Poland and Ukraine are linked not only by 535 kilometres of a common border, but also by a long, and sometimes painful, common history. In recent years, the two countries have been increasingly connected by the unprecedented economic migration of Ukrainians to Poland, which has been taking place since 2014–2015 due to severe security and economic crises in Ukraine. This process accelerated after the liberalisation of the visa regime between the Schengen Area and Ukraine in 2017, which allowed Ukrainian citizens to travel visa-free within the EU (with the exception of Ireland and Great Britain), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
However, only in Poland can Ukrainian citizens work without a visa, provided they possess a biometric passport and a declaration of employment. The administrative fee for obtaining the declaration of employment is covered by the employer and costs 30 Polish zloty (less than eight euro). Once authorised to work in Poland, Ukrainian workers are protected by Polish labour regulations. Polish employers are obliged to fulfil all employment-related requirements, including registering their Ukrainian employees with the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS).
As a result of these bureaucratically simplified and relatively inexpensive provisions, Ukrainians have become the largest national group migrating to Poland. Official Polish statistics approximate the number of Ukrainians residing in Poland at around 1.3 million. While many, particularly seasonal workers, stay in Poland short-term, a significant number hope to stay in Poland longer.
We are proud to share with you the report concerning Ukrainian-Polish relations, which was prepared by Nadiia Koval, Laurynas Vaičiūnas and Iwona Reichardt.