Despite the rollercoaster of a year, 48% of people voluntarily changed jobs in 2020. The pandemic has caused millions to re-evaluate priorities and career progression chances to seek new opportunities, including many who are now starting jobs abroad for the very first time. With their geographical connections and untapped potential, Eastern European countries are quickly becoming the ideal place to advance your career.
Eastern Europe has seen rapid growth in wages and employment prospects in recent years, and is increasingly offering opportunities to international workforces. The region is enjoying success in industries that are oversaturated or struggling in other areas of the world, such as automotive manufacturing, food manufacturing and logistics. The most prosperous major industries in Eastern Europe include biotechnology, education and consumer goods.
In 2021 and for the next few years to come, Poland will present particularly appealing opportunities for IT contractors and school teachers looking for short-term assignments. Here Generate’s contractor management specialists reveal the most important things to consider before starting contract roles in Poland.
Guide to Contracting in Poland
1. Visas & Work Permits
Following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union at the end of 2020, British citizens must now apply for a visa to stay in Poland for longer than 90 days. Citizens of EU member states can enter Poland and live in the country without a visa. Non-EU citizens must apply for a work permit or business visa to take up employment in the country, depending upon the specifics of their employment.
Employers can apply for different types of work visa/permit on behalf of their employee or prospective employee. Individuals must be able to present written confirmation of an employment offer to qualify for a visa, and other documentation on the individual or company may be required. Visas are normally received within 10 and 12 weeks of the initial application. Work visas can be applied for at the Polish embassy in the individual’s home country. Find out more about Polish visas.
2. Tax & Pay Rates
Individual income tax responsibilities are defined by residency status. Under Polish law, a tax resident is an individual whose ‘centre of vital interests (economic or personal interests) is in Poland’ or an individual who spends more than 183 days in a calendar year in the country. Polish tax residents pay tax on their personal income from employment and self-employment based anywhere in the world. Non-residents are subject to income tax on their Polish-sourced income only.
The country operates progressive income tax rates. Individuals pay 17% tax on earnings up to 85,528.00 Polish Zloty (about $22,560 or €18,758); on income above this amount, individuals pay 14,539.76 Zloty plus 32% of excess over 85,528.00. Read more about tax in Poland.
In comparison to other European nations, many Polish cities are highly affordable places to live. The cost of living is low – as much as 40% lower than the UK – meaning that any contractors who are offered lower day rates than expected still stand to profit considerably from working in Poland.
3. Employment Prospects
The country’s official mismatch priority occupations list – which specify areas of urgent demand for skilled professionals – include vocations that are popular and well suited to contractors. Polish businesses and public organisations have long been in need of teachers, IT specialists and those in the science and engineering fields. Despite employment in the tech sector growing at 10% every year and the country hosting over 400,000 IT professionals, companies suffer insufficient specialist skills due to low quality technical education and the temptation for Poles to move overseas. The skills shortages present an ideal opportunity for foreign contractors to provide their skills for short and medium time periods.
International contractors, and particularly those whose first language is English, will enjoy an easy transition period: many Polish citizens speak fluent English as a second language, and the multilingual country is home to 2.1million expats.
Much like most other European countries, those seeking a job in Poland can apply directly with an employer, register with a recruitment agency and/or apply for vacancies through online portals. The most popular job boards in Poland include:
4. Reasons to Work in Poland
The country offers a range of cultural traditions, living and working opportunities, and landscapes to experience:
- The Great Outdoors – The natural beauty of the country is as varied as it is vast. The Baltic Sea stretches for over 500 miles and the land is dotted with volcanoes, glaciers, mountains and a plethora of wild nature.
- Travel Opportunities – Following the lifting of lockdowns and coronavirus transport restrictions, keen travellers will be well placed for international expeditions from Poland. The country borders Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. Its Central European location positions Poland as the perfect base to explore European history, culture and landscapes across both East and West.
- History – The nation offers 1,000 years of exciting history to uncover. From medieval tribes to the country’s own Golden Age in the Renaissance era, to dynasties, monarchies and the two world wars, visitors and residents have much to learn, explore and experience.
- Environmental Focus and Energy Policies – Poland’s official energy plan promotes the increased use of wind and solar power over fossil fuels, and the country is striving to ensure 23% of the nation’s entire energy usage comes from renewables. In April 2021 Poland’s Government and unions signed an agreement with the country’s coal mining industry to fully phase out coal production by 2049. This makes the country even more committed to net-zero carbon emissions than the Paris Agreement, which binds all European Union members to ambitious renewable energy targets. The country is fast becoming a global hub of investment in hydropower, onshore wind and solar energy.
Get Started on Your International Contracting Journey
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