approx. EUR 635) on a yearly basis]. 

Tax payers who cannot deducted the full amount due to the fact that the tax amount is not high enough have the right to receive the amount of the unused tax allowance. However, it is to be born in mind that the amount of the unused allowance which is due to the tax payer is limited, must not exceed the total amount of the deductible social and health insurance contributions paid by the tax payer.

Tax exemptions

The objective of the tax exemptions is to, inter alia:

1. conduct the family policy which provides for tax exemptions for, e.g.

  • family benefits received under the provisions on family benefits, family and care bonuses, benefits for guardians under the provisions on the determination and payment of benefits for guardians, pecuniary benefits received in case it is impossible to support child maintenance, benefits on the occasion of the birth of a child under separate provisions and parental benefits received under the provisions on the state aid in bringing up children,
  • maternity benefits received under the provisions on the agricultural social insurance,
  • one-time benefits received under the provisions on the support for pregnant women and families “For Life”,
  • one-time benefits on the occasion of the birth of a child which are paid out from the funds of the trade unions,
  • child maintenance (up to the age of 25 years and for children who receive benefits/additional payments/care benefits or social pensions, irrespective of their age), and up to the amount of PLN 700 (approx. EUR 165) a month for other persons;

2. support persons in a particularly difficult situation due to unexpected circumstances in the form of tax exemptions for, e.g.

  • social aid benefits,
  • one-time benefits from the state budget or from the budget of the local self-government in relation to the occurred incident;

3. support retirees and pensioners with disabilities in the form of tax exemptions for:

  • benefits received by retirees and pensioners with disabilities from their work establishments under the former service relationship, employment relationship or the cooperative employment relationship and from the trade unions – up to the amount which must not exceed the amount of PLN 3,000 during the tax year (approx. EUR 706);
  • increased amounts in the form of family bonuses paid out through the payer in case of retirement benefits and foreign pensions,
  • benefits for covering the total or partial amount of the TV and radio subscription fees;

4. aid in adaptation to work (combating unemployment) and capacities to actively participate in the social life, in the form of the tax exemption for certain benefits for the unemployed under the Polish legal provisions;

5. provide state support for investments in education of children and youths in the form of tax exemptions for:

  • scholarships and financial aid for pupils and students in the form of, inter alia, scholarship of scientific achievements, social scholarships, surcharges for places in boarding houses and student hostels, reimbursement of travel costs for children by means of public transport,
  • awards and prizes received by pupils in competitions, tournaments and contests organized under the provisions on the education system,
  • aid for students in relation to professional apprenticeships during studies and to the redemption of student loans,
  • lump sums for maintenance and accommodation costs paid from the state budget in relation to the referral to teaching at schools and universities in foreign countries, 
  • prizes for exceptional achievements in the field of science, culture and arts, as well as for activities for the human rights to the extent in which the awarded person allocates the prize for public benefit purposes.

The tax return for the particular tax year should be submitted in the relevant form until 30 April of the year following the tax year, and if the last day of the deadline falls on Saturday or on a public holiday, the last day of the deadline is deemed the day following the non-working day or days. The tax return should be submitted to the Tax Office which is competence for the place of residence of the tax payer as of the last day of the tax year. The tax return may be submitted in traditional (paper) form or electronically. Furthermore, there are some situations in which the tax returns may be prepared and submitted by the tax administration. In this situation, the tax payer should submit the application form PIT-WZ electronically. However, the form of tax settlement is available for those tax payers which receive incomes exclusively from payers (under employment contracts, contracts for services or for a specific work, copyrights, as well as retirement pensions and disability benefits).

The Ministry of Finance devises separate information brochures for the tax returns which are valid for the particular year and they are also available on the Internet website of the Ministry of Finance.

Text last edited on: 04/2019

COST OF LIVING

Prices of products and services

In Poland, living costs are diversified, with the highest ones recorded in Warszawa and other large cities. 

