The introduction of a visa-free regime, albeit indirectly, stimulates an increase in the number of labor migrants from Ukraine in Europe. A trip to Europe without obtaining visa documents gives Ukrainians the opportunity to find work directly on the spot and conclude an employment contract. In other words, to prepare the ground for re-arrival, but on a work visa – as a seasonal or permanent worker. Moreover, Poland has already stated that visas are not required for Ukrainians who plan to work in the republic. Warsaw is interested in increasing the number of workers – this was the reason for the liberalization of labor legislation. However, there are certain risks.
The opportunity for Ukrainians to enter the Schengen zone without visa documents has led to the right to get a job in Poland without obtaining a work permit or residence permit – this is the specificity of Polish labor legislation. If previously this was prevented by the presence of a Schengen visa, now the bureaucratic obstacle has disappeared. At the same time, without paperwork, Ukrainians can work in Poland only for 90 days in one half-year – this is the period of stay provided for by the visa-free regime. Thus, the relaxation is relevant only for Poland and only for seasonal work. If the employee plans to stay in Poland, his employer must draw up a written statement of intent to employ a citizen of Ukraine and submit the document to the regional labor department. In addition, it is expected that amendments to labor legislation will begin to take effect at the beginning of 2018, which will allow foreigners to apply for seasonal work under a simplified scheme and work for eight months. How this, however, will relate to pan-European legislation is not yet known.
All other categories of Ukrainians (in particular, those who plan to work in Poland on a permanent basis) will still need to apply for a “residence card” – a local version of a residence permit confirming the status of a foreigner in the Polish Republic.
However, this process also has a downside. According to surveys, today approximately a third of Ukrainians are ready to leave their homeland forever. This also applies to qualified personnel who have not found professional use in Ukraine. Thus, Ukraine’s European integration aspirations can easily result in significant losses of potential workers and lead to a shortage in the national labor market.