Foreigners in Malopolska

The number of foreigners holding valid residence permits issued in Małopolska is increasing, accounting for 39.8 thousand at the end of May 2019

The number of foreigners who live and work in the Małopolska Region is increasing every year. In particular, this process intensified after 2014. There was also a dispersion of the stream of immigrants so far concentrated in few regions, with Warsaw and the Mazowieckie Region. At the end of May 2019, 39.8 thousand had valid residence permits issued by the Małopolska.

The purpose of the study is to update information on foreigners staying and working in Małopolska, the scale of their inflow and structure. The basic data were residence permits and documents authorizing them to work in Poland.

Foreigners in Malopolska – main conclusions:

  • The most common document is a temporary residence permit, owned by 23 thousand of foreigners. In 2018, the reason for issuing of more than half of such documents was work. Another 12% was granted due to stay with another foreigner.
  • Labour migration to Małopolska increased significantly in the recent years. Only in 2018 over 35.2 thousand work permits, a temporary stay and work permit, as well as so called „blue cards” were issued. At the same year, local employment offices registered 112.8 thousand declarations of entrusting work to foreigner.
  • Immigrants are most often employed in industry and construction sectors, performing simple works. In 2018 54.5% of issued work permits and 71% of registered declarations concerned employment in these two sectors of economy.
  • However, the number of foreign specialists working in Małopolska increases as well. In 2018 the share of work permits issued for specialists was 6%. Almost 1.2 thousand work permits were granted to computer specialists. „Blue cards” (work permits granted due to employment in profession requiring high qualifications) accounted for 7% of permits for temporary stay. Their number more than doubled comparing to previous year.
  • Labour migration stream is dominated by men. In 2018 women accounted for only 22.5% of foreigners for whom work permits were granted and 31% of those, for whom declarations were registered. More than 80% of foreigners with work permits issued in 2018 were less than 45 years old.
  • Ukrainians are the largest group of immigrants in Małopolska. They account for more than half of foreigners holding valid residence permits. Ukrainian citizens are also the most numerous among immigrants for whom work permits were issued and declarations were registered in 2018.
  • In 2018 almost 4.5 thousand of foreign citizens were attending kindergartens and schools in Małopolska. Their number increased tenfold between 2014 and 2018. The majority (80%) is concentrated in educational institutions in Kraków.
  • Also, the number of foreigners studying at universities in Małopolska increases. At the end of November 2017 there were almost 8.4 thousand foreign students. The most popular fields of study were connected to business, administration and law, social science, as well as journalism and information.


The report “Foreigners in the Polish social security system in Malopolska region” is available in Polish.