Poland. Business Harbour
Poland. Business Harbour (PBH) is a government programme enabling individual IT specialists, start-ups, as well as small, medium-sized and large enterprises to swiftly relocate their business to the territory of the Republic of Poland.
The initiative of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, the Startup Hub Poland Foundation and the Organization of IT Service Employers (Software Development Association Poland – SoDA) resulted in the establishment of cooperation with Belarusian companies in 2020, followed by the expansion into further Eastern markets and the most promising projects from all over the world starting from September 2022.
The PBH Programme includes three independent paths: Individual, Start-up and Business. PAIH only operates the Business path.
The Business Path is designed for small, medium-sized and large companies that operate primarily in the IT sector, modern technologies or highly specialised production, and plan to relocate their business to Poland or develop it in Poland. The Business Path is operated by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH). Further details are also available under the link».
Business Path PAIH
Applications to the Programme may be sent through the contact form» on the Internet website by typing in: ‘Poland. Business Harbour’.
After in initial verification, a consultant from the Polish Investment and Trade Agency’s Direct Investments Department will contact the interested applicant wishing to join the PBH Programme, and will inform them of the conditions for participation and what further steps need to be taken.
Business Path – eligible entities
The Business Path is directed to small, medium-sized and large companies representing the IT, modern technologies or highly specialised production sectors, which wish to carry out direct investments in Poland. If the investor decides to entrust an intermediary company (law firm, consulting company) with conducting the relocation of employees on an ongoing basis, it is required that both the Investor and the project are verified by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency. In such cases, a representative of the Investor (the company participating in the Programme) should remain the contact person for the Agency, and he or she should transfer lists of applicants to the Agency. We recommend ccing the intermediary company in any e-mails. As a rule, the company participating in the Business Path of the PBH Programme should come from one of the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine. As for projects which are of particular importance for the Polish economy, then the Programme is available to companies from all over the world, excluding any with Russian capital. After applying and during the participation in the Programme, the company must not be a party to an insolvency or bankruptcy proceedings. The company must also not be subject to suspension, liquidation, dissolution or cancellation.
Rights resulting from participation in the Programme
The companies participating in the Programme may receive a recommendation from PAIH for the company’s employees and their family members to apply for a national visa with the ‘Poland. Business Harbour’ annotation (visa type D-23 as a rule). Obtaining such a recommendation is not equivalent to being granted a PBH visa. The final decision is taken by the Consul of the Republic of Poland. A PBH visa is granted for a maximum period of 1 year, and allows for the following to: take up employment in Poland without seeking a work permit, set up and carry out an economic activity under the same rules that apply to Polish citizens. The PBH visa enables the holder to permanently stay and work in the territory of Poland, and may also be used for business travel. If a visa is granted mainly for business travel to Poland, excluding any plans to permanently stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland, another type of visa should be applied for (to obtain such a visa, it is again necessary to contact the competent Consul of the Republic of Poland). The PBH visa is issued only once. During its validity period, the stay should be reported in the Voivodeship office. Considering the waiting time for a decision on a residence permit, the stay should be reported at the beginning of the visa’s validity period, whenever possible. The PBH visa may be granted again, only in justified situations. If the problem is not the fault of the visa holder, which is assessed by the Consul on an individual basis. If a foreigner applies for another PBH visa, the Consul has the right to require the applicant to deliver proof that he or she is registered for social security in Poland, or a different document to confirm that he or she earns a taxable income in Poland, as well as a document confirming his or her permanent registration or place of stay in Poland. As for family members, the aforementioned documents of the employee of the company participating in the Programme must be provided.
Employees eligible to be nominated for relocation under the Business Path of the PBH Programme
A National visas type D with the ‘Poland. Business Harbour’ annotation may be applied for by employees of the company participating in the Programme on the basis of an employment contract, a contract for a specific work, a contract of mandate or a B2B contract for a period not shorter than 3 months, as well as by the employee’s spouse and children. The employment position of the employee being relocated should be adjusted to the requirements of the investment project. Employees may be relocated from any company from the Capital Group participating in the Programme, in principle from the companies incorporated in the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia or Ukraine.
Procedure for applying for a visa through PAIH
The coordinator appointed by the company prepares the application form by stating the details of the applicants for the PBH visas or provides their data to the intermediary company, confirms that the information obligations related to processing personal data have been fulfilled, certifies the required minimum period of employment of the employees of the company/subcontractors cooperating with the company participating in the PBH Programme and submits the data to PAIH. Since the Polish Investment and Trade Agency cooperates with companies (not with individual applicants), the form should not be completed by individuals applying for a visa. The coordinator prepares the file in accordance with the Agency’s guidelines and the rules specified in ‘How to fill in the application form’ section. The Agency issues recommendations provided that one application form covers the following minimum number of persons: 3 employees, if the company is not included in the list», 15 persons (including the employees along with their eligible family members), if the company is included in the list». The completed application form is verified by the Agency’s consultant. The recommendations for granting a PBH visa are submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a weekly basis. The Agency is not involved in the subsequent stages of the visa application procedure. The contact person specified in the application form should monitor the current status of the application for those included in the list by sending e-mails directly to the Consulate which received PAIH’s recommendations. The submission date for visa-related documents may be specified directly by the Consul/representative of the visa centre, or selected by the company’s coordinator in the e-Consulate system. Organisational arrangements for receiving visa applications may vary between countries and Consulates within a country. We recommend visiting the Internet website of the particular Polish diplomatic and Consular post. Should you have additional questions concerning the visa process, your first contact point should always be the Consular department of the Polish Embassy or the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland. Alternatively, you can contact PAIH.
Companies from other countries, excluding Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine
As for the companies that implement projects which are of a scale and prominence that are highly important for the Polish economy, involving the sectors and type of investments the Agency supports, then the Programme may also be joined by companies from countries, other than Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Agency’s consultants classify projects to the relevant category and path, while providing the companies with detailed guidelines.
Combining the Business Path with an Individual Path
If the company cooperates with the Agency and wishes to additionally use the Individual Path to apply for a PBH visa, it should complete the following form», and wait until it is entered in the list».
Before it is entered in the list, the candidate company is verified by the GovTech Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individual IT specialists may apply for a PBH visa under the Individual Path once the company has been verified and entered in the list under the aforementioned link.
The Individual Path also enables the application for a PBH visa for those employees the company plans to hire. The candidate employees applying for the visa should have a confirmation document that the company entered in the list under the following link» intends to hire him or her, as well as presenting proof that he or she has been working in an IT-related position for at least 1 year, or a document to confirm his or her education in an IT-related field of study.
Applications for PBH visas should not be duplicated by submitting details of the same person through the Business Path and the Individual Path for individual IT professionals. Only one method for applying for a PBH visa should be used.
Other services offered by PAIH, apart from assistance in the application procedure for a PBH visa
Participants of the Business Path of the PBH Programme are PAIH’s customers, therefore may expect to be provided free of charge, with the same assistance as other direct investors. This includes, among other things: the provision of macroeconomic, personnel and sector-related reports, assistance in finding an optimal location for an investment and/or an office, the facilitating of contacts with Government and Self-government Institutions, organizing on-the-spot visits and meetings with stakeholders, the provision of information of public financing and support in identifying potential business partners.