Examples of average prices of basic food products: bread (1kg) – PLN 3.44 (EUR 0.80), roll (50g) – PLN 0.30 (EUR 0.07), tea (100 bags) – PLN 14.41 (EUR 3.34), instant coffee (250g) – PLN 6.82 (EUR 1.58), jam (250g) – PLN 3.19 (EUR 0.74), corn flakes (250g) – PLN 3.43 (EUR 0.80), ketchup (430g) – PLN 3.92 (EUR 0.91), oil (1 litre) – PLN 6.18 (EUR 1.43), butter (200g) – PLN 6.12 (EUR 1.42), eggs (10 pieces) – PLN 5.34 (EUR 1.24), hard cheese (1kg) – PLN 16.53 (EUR 3.83), milk (1 litre) – PLN 2.56 (EUR 0.59), cottage cheese (200g) – PLN 1.92 (EUR 0.45), yoghurt (150g) – PLN 1.26 (EUR 0.29), water (1.5 litres) – PLN 1.76 (EUR 0.41), orange juice (1 litre) – PLN 5.51 (EUR 1.28), flour (1kg) – PLN 1.84 (EUR 0.43), sugar (1kg) – PLN 2.00 (EUR 0.46), salt (1kg) – PLN 0.79 (EUR 0.18), pasta penne (500g) – PLN 2.14 (EUR 0.54), loin of pork boneless (1kg) – PLN 14.00 (EUR 3.25), chicken (1kg) – PLN 7.09 (EUR 1.65), sliced ham (450g) – PLN 17.08 (EUR 3.96), bananas (1kg) – PLN 3.56 (EUR 0.83), apples (1kg) – PLN 3.04 (EUR 0.71), potatoes (1kg) – PLN 1.38 (EUR 0.32), tomatoes (1kg) – PLN 3.63 (EUR 0.84), and peppers (1kg) – PLN 6.69 (EUR 1.55).

Examples of average prices of basic household chemicals and cosmetics: dish washing liquid (1 litre) – PLN 5.50 (EUR 1.28), toothpaste (125ml) – PLN 6.25 (EUR 1.45), soap (bar 100g) – PLN 3.20 (EUR 0.74), shampoo (250ml) – PLN 4.10 (EUR 0.95), washing powder (400g) – PLN 5.91 (EUR 1.37), and toilet paper (8 rolls, the cheapest one) – PLN 2.9 (EUR 0.68).

Examples of average monthly costs of utilities per person: electricity – PLN 50 (approx. EUR 11), telephone – PLN 30 (approx. 7), waste (disposal) – PLN 10 (approx. EUR 2), water – PLN 30 (approx. EUR 7), cable TV – PLN 40 (approx. EUR 9), Internet – PLN 39 (approx. EUR 9), gas (gas cooker) – PLN 15 (approx. EUR 3.5), and gas (for rooms with are heated only with gas) – PLN 128 (approx. EUR 30). This makes a total of approx. PLN 214/327 per person (approx. EUR 50/76) on a monthly basis.

Examples of average prices of other products and services: gasoline (litre) – PLN 4.33-5.05 (approx. EUR 1-1.17), urban transport ticket – PLN 3.50 (EUR 0.81), cinema ticket – PLN 17-35 (approx. EUR 4-8), theatre ticket – PLN 80-220 (approx. EUR 18-51), and main dishes served in restaurants – PLN 20-40 (approx. EUR 5-9).

Shops

Opening hours are set by shop owners, but they are usually during the following hours:

  • groceries – from 06:00 (07:00) a.m. until 18:00 (19:00) p.m., some shops may have longer opening hours, 
  • shops excluding groceries – they usually open at 10:00 a.m.,
  • supermarkets (located mostly at the outskirts of large cities) – usually from 09:00 a.m. until 22:00 p.m.

As of 1 March 2018, a statute limiting trading in trade facilities on Sunday and Christmas Eve (24 December) and Holy Eve entered into force. The trading bas is being introduced gradually. During 2018, the trading ban is valid on the first and last Sunday of the month. In 2019, the last Sunday of the month will be a trading Sunday. In 2020, the trading ban will not be valid on the last Sunday of January, April, June and August only. The trading ban will not be valid on the following two Sundays preceding Christmas Day and on the Sunday directly preceding the first day of Easter. Trading and carrying out trade-related activities and entrusting workers or the employed with trading and trade-related activities on 24 December and on the Saturday directly preceding the first day of Easter in trading facilities will be allowed until 14:00 p.m. Should Christmas Eve (24 December) fall on Saturday, trading and carrying out trade-related activities will be allowed until 14:00 p.m. 

