Can a foreigner, a graduate of a ‘Szkoła policealna’, be exempt from the requirement to obtain a work permit?
A vocational school is an educational institution that provides specialized education, allowing individuals to acquire a sought-after profession in a short period.
According to § 1 point 15 of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy Resolution dated April 21, 2015, in cases where foreigners are entrusted with work on the territory of the Republic of Poland, there is a possibility to work without obtaining a work permit if the foreigner is a graduate of a Polish high school, has completed full-time studies at a university, or full-time doctoral studies at a Polish university, in Scientific Institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, or in Research Institutes operating on the basis of regulations on scientific research institutes.
In the current reorganization process of the Polish education system, a vocational school is presented as an institution for graduates of schools with basic education (secondary schools), implying its equivalence to a school providing secondary education.
Vocational schools can be either state or private, as stated in Article 18, paragraph 1, point 2F of the Education Law. Private schools can be established by individuals or legal entities. To establish a private school, registration in the corresponding Registry of the local administrative authority is required, based on the type and educational profile of the school.
Information about a specific school can be found on the Centrum Informatycznej Edukacji website, where the Registry of schools and educational institutions is available.
According to current legislation, a graduate of a vocational school is an individual who has obtained a certificate of completion. Importantly, the graduate is not required to take exams to confirm their qualifications in a particular profession.
It’s worth noting that a foreigner who is a graduate of a Polish vocational school, whether it is a state or private school (registered in the corresponding registry), is exempt from the obligation to obtain a work permit in the Republic of Poland. This exemption is not affected by the form of education, whether it was full-time or part-time, in the vocational school.
During employment, the foreigner must provide the employer with a certificate of completion of the vocational school. This document will subsequently confirm the right to work for the employer without the need for a work permit.
A foreigner who has completed a vocational school has the right to work without a work permit in all companies on the territory of Poland, regardless of the industry or specialization of the company. The alignment of the completed specialization with the company’s profile is also not a determining factor. This right for the foreigner is indefinite unless corresponding laws are changed in the future.