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Ukrainians in Poland: what you need to know to start a business

Tomasz Błoński
Polish lawyer, specializes in migration law and employment of foreigners

Tomasz Blonski is a Polish lawyer who works in Warsaw. For more than six years, he has been dealing with issues of foreigners, civil cases, in particular inheritance law, preparing opinions on contracts and acting as a defense attorney in criminal proceedings. Has the greatest experience and specialization in migration law, including employment of foreigners and legalization of their stay in Poland. He told The Page about the nuances of starting a business in Poland.

Thinking about the citizens of Ukraine who came to Poland legally due to the armed conflict in their country, the Ministry of Development and Technology launched the website biznes.gov.pl/Ukraina. There will be content dedicated to entrepreneurs from Poland who are considering, for example, hiring employees from Ukraine and citizens of Ukraine who want to start a business in Poland.

On March 12, 2022, the President of the Republic of Poland signed the act on assistance to citizens of Ukraine. It assumes i.e. legalization of the stay of Ukrainians in Poland for 18 months (until August 23, 2023) and the possibility for them to obtain a PESEL number. Thanks to this, entrepreneurs from Ukraine can set up and run a company on the same terms as Polish citizens.

Who can create a company in Poland

Who can start a company? The website biznes.gov.pl/Ukraina was created to help Polish entrepreneurs and Ukrainian citizens interested in doing business in Poland find themselves in the current economic reality. Online applications for setting up a company in Poland can be submitted by citizens of Ukraine who have been coming to our country since February 24, 2022. This also applies to people who came to Poland earlier and reside here legally under the provisions of the Act of December 12, 2013 on foreigners and have a PESEL number. Citizens of Ukraine can set up both a sole proprietorship (it must be registered with CEIDG) as well as any partnership or capital company, including a general partnership.

A sole proprietorship in CEIDG can be established by citizens of Ukraine who reside legally in Poland and have a PESEL number. They can do it online or at the office. You can set up a business online, without having to leave your home thanks to the biznes.gov.pl website, where you can find all the necessary information on setting up and running a business.

Important: When setting up an online business, in addition to a legal stay in Poland and a PESEL number, a trusted profile is necessary.

In order to obtain a PESEL number, a citizen of Ukraine who has legally come to Poland (since February 24 this year) from the territory of Ukraine must submit an application for this at any commune office in Poland.

What to do to hire a citizen of Ukraine in Poland? Employers who intend to employ a Ukrainian citizen in their company should remember that potential employees should be legally residing in Poland and have a valid residence permit. An employed person may also be a citizen of Ukraine who legally came to Poland directly from Ukraine from February 24 this year. and declares to stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland. A citizen of Ukraine can be employed on the basis of an employment contract or a contract of mandate.

A citizen of Ukraine who resides in Poland legally and has a PESEL number may set up a business on the same terms as a Polish citizen in any form.

These can be:

  • a sole proprietorship – i.e. a business activity of a natural person – and register it with CEIDG
  • partnership or capital company — including general partnership and partnership — and register it in the National Court Register (KRS).

Pursuant to the Act of March 12, 2022 on assistance to Ukrainian citizens in connection with an armed conflict on the territory of that state, the term "Ukrainian citizen" is also understood as the spouse of a Ukrainian citizen who does not have Ukrainian citizenship, provided that he arrived on the territory of the Republic of Poland from the territory of Ukraine in in connection with hostilities conducted in the territory of that State.

Remember! The spouse of a citizen of Ukraine, if he came to Poland from Ukraine in connection with military operations conducted on the territory of that country, may set up a company in Poland on the same terms as a citizen of Ukraine.

CEIDG, i.e. the Central Register of Economic Activity, is an electronic register of sole proprietors operating in Poland. You can manage your entry in the register online, in the Entrepreneur's Account on Biznes.gov.pl (here you can set up a company, change the data in the entry, as well as suspend, resume or close your business).

KRS, i.e. the National Court Register, is a database and register of entrepreneurs. The following are registered in the National Court Register: general partnerships, European economic interest groupings, professional partnerships, limited partnerships, limited joint-stock partnerships, limited liability companies, simple joint-stock companies, joint-stock companies, European companies, cooperatives, European cooperatives, state-owned enterprises, research institutes and research institutes operating in the Łukasiewicz Research Network, mutual insurance companies, mutual reinsurance companies, other legal persons, if they conduct business activity and are subject to entry in the register, branches of foreign entrepreneurs operating in the territory, main foreign branches of insurance companies, main branches of foreign reinsurance companies, economic institutions budget.

Business options in Poland

In Poland, you can run a business in various forms:

  • individual business activity (also referred to as: sole proprietorship or business activity of a natural person)
  • partnership
  • capital company.

Individual activity (business activity of a natural person) is the simplest form of running a business:

  • it can be registered online and registration is free
  • does not require start-up capital
  • the entrepreneur is a taxpayer of personal income tax (PIT) and can choose the best form of taxation for him/her
  • an entrepreneur does not have to be a VAT payer if he has revenues below a certain threshold and sells only goods and services exempt from VAT
  • in most cases — for revenues that do not exceed EUR 2 million — simplified accounting or records is sufficient
  • the entrepreneur is responsible with all his assets for the company's obligations
  • the entrepreneur has the exclusive right to represent his business.

Companies are more complex forms of business. The process of establishing a company is much more formalized. Partners must sign a contract in a specific form. You have to pay for the registration of the company, and the representation of the company's affairs and financial liability depends on the type of company. Most often you need to contribute share capital.

QuoteRegardless of the chosen form of activity, it is recommended to consult the accountant beforehand. At a later stage of running a business, it is essential to find the right person who will undertake accounting matters.
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