The trading ban specified by statute does not refer, inter alia, to: trading facilities at liquid fuel stations, trading facilities which mainly trade in flowers, pharmacies and pharmacy shops, trading facilities which mainly trade in souvenirs or devotional items or press, urban transport tickets, tobacco products, gambling and betting vouchers and postal offices and trading facilities in hotels and Internet shops.

The majority of shops accept payment cards. 

It is also possible to shop online, which is gaining in popularity in Poland. 

Text last edited on: 04/2019

EDUCATION SYSTEM

School obligation and education obligation

The Polish education system differentiates between the school obligation and the education obligation

Education is obligatory until the age of 18, whereby the school obligation comprises of a 8-year primary school (pupils aged 7–15 years). 

Pupils or students who hold a certificate about the need for special education may receive education in specific types of schools until the end of the school year in the calendar year in which they have reached:

  1. the age of 20 years - for primary schools, 
  2. the age of 24 years - for secondary schools.

The education system comprises of public educational units, public educational units with integrated units, public educational units with specific units, public educational units with integrated or specific units, integrated or specific units: 

  1. kindergartens (for children at the age of 3-6 years, and for children with disabilities who hold a certificate about the need for special education and for whom the school obligation has been postponed up to the age of 9 years); 
  2. primary schools (for pupils at the age of 7-15 years), the admission is based on the age criterion;
  3. secondary schools (for students at the age of 15-18/19 years);
  • the 4-year general secondary school, the 5-year technical secondary school, the 3-year branch school of the 1st grade and the 2-year branch school of the 2nd grade,
  • the post-secondary school with education period no longer than 2.5 years,
  • the 3-year special school which adapts to work for pupils who suffer from moderate or serious mental retardation and for pupils with multiple disabilities, the graduation of which makes it possible to obtain a certificate confirming the adaptation to work.

Persons who are not Polish citizens are provided with education and care in public kindergartens or in other forms of public pre-school education, while those subject to the school obligation are provided with education and care at public primary schools, public artistic schools and public facilities, including the artistic ones, under the same conditions as Polish citizens.

Children at the age of 3-5 years whose parents want them to complete kindergarten education have a guaranteed place for kindergarten education in a kindergarten, kindergarten unit at primary schools or other forms of kindergarten education (kindergarten point or centre of kindergarten education). The municipality’s own task is to provide a place for kindergarten education. Children coming from foreign countries are admitted to public kindergartens under the same conditions as Polish citizens.

If particularly justified, children who have reached the age of 2.5 years may start kindergarten education.

Children at the age of 6 years are obliged to participate in a yearly kindergarten preparatory education in a kindergarten, kindergarten unit at primary schools or other forms of kindergarten education, including in the kindergartens and integrated or special kindergarten units. Children who have been diagnosed as needing special education due to a disability may have the school obligation postponed until they reach the age of 9 years. 

Parents of children at the age of 6 years (and more years) who participate in the yearly kindergarten preparatory education are released from the fees for kindergarten education in public kindergartens, kindergarten units at primary schools and other public forms of kindergarten education - they incur only costs of food. 

Parents of children at the age of 3-5 years pay fees for kindergarten education of their children during the time exceeding the time of free education, upbringing and care, as specified by the respective municipality (not shorter than 5 hours a day), as well as for food. The fee for each hour exceeding the free time must not exceed PLN 1 (EUR 0.23).

In primary and secondary schools, the school year is divided into two semesters. Educational classes take place from the 1st of September until the first Friday after the 20th of June. 

Pupils coming from the EU or EFTA Member States may be admitted to primary or secondary schools provided that they possess a certificate, diploma or any other document which confirms that they have attended the school in a foreign country and the number of years of education. Pupils are admitted to public primary schools in their place of residence ex officio (i.e. the school cannot refuse to admit pupils). Pupils are admitted to public secondary schools if they have free places.

