The protraction of legalisation proceedings, which most foreigners in Poland go through, has been a major issue for years. It is sometimes necessary to wait more than a year or more to obtain a residence permit. Among the main reasons are personnel shortages in the provincial offices – although the number of applications for residence permits has increased manifold over the years, the number of employees handling the applications is not increasing fast enough. The government is currently working on amendments to streamline procedures by requiring the application for legalisation of residence – exclusively online.

Although we are glad that the Ministry, finally, has noticed this problem, the idea of solving it is not quite accurate. If the changes are not followed by serious financial measures allowing the provincial offices to significantly increase their employment so that they have someone to process these applications, digitisation will only be another tool making life more difficult for migrants.

If the changes are implemented, migrants will only be able to apply for a residence permit online (MOS system), certified with a qualified electronic signature. As a reminder, a PESEL number is necessary to obtain a qualified signature – which opens up a vicious circle and prevents a number of people from making such an application.
Another issue is digital exclusion which also affects some migrants. The question of accessibility to equipment, the Internet or the ability to navigate a certain system cannot determine the possibility of legal residence in Poland. Meanwhile, an application that does not meet these requirements will be considered invalid, resulting in the loss of the right of legal residence and/or work in Poland.

Currently, work on the draft law is still ongoing. We urge the Ministry of the Interior and Administration to re-examine the draft and thoroughly rethink the proposed solutions.

The letter that we sent to the Ministry of the Interior on behalf of ourselves, Ocalenie Foundation and Migration Consortium is available to read HERE.