The epidemic status has a negative impact on the labor market situation in many countries. How do migrants who live and work in Poland find themselves in the crisis?
The impact of coronavirus on rising unemployment is already evident in the US example. According to Rzeczpospolita, the unemployment rate in this country has increased almost fourfold, and from mid-March to early April, as many as 17 million American citizens applied for unemployment benefits. According to Andrzej Kubasiak – deputy director for research and analysis at the Polish Economic Institute – such a high increase in unemployment results from the specifics of the American labor market, where contracts usually lack a notice period, which affects the great flexibility of the entire economy.
Data on the unemployment rate and the situation on the labor market in Poland for March and April this year, unfortunately, are not yet available. However, more and more reports about the critical situation of the Polish economy appear in the internet and press. EU member states are trying to prevent the crisis by subsidizing companies. The so-called “tie-ups” will keep jobs with limited work dimensions. Support packages for entrepreneurs and the most important information can be found here.
Migrants from outside the EU who are staying in Poland on the basis of residence permits are particularly vulnerable to losing their jobs. In their case, the legal stay of a foreigner in Poland depends on having a job. In case of job loss, residence permits automatically lose their validity.
As Agata Kostyk – Lewandowska points out in Radio Wrocław broadcast on employment of foreigners and work during the COVID-19 epidemic, the solutions of the crisis shield take into account residence issues, however they completely ignore the topic of employment, changes and loss of job.
The crisis associated with coronavirus mainly affects people employed under civil law contracts: work contracts (umowa o dzielo) or mandate contracts (umowa zlecenie). These agreements usually do not provide for notice periods or paid holidays. Therefore, during a downtime in the business, it becomes necessary for the employer to terminate the contract literally overnight and leave many people without a livelihood.
The situation of foreigners is also not facilitated by current legal regulations, which in the event of a sudden cessation of employment with an employer and the desire to look for a job at the next one, require a new work permit before actually starting work. As a reminder, the procedure for obtaining the above permit may last from couple to several months. Therefore, even in such a situation, the solutions provided for in the anti-crisis shield, which consist in the extension of work permits and the periods provided for in the declaration of entrustment of work, do not give legal possibility to quickly take up a new job without a long period of waiting for a new permit.
As can be seen from the above examples, the legal situation of migrants should be taken into account in subsequent amendments to the anti-crisis shield. In the current situation, foreigners for whom Poland has become home are left far behind in terms of being able to adapt to the economic conditions prevailing during the epidemic.