Pupils of primary and secondary schools who do not speak Polish have the right to a minimum of 2 additional hours of free classes in Polish a week. Schools may create preparatory units for those pupils who cannot speak Polish. Education in the unit lasts until the end of the school year in which the pupil has been admitted to the unit and may be shortened or prolonged, however not longer than by one school year.

In primary and secondary schools, there is a six-grade assessment scale, from 1 to 6, with 1 being the lowest grade and 6 the highest one. 

Pupils of primary schools have the right to free school books, educational materials and exercise materials for obligatory classes in general education. Books and materials are provided by schools which receive grants from the state budget for that. 

Pupils can graduate from primary schools if they have obtained positive end result in all obligatory educational classes under the final classification and have taken the examination for pupils of the 8th degree. Being part of the system of extramural examinations, the examination for pupils of the 8th degree is conducted in writing, in Polish, mathematics and a modern foreign language and will be extended by the examination in one selected subjects: biology, chemistry, physics, geography, or history, starting from the school year 2021/2022. The minimum results which should be obtained by pupils is not determined. Results of the examination for pupils of the 8th degree are included in the certificate about detailed results of the examination and are taken into consideration in the admission procedure to secondary schools. 

On the basis of a favourable opinion of the Board of Teachers, students or graduates who are not Polish nationals and have difficulties with understanding the read texts due to their limited command of Polish may take:

1) the examination for pupils of the 8th degree, excluding the examination in a modern foreign language - under the conditions and in the form adjusted to their educational needs and physical and mental capacities which result from the limitation;

2) the matriculation examination, excluding the examination in a modern foreign language, language of a national minority, language of an ethnic minority or regional language - under the conditions and in the form adjusted to their educational needs and physical and mental capacities which result from the limitation. 

The matriculation examination is conducted under the system of extramural examinations for graduates of secondary schools and of secondary branch schools and they allow them to gain the matriculation certificate. Apart from graduates of Polish school, the matriculation examination may also be taken by persons holding a certificate or any other document issued in a different country, confirming the secondary education. The matriculation examination is conducted once a year, from May until September, at the main, additional and correction term, as announced on the Internet website of the Central Examination Committee for the respective year.

Graduates take the examination in obligatory subjects:

  • Polish (oral and written part of the examination);
  • a modern foreign language (oral and written part of the examination);
  • mathematics (written part of the examination);
  • a language of the national minority - for graduates of schools or of units teaching the language of the specific national minority.

The matriculation examination in obligatory subjects is conducted in writing, at the basic level, whereby no level is specified for the oral part of the examination. The written part of the matriculation examination in supplementary subjects (biology, chemistry, philosophy, physics, geography, history, history of music, history of art, information technology, Latin and classical culture, languages of the ethnic minorities, languages of the national minorities, modern foreign languages, Polish, regional languages, mathematics, social studies) is conducted at the extent level and covers the requirements specified in the basic programming for general education at the basic and extended level. The level of the examination is not specified for the oral part of the matriculation examination in supplementary subjects (languages of the ethnic minorities, languages of the national minorities, modern foreign languages, regional languages). However, the written part of the matriculation examination in modern foreign languages as a supplementary subject is conducted at the extent level and covers the requirements specified in the basic programming for general education at the basic and extended level or at the bilingual level and covers the requirements specific in the basic programming for general education for bilingual units.

The matriculation certificate is handed out to graduates who have taken the matriculation examination in obligatory subjects and in one of the aforementioned supplementary subjects and have received not less than 30% of the maximum number of scores in each of the examinations, with both the oral and written part. Results of the matriculation examinations, both in obligatory and supplementary subjects, are the basic admission criterion for individual fields of studies.

Upon the introduction of the new school system, the matriculation examination will be conducted under new conditions:

  1. graduates of the 4-year general secondary school - starting from the school year 2022/2023;
  2. graduates of the 5-year secondary technical school - starting from the school year 2023/2024;
  3. graduates of the branch school of the 2nd degree, who have completed their education at the branch school of the 1st degree as graduates of the 8-year primary school - starting from the school year 2023/2014.

