On the rights of foreign nationals in the labour market of Lower Silesia. A MIGRIGHT project meeting

The second expert and consultative meeting organized within the framework of the project “MIGRIGHT: Improving social dialogue for decent work of migrants and refugees in Poland” took place on 14 April. It was devoted to the discussion on the issue of decent work for migrants and refugees in the region of Lower Silesia.

The meeting, organised in an online format, was attended by representatives of social partners from Lower Silesia, including representatives of employers and their associations, trade unions, state and local administration, and non-governmental organisations. During the three sessions of the meeting, the participants addressed various problems and challenges related to securing labour and social rights of migrants and refugees occurring on the central as well as regional level.

In the introductory part of the meeting, Jarosław Obremski, Lower Silesian Voivod, to the main challenges related to employment and work of foreign nationals in the region. Following his welcoming address, Emilia Małys-Zaremba, CASE expert, presented a brief characteristic and profile of labour migrants in the Lower Silesian labour market.

The discussion was opened with an intervention by Ewa Flaszyńska, Director of Labour Market Department of the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology. According to the Ministry, the demand for foreign labour in Poland remains very high, despite the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of the numerous challenges associated with the procedure the employment of migrants – primarily related to its lengthiness – the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology is planning a reform of this system. It would aim, firstly, to reduce bureaucracy and streamline procedures related to the legalisation of stay and work of foreign nationals (e.g. by establishing a single institution responsible for matters related to work of foreigners and by ensuring full digitisation of the system for receiving and processing applications for residence and work), and secondly, to counteract such negative phenomena in the labour market as wage dumping, illegal employment, and the activity of dishonest employment intermediaries more effectively.

In the course of the further discussion, the following problems were raised and demands expressed:

  • the abolition of the tying of the migrant worker to a specific employer;
  • better regulation of the activity and better control over employment and temporary work agencies, in particular with regard to the so-called virtual offices;
  • providing more financial resources the National Labour Inspectorate;
  • separation of control and advisory functions of the National Labour Inspectorate;
  • increasing the social responsibility of employers in relation to forced labour and the phenomenon of discrimination;
  • development of information materials for foreigners (at central level);
  • creation of integration offer for foreigners (at central level).

The next expert and consultative meeting of the MIGRIGHT project will be orgniased in Autumn 2021 and will be devoted to the discussion on the issue of decent work for migrants and refugees in the Lublin region.

The leader of the MIGRIGHT project is the Federation of Polish Entrepreneurs and the partners are the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions, CASE – Centre for Social and Economic Research, and NHO.

The MIGRIGHT project is implemented with support from Norway through the Norwegian Funds 2014–2021, under the programme “Social Dialogue – Decent Work”.