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Poland Launches Inspections on IT Companies Over Unused Work Visas for Foreign Specialists


The Polish authorities have launched an inspection into IT companies in the country that were supposed to bring foreign specialists on work visas but whose employees never made it to the country.

The inspection was launched following concerns regarding the discrepancy between the high number of foreigners issued work visas and the low number of those who have actually entered Poland for the purpose of working as IT specialists in the country, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

The Polish companies were given the opportunity to bring up to 100,000 foreign IT specialists, mainly from Eastern European countries.

However, data show that only around 15 per cent of those who were granted a Polish work visa entered the country, pushing the authorities to bring light into the matter.

As Rzeczpospolita explains, for several weeks now, the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) has been conducting internal inspections on IT companies participating in the Poland Business Harbour (PBH) Programme between 2020 and 2023.

This programme initially aimed to bring IT specialists from Belarus, but later on, it expanded to include Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Armenia.

By attracting IT specialists, the programme sought to help the country’s companies hire people to fill positions.

However, suspicions arose as soon as it was discovered that the number of visas exceeded the actual number of arrivals to the country.

Only 15,000 Foreign IT Specialists Entered Poland on Work Visas Through PBH Programme

Data show that Poland issued 93,046 work visas to Belarusians alone, but only around 15,000 foreigners from all nationalities entered the country using these visas.

In addition to PAIH, the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) has also been involved in the matter, with it taking documents related to the case from PAIH.

In an attempt to clarify the entire situation regarding work visas issued for foreign IT specialists, PAIH is collecting information from companies.

However, as Rzeczpospolita notes, only 30 out of 50 companies have provided details so far on the number of foreign employees who were granted a work visa under the PBH Programme, their relocation status, and temporary residency permit.

Despite the authorities trying to gather as much relevant information as possible, it has been explained that discrepancies still exist.

Some foreign employees reportedly abandoned their plans to relocate to Poland after obtaining work visas, citing tax concerns and family matters.

As for some others, it is still unknown whether they are still in Poland or have left the country for another one, raising concerns about the programme being used as a gateway to the EU.

Poland Has Already Suspended PBH Programme

Poland decided in January of this year to suspend the PBH programme, the aim of which was to attract foreign IT specialists.

The programme was suspended as soon as it was revealed that there had been visa irregularities, with the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying that visas were issued in an uncontrolled manner.

When the programme was ended, the Ministry said that it did not live up to the expectations that the country had in mind when launching it.

The same authority further highlighted that the programme will remain suspended until the country finds efficient solutions for verifying individuals and companies.

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