However, the matriculation examination will be conducted under the prior conditions:

  1. up to the school year 2026/2027 inclusive - for graduates of the 3-year general secondary school;
  2. up to the school year 2027/2028 inclusive - for graduates of the 4-year secondary technical school;
  3. up to the school year 2028/2029 inclusive - for graduates of the branch school of the 2nd degree, who have completed their education at the branch school of the 1st degree as graduates of the current lower secondary school. Graduates of general secondary schools may continue education in post-secondary schools with the education programme not exceeding 2.5 years. The completion of secondary education or branch secondary education is a pre-condition for being admitted to post-secondary schools. It is acknowledged by law (i.e. without the necessity to submit opinions of Polish bodies or institutions) that secondary education is confirmed by certificates and other documents which are issued by the educational system of the EU or EFTA Member States which give the right to undertake university studies in the particular state. Other certificates or documents on the education obtained in the EU or EFTA Member States may be recognised exclusively by the Education Officer in the course of an administrative proceeding. 

Students and graduates of branch schools of the 1st and 2nd degree, technical secondary schools and post-secondary schools, persons who have completed a vocational qualification course, adult persons who have completed practical vocational education for adults or adaptation course for adults, if the vocational adaptation programming covered the requirements specified in the basic programming for education in the professions, persons who fulfil the requirements to be allowed to take an extramural examination to confirm the qualifications in the respective profession and who pass the examination confirming the professional qualifications in the respective profession will obtain a certificate confirming the professional qualifications and a diploma confirming the professional qualifications upon passing examinations in all qualifications in the respective profession and graduating from the technical secondary school, branch school, branch secondary school or any secondary school. The diploma will allow them to undertake employment in the particular profession.

Graduates of the branch school of the 1st degree may continue education:

  1. at the branch school of the 2nd degree which educates in professions for which a common qualification has been separated for the profession taught at the branch school of the 1st and 2nd degree, to obtain a diploma which confirms the professional qualifications in the profession which is taught on the level of a technician after passing the examination to confirm the qualifications in the respective profession, and to obtain secondary branch education. After passing the matriculation examinations, graduates of the branch school of the 2nd degree will be able to undertake university studies (education in the branch school of the 2nd degree will start in September 2020);
  2. at general secondary schools for adults, starting from the second degree, to obtain secondary education and take the matriculation examination in order to continue education at a university;
  3. in vocational qualification courses which are organised by public and non-public schools which offer vocational education, centres of practical education and centres of lifelong learning, as well as by institutions of the labour market.

Higher education 

The higher education system comprises of:

  1. first-cycle studies - which are a form of education for candidates who have obtained the matriculation certificate, and end by acquiring the degrees: bachelor, engineer, or any equivalent);
  2. second-cycle studies - which are a form of education for candidates who have obtained the university diploma, and end by acquiring the degrees: master, master engineer, or any equivalent;
  3. uniform master studies - which are a form of education for candidates who have obtained the matriculation certificate, and end by acquiring the degrees: master, master engineer, or any equivalent;
  4. PhD studies - carried out by a university, a scientific institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a research institute or an international scientific institute which operates in the territory of Poland and has been founded under separate provisions, which are devised for candidates who have obtained the master’s degree, master engineer’s degree or equivalent, and those who have proved scientific achievements of the highest quality, and by acquiring the qualifications of the academic degree: doctor or doctor of arts;
  5. post-graduate studies - which are a form of education for candidates who have obtained at least the qualifications at level 6 of the Polish Framework of Qualifications in the system of higher education and science, carried out by a university, a scientific institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a research institute or the Medical Centre for Post-Graduate Education, and end by acquiring the partial qualifications at levels 6, 7 or 8 of the Polish Framework of Qualifications;
  6. specialist education - a form of education which allows to acquire complete qualification at level 5 of the Polish Framework of Qualifications, confirmed by the certificate of a qualified specialist or by the certificate of a quality technology specialist.

