Access to the labour market



Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

The law allows for access to the labour market for asylum seekers after six months from the date of submission of an asylum application if a first instance decision has not been given within this time and if the delay is not attributed to any fault of the asylum seeker.1 The Head of the Office for Foreigners upon the asylum seeker’s request, issues a certificate, which accompanied by a temporary ID document entitles the asylum seeker to work in Poland.2 The certificate is valid during the appeal procedure (first appeal only), when it was issued during the first instance procedure.

Access to employment is not limited to certain sectors, but can be problematic in practice. Many employers do not know, that the above mentioned certificate with a temporary ID document gives an asylum seeker a right to work or do not want to employ a person for such a short time (i.e. 6 months, as the employers are unaware that the procedure will actually take longer than the validity of a single ID). Secondly asylum seekers often live in centres which are located far away from big cities, which makes it difficult in practice to find a job. Moreover, most asylum seekers do not know Polish well enough to get a job in Poland.3

Experts point out that the fact that asylum seekers cannot work for the first 6 months of the refugee procedure is one of the factors which leads to a lack of independence and reliance on social assistance.4

  • 1. Article 35 Law on Protection, as amended in November 2015.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. M. Abdoulvakchabova, Problemy cudzoziemców w Polsce w świetle funkcjonowania Fundacji Ocalenie (The problems of the foreigners in Poland in light of functioning of the Ocalenie Foundation), in M. Duszczyk, P. Dąbrowski (ed.), Przestrzeganie praw cudzoziemców w Polsce. Monografia (Respect for the rightsof foreigners in Poland. Monograph),Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich, 2012, available at:, 46.
  • 4. K. Wysieńska, Gdzie jest mój dom? Bezdomność i dostęp do mieszkań wśród ubiegających się o status uchodźcy, uchodźców i osób z przyznaną ochroną międzynarodową w Polsce (Where is my home? Homelessness and access to housing among asylum seekers, refugees and persons granted international protection in Poland), UNHCR, 2013, 14.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti