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Work in EU and EEA countries

This article is written according to the legal status current as of: 2017-01-05

What is EURES?

EURES (European Employment Services) is the network of public labour services and their partners on the European Union labour market. EURES network was established by the European Commission to facilitate freedom of movement of the employees by defining and counteracting mobility barriers. You can profit from EURES services when you are looking for international job offers or when you need information on conditions of living and working in the chosen member-country of European Union and European Economic Area.

EURES services

EURES services are addressed to:

  • job seekers, people interested in work in another country,
  • the employers willing to recruit the employees from abroad.

EURES services are accessible to everyone free of charge.

EURES network is supported by a special e-portal of the European Commission, www.eures.europa.eu. The portal is the source of knowledge on the European labour market.

Portal users may benefit from:

  • database of job offers placed by the employers interested in recruitment of employees from abroad,
  • database of CVs of the people interested in working abroad,
  • database on living and working conditions in the Member States.

EURES staff

EURES network is composed of: the ministries of labour, central, provincial and district labour offices, trade unions and employers organisations. EURES services in each country are provided by the EURES Advisers (approximately 900 people in whole European Economic Area), supported by EURES Assistants. There are over 30 EURES Advisers, and over 300 Assistants working in the provincial and district labour offices in Poland.

All the news about EURES comes from the website: www.eures.praca.gov.pl. Look also at the website: www.eures.europa.eu for further information.

What if you worked in Poland and now you wish to come back to your country?

The coordination of social security systems guarantees the free movement of citizens in the European Union. It enables a European citizen to move from one member country to another maintaining the right to social benefits. This is possible due to the fact that the EU provides common rules to protect your social security rights when moving within Europe.

As regards the unemployment allowance, the competent institution of a given member country has to take into account the periods of insurance, employment or self-employment completed in other EU countries. The listed periods are confirmed in document PD U1 (equivalent of the former E301 Form).

Furthermore, if a person is granted an unemployment allowance wherever on the territory of the EU, the benefit may be transferred to another EU country on the basis of the document PD U2 (equivalent of the former E303 Form). It guarantees that the person maintains the right to the said allowance on the principles of the country that granted it, that is for the same period.

In Poland you can apply for these documents in provincial labour offices appropriate to the registered address of the applicant.

Who can benefit from the coordination of social security systems?

You can benefit from the coordination of social security systems if you are registered in a labour office as an unemployed person with the right to the unemployment allowance (at least for the period of 4 weeks) - you have the right to seek employment in another country of EU, European Economic Area or Switzerland and to transfer your allowance there

How long can you receive an unemployment allowance that was transferred from another EU country?

You may transfer the benefit to another country and receive it for the period of up to 6 months (before it was 3 months).

What should you do if you want to transfer the benefit?

Before you go to another country of EU, European Economic Area or Switzerland, you should apply for the PD U2 document to a provincial labour office.

Along with the application form you should submit the following information:

  • a document that confirms that you have been registered with the competent for the place of residence labour office with the right to the benefit,
  • the date of registration,
  • the period for which the benefit was granted,
  • information whether the applicant accepted all the forms of aid offered by the labour office, if not, information whether he had a justified reason to refuse the help offered him by the labour office,
  • information whether the district labour office does not plan any activities pertaining to the employment support programmes of the unemployed prior to or during the period of his seeking employment abroad,
  • information whether the payment of the unemployment allowance was ceased for the reasons enumerate in the Article 75 of the Act on Employment Promotion and Labour Market Institutions.

Some other information may be required depending on the country.

If you do not want to lose the right to the benefit, you should come back to the country that has granted the benefit within the period specified in the document PD U2. In some individual cases the competent institution may extend this period. If – while seeking employment – you take up studies or a business activity abroad, you will lose the right to the benefit.

Additionally, within 7 days since the date of departure from the country of your last employment (point 2.1 in PD U2 document), you must register in the labour office in the country to which you travelled in order to look for work and be ready to appear in that labour office on its every call. You have to prove that you have not come here as a tourist, but to search actively for work. The labour office will require the address of your residence that cannot be a hostel or a campsite. You cover the travel costs by yourself.

Which countries belong to the coordination of social security system?

  • member countries of the European Union,
  • member countries of the European Economic Area that do not belong to the EU,
  • Switzerland.

The transferred benefit is paid out by the district labour office that has granted that benefit to the account indicated by you.

The period for which the right to transfer the benefit has been granted cannot exceed the period for which the allowance had been granted.

The possibility to apply for the allowance, according to Polish law, after a period of employment or self-employment abroad.

If you are a person who after working in a country of EU, EEA or Switzerland, returned to Poland and cannot find employment, you may apply for the unemployment allowance through the principle of aggregation of the insurance periods, employment or self-employment (upon fulfilling certain conditions). Remember, however, that in accordance with the regulations of the coordination of social security systems, the unemployment allowance may be granted in the country of the most recent employment.

Changes in the regulations

On May 1st, 2010 there was a change introduced in the regulations concerning the coordination of social security systems. Importantly, these changes initially involved only European Union countries. Listed below are the main changes:

  • now also the periods of business activities conducted abroad are taken into account while establishing one’s right to the unemployment allowance;
  • the competent institution sends money directly to the bank account of the unemployed person who applied for the transfer;
  • there is a possibility of being registered in both countries simultaneously:
    • in the country of your last employment as a job seeker,
    • in the country where he or she receives the unemployment allowance - as an unemployed person.
  • new forms were introduced to replace E 300:
    • PD U1, equivalent of Form E 301,
    • PD U2, equivalent of Form E 303
  • PD U3 – information for a person that the provincial labour office notified the competent institution abroad of any circumstances whatsoever affecting entitlement to the benefits, e.g., undertaking employment, reporting illness, etc.;
  • there is a possibility of applying for the PD U1 irrespectively of your status (employee, unemployment person).

For those alternations to be implemented, the transitional period had been introduced which had lasted until April 30th, 2012, and then, upon the introduction of the changes also in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein, has been extended to 30.04.2014.

useful information

The new rules have been applicable so far only to the countries of the European Union. On 1 June 2012, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein implemented new regulations set by European Parliament and Council on coordination of social security systems. Currently, therefore, all the countries of EEA, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein since June 1st, 2012, the EU (since 1 May 2010) and Switzerland (from 1 April 2012) have operated under the new regulations.

What does it mean in practice?

Until June 1st, 2012, aggregation of periods of: insurance or employment for one to become eligible for the unemployment  benefits was possible only to employees, but was not applicable to the self-employed. Currently the self-employed people in the EEA countries and Switzerland have also got this right

Development: Editorial team of Zielona Linia 


Remember! All the materials posted on the portal www.zielonalinia.gov.pl have been drawn up by the editorial group and are for your information. The editors have put a considerable effort to make the provided information accurate and reliable. However, the information does not constitute a binding interpretation of the law.