Only those persons who have obtained the matriculation certificate or the matriculation certificate and a certificate confirming results of the matriculation examination by relevant subjects can apply for admission to a university. The admission rules and mode are determined independently by universities. Universities determine which results of the matriculation examination are a basis for being admitted to the undergraduate or uniform master studies. Universities may organise additional entrance examinations only if they are necessary to verify artistic skills, physical fitness or special predispositions to undertake studies in a particular field, which are not verifiable under the matriculation examination.

It is acknowledged by law (i.e. without the necessity to submit opinions of Polish bodies or institutions to the university) that secondary education along with the rights to apply for university studies at Polish universities are confirmed by the certificates or other documents which are issued by the educational system of the EU or EFTA Member States to give the right to undertake university studies in the particular state. There is a principle for recognising foreign rights to undertake university studies to an analogous extent. Therefore, foreign certificates which give the right to apply for studies in certain fields and types of higher education in the particular EU or EFTA Member States give the right to apply for university studies with the same or similar curricula in Poland. The rights for university studies which have been obtained in a foreign country and their scope should be documented before going to Poland. Higher studies may take the form of full-time and part-time studies. 

The academic year begins as of 1 October and is divided into two semesters. There are currently 368 universities in Poland, with 132 public universities and 245 non-public universities among them. 

Graduates of first-cycle studies can obtain the professional degrees of bachelor or engineer or the following professional degrees equivalent to the degrees of bachelor and engineer:

1) architect engineer – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the studies in the field of architecture;

2) fire safety engineer – for fire fighters of the State Fire Service after achieving the learning results which are specified for the qualifications in the field of safety engineering, specialty of fire safety engineering at the Main School of Fire Service at the courses organised for the fire fighters of the State Fire Service;

3) bachelor of nursing – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the qualifications in the field of nursing;

4) bachelor of obstetrics – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the qualifications in the field of obstetrics;

Graduates of second-cycle studies can obtain the professional degrees of master or master engineer or the following professional degrees equivalent to the degrees of master and master engineer:

1) master architect engineer – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the studies in the field of architecture;

2) master fire safety engineer – for fire safety engineers after achieving the learning results which are specified for the qualifications in the field of fire safety engineering of the Main School of Fire Service;

3) master of nursing – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the qualifications in the field of nursing;

4) master of obstetrics – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the qualifications in the field of obstetrics;

Graduates of uniform master studies can obtain the professional degrees of master or master engineer or the following professional degrees equivalent to the degrees of master and master engineer:

1) doctor of medicine – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the uniform master studies in the field of medicine;

2) dentist – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the uniform master studies in the field of medicine and dentistry;

3) veterinarian – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the uniform master studies in the field of veterinary medicine;

4) master of pharmacy – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the uniform master studies in the field of pharmacy;

5) master architect engineer – after achieving the learning results which are specified for the studies in the field of architecture.

Undertaking studies in Poland by citizens of the EU or EFTA Member States

Public universities do not charge citizens of the EU or EFTA Member States and their family members residing in the territory of Poland with fees for education within the framework of full-time studies in Polish.

The above mentioned persons my start higher studies upon the completion of the recruitment procedure which is valid for Polish citizens who apply for full-time studies. Should they be admitted to the studies, they have - as all foreign students taking up and continuing their studies in Poland - the right to apply for selected financial support benefits (excluding the social scholarship and the student loan), i.e. the rector’s scholarship, the scholarship for persons with disabilities, aid payments, the scholarship financed by a unit of the territorial self-government, the scholarship for the best student or for sport achievements financed by a natural person or a legal person, excluding the state or self-government legal person, and the minister’s scholarship). The aforementioned citizens who take up PhD studies at universities and scientific institutes receive scholarships for PhD students.

Fees charged by public universities in Poland

Public universities may charge fees only for educational services which are related to:

  • teaching part-time students and part-time PhD students; 
  • repeating specific classes of full-time studies and full-time PhD studies due to unsatisfactory learning results; 
  • carrying out studies in a foreign language; 
  • organising extra-curricular classes; 
  • teaching full-time foreign students in Polish.

Lifelong learning and vocational education

Adult persons may enrol in primary school for adults, lower-secondary schools for adults and general secondary schools for adults, as well as take general competence courses, and in case of vocational education – in the out-of-school forms as part of lifelong learning (in vocational qualification courses, vocational skills courses and other courses which enable to acquire and supplement knowledge, vocational skills and qualifications) and in selected post-secondary schools. 

