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The Warsaw Voice » Law » September 30, 2011
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Law in brief
September 30, 2011   
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Disabled Voters to Vote by Mail
Disabled voters will be able to send their ballots by post and use special Braille ballots, under a piece of legislation passed by the Sejm, the lower house of parliament.

Voters with serious or moderate disabilities—as defined in an official medical statement—will be able to ask municipal authorities to allow them to vote by mail. They will be provided with a special electoral package that will include a return envelope, a ballot card, an envelope for this card, instructions on how to vote and a statement to sign that they have voted in person and secretly.

The legislation enables blind and visually impaired voters to vote using Braille ballots with special overlays.

Under the new regulations, at least one third of the polling stations in each district will have to be adapted to the needs of disabled voters.

Longer Work Permits for Foreigners
Work permits for employees who are not Polish nationals will be valid for three instead of two years, under a new set of rules drafted by the government.

The new rules simplify visa issuing procedures and allow Polish visa holders to reside and work in Poland for three years, up from two years at the moment.

An employer planning to hire an employee from a country other than Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and those in the EU—which are covered by preferential treatment—will have to obtain permission from the local authorities, who will first check if the vacancy could not be filled by an unemployed Pole with similar qualifications.

Foreigners wanting to set up a business in Poland will be granted a visa if the authorities decide that their business operations will benefit the Polish economy.

Foreigners applying for a Polish visa will need to have their fingerprints taken, in line with new requirements across the EU. Under these regulations, fingerprints must be taken even from children aged over six and crossing the EU’s borders. All foreign visitors seeking to enter Poland will have to apply for a visa in person.

Rules Less Strict for Candidate Cops
Applicants seeking to join the police force will no longer be automatically disqualified if it turns out that they have had a brush with the law in the past, under new legislation approved by the lower house of parliament. However, this only applies to minor offenses. The new regulations, which amend the law on the police force, clearly define individual stages of the application procedure and specify what documents are required and what tests applicants have to pass before they can begin to work for the police.

Funds for Research Centers
Research centers which want to expand their operations will be able to apply for special subsidies. These will include funds for enlargement, remodeling and renovation of buildings and the purchase of real estate which research centers need to carry out their projects.

Once a project is completed and its costs are accounted for, research centers will be entitled to refunds ranging from 30 to 70 percent of the project’s cost, depending on its size.

Restrictions on Fish Sales
Cod and salmon are the first varieties of fish to have been put on a special list of protected fish species in the European Union and may only be sold through what are known as first-sale centers. These are places at seaports and fishing ports fitted with facilities intended for holding fish auctions in conformity with EU requirements. On the Polish coast, first-sale centers are located in Kołobrzeg, Darłowo, Ustka, Władysławowo and Hel.

The regulations are expected to make it easier to keep fish sales under control and make sure that fishing quotas are not exceeded, officials say. The regulations do not apply to the sale of fish caught by small, deckless fishing boats when the catch weighs no more than 300 kilograms.

Medical Qualifications Recognized
Anesthesiologists and urologists who have obtained professional qualifications abroad will find it easier to have their certificates recognized in Poland, under a draft regulation unveiled by the Health Ministry. Under the regulation, exams held by European science associations will be considered equivalent to state exams for specialists in Poland. Anesthesiologists and urologists who have passed exams held by the European Society of Anesthesiology and the European Association of Urology will be automatically recognized as specialists in Poland and will not be required to take the state exam upon returning to the country.
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