Vocational qualification courses are those courses which are carried out in accordance with the basic programming for education in one professional qualification. Institutions which carry out vocational qualification courses are obliged to include in the curriculum of the organised course any and all components for the respective qualification which are specified in the basic curriculum. Upon the completion of the course, it is possible to take an examination to confirm the qualifications in a particular profession with regard to the respective qualification. The examinations are organised by district examination committees. Those who complete the vocational qualification course and pass the examination to confirm the qualifications in a particular profession obtain a certificate which confirms the qualifications in the respective profession.

Diplomas which confirm the vocational qualifications in the respective profession may be granted to those persons who possess the required level of education for the respective profession (branch or secondary basic education respectively) and passes examinations in all qualifications in the respective profession, i.e. possess certificates that confirm that they have obtained the qualifications specified for the respective profession.

Professional qualifications which may be taught in professional courses are included in the classification of professions of vocational education, as specified by Regulation of the Minister of National Education. 

Qualification vocational courses may be organised by:

  • public schools which carry out vocational education with regard to the professions they educate for;
  • non-public schools which possess the authorisations of public schools and carry out vocational education with regard to the professions they educate for;
  • units of lifelong learning, units of practical education, training centres and vocational education centres;
  • institutions of the labour market which carry out an educational and training activity;
  • units which carry out educational activity under the provisions on the freedom of economic activity.

System of qualifications in Poland

Poland uses an Integrated System of Qualifications. Its objective is to support lifelong learning, confirm competences and facilitate employment by increasing the transparency of qualifications and the possibilities to compare them in Poland and in foreign countries. 

The Integrated System of Qualifications contains such tools as:

  • the Polish Framework of Qualifications - a description of eight levels of qualifications in Poland which correspond to the relevant levels of the European Framework of Qualifications;
  • the Integrated Register of Qualifications - a public register kept in the telecommunication and information system to register qualifications under the Integrated System of Qualifications;
  • uniform standards for describing qualifications and ensuring the quality of qualifications under the informal education. 

The Integrated System of Qualifications refers to the qualifications which are interpreted as a specific set of learning results (consistent with the established standards) the achievement of which has formally been confirmed by a competent institution. In Poland, the Integrated System of Qualifications comprises three types of qualifications:

  • qualifications in the education system and higher education;
  • “regulated” qualifications which are awarded under other legal provisions (outside of the formal education system);
  • “market” qualifications which are awarded without any legal basis embedded in the universally binding law. 

Since 2017, the documents (certificates, diplomas) which confirm the possessed level of qualifications are marked by a graphic sign of the Polish Framework of Qualifications (for complete or partial qualifications).

Learning Polish

Courses in Polish are organised by universities and private language schools. These include summer courses, semester courses, year-round courses, workshops in Polish or post-graduate studies in teaching Polish culture and Polish as a foreign language. The courses have to be paid for. Some of them are financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and are free.

Text last edited on: 04/2019

RECOGNITION OF DIPLOMAS AND QUALIFICATIONS

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:
- An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
- The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

  1. The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

  1. The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

  1. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

  1. Europass

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

  1. a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
  2. a language passport,
  3. certificate supplements,
  4. diploma supplements, and
  5. a Europass-Mobility document.

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

USEFUL LINKS

www.psz.praca.gov.pl - Public Employment Service

www.eures.praca.gov.pl - National EURES Website

www.poland.gov.pl - Information about Poland

www.mpips.gov.pl - Ministry of Labour and Social Policy

www.ms.gov.pl - Ministry of Justice

www.msz.gov.pl - Minsitry of Foreign Affairs

www.mz.gov.pl - Ministry of Helathcare

http://www.panoramafirm.pl - Employers in Poland

http://www.buwiwm.edu.pl - Bureau of Academic Recognition and International Exchange

http://www.men.gov.pl - Ministry of Education

http://www.mf.gov.pl - Ministry of Finance

www.kraz.praca.gov.pl - Legitimate Private Intermediary Agencies

Анкети

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