Customised assistance: work related issues (employment, health insurance and social security, taxation, institutional duties)

This service requires well-trained support staff in the area of work-related issues such as employment, health insurance and social security, taxation, and institutional duties with a focus on a specific group of academics – international academic staff. The goal is to provide highest level and quality of the service which might also require in-house legal advice. Safety, healthcare and wellbeing are essential for good functioning and a particular challange facing guests from abroad. It can be safely assumed they would be needing assistance all the way from the simplest general information, through getting through the necessary paperwork, to personal assistance and intervention.


Improved access to information Better communication and cooperation Increased enrollment and retention

Basic information

Categories Profesional & Academic Development Safety, Healthcare & Wellbeing Social security, Health Insurance, Taxation Institutional Processes
Mobility stages During mobility phase Pre-arrival phase Upon arrival
Delivery schedule Continuous
Importance Essential to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers) Internationals spouses/family members
Types of contracts of researchers Full degree student Permanent employee Visiting scholar Employee in training (interns, research fellows, postdocs) Fixed term employee Exchange student
Career stages of researchers Less than 6 months 6-12-months of experience 1-3-years of experience 3-10 years of experience 10-15 years of experience More than 15 years of experience
Lengths of stays of researchers 0-3 months 3-6 months 6-12 months More than 12 months

Practice setup

The customised service could be provided in different ways of intensity/detailedness:

  • Signposting: is a referral to a specific source of information or assistance such as an online resource or specialized service office (EURAXESS service centre, The European network of employment services (EURES), National Health Insurance Institution, The Ministry of Health, Social Insurance Institution, the Ministry of Social Policy, Tax Office and their websites).

  • Short inquiry response: is an immediate delivery of the short information or assistance to an incoming PhD student/academic/researcher.

  • Personalized assistance: is an individual or collaborative effort which requires research and/or repeated communication/meetings with an incoming PhD student/academic/researcher and/or other parties (solutions for very specific cases, prefilling forms, counseling on respective legislation and regulations, etc.) . 

When setting up this service consider the following aspects:

Phase 1

  • Identify relevant external actors with expertise on the immigration topic (EURAXESS service centre, The European network of employment services (EURES), National Health Insurance Institution, The Ministry of Health, Social Insurance Institution, the Ministry of Social Policy, Tax Office, etc) and regularly check their resources (websites, e-brochures, info sheets, etc).

  • Create databases of experts (Medical centre, local tax office, regional social security office, other HEI’s etc.) and establish collaborations with them.

  • Define and prepare a well-structured internal guideline on work/health insurance/social security/tax topic-related procedures incl. links and contact information to the competent authorities/external experts. Create various model situations with practical solutions suggested.

  • Organize a detailed training for the support stuff.

  • Prepare up-to-date resource materials for incoming Ph.D. students, researchers, and academics.

  • Collect topic-related forms (health insurance application, social security applications etc.), produce bilingual versions (if they are not already available), and prepare a sample form (s) with explanations of individual fields needed to be filled in and upload them to the website. (For details see the "Bilingual internal documents/forms" practice).

  • Define a code of conduct for the staff members (dedicated proactive approach, verification of the information, accuracy of information supported by the links to the official resources, tone of the language, maximum response time).

Phase 2:

  • Organise regular workshops for the support stuff and encourage them to participate in webinars, particularly taking into consideration changing legislation.

  • Build up a data base of the challenging cases solutions available to the staff members dealing with international academics for future reference

  • Develop a feedback loop for international academics to suggest improvements.

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • HR Department
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Study department
Partners involved in practice setup
  • Municipality
  • Tax office
  • Medical centre
  • EURAXESS centre
  • Other HEI/research organisation in city/region
  • Employers association
  • Career advisor
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • Process organization developed
  • User procedure and manual designed
  • Internal Wikipedia-style resource built up
Description of collaboration

In the setup phase the external partners’ role is mainly to provide information and trainings to the HEI’s staff.

Practice delivery

As a part of the customised service support staff members may:

  • Offer the incoming PhD students, academics, and researchers consultation on their documents required for the application for health insurance (pre-screening before submitting the application to the National Health Funds).

  • Consult complicated cases with the relevant authorities and experts, if necessary, and provide clear guidance to the PhD students/academics/researchers concerned

  • Offer assistance in securing an official translation of the required documents, if needed (based on the specificities of the national legislation).

  • Offer assistance to the international PhD students/academics/researchers with the prefilling the required forms or with the online booking system(s) to secure an appointment at the relevant authority office (if applicable)

  • Offer an opportunity to accompany the international PhD students/academics/researchers to the relevant tax office, if needed.


Challenges (factors) to consider

Challenge 1 – Data protection to be observed

Challenge 2 – Changing legislation and application formats

It is essential that changes in legislation be kept track of. The external actors may offer information sessions on the modifications. It is important to keep track of the new information available on their websites. Cooperation with other HEI and other stakeholders might result in better access to latest information.

Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • HR Department
  • IRO/welcome centre
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • Municipality
  • Tax office
  • Medical centre
  • EURAXESS centre
  • Other HEI/research organisation in city/region
  • Employers association
  • Career advisor
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Number of researchers assisted annually
  • Average satisfaction rate
Description of collaboration

In the delivery phase the external partners’ role is mainly to:

  • provide and update information to the HEI’ staff,

  • answer requests from the HEI’s staff,

  • (optional) assist the HEI’s staff with problematic issues.

@ Municipality: the information delivered and updated can include local or/and regional labour market information.

@EURAXESS centres: the information delivered and updated can include work related issues.

@ Other HEI: presenting the information on its activities, especially those available to international students and staff.

@ Employers association: promoting the association’s activities, showing the country/ regional labour market realities/specificities and opportunities for international students and researchers to be active in the labour market.

@ Career advisor: career-focused presentation which may include topics like personal branding, writing effective resumes, developing and modifying a career plan, effective job searching and networking.

@ Medical centre: delivering and updating information on health and safety regulation in the country, basic medical examination for international students and researchers, promoting the institution’s services.

@ Tax office: delivering and updating information on tax regulation in the country with special focus on requirements for foreign students and researchers. Promoting the institution’s services.

Examples of practice

Personal Income Tax Guideline

University of Chemistry and Technology Prague - Guideline on Personal Income Tax navigates through general information on Income tax, tax residence, applying for tax domicile, tax return deadlines, tax reliefs and allowances, personal tax deduction, useful links to forms and other relevant information as well as tax terminology related glossary.

Find out more

Payslip explanation

The University of Tubingen has elaborated a visual explanation of individual items on the payslip titled "Understanding your payslip" so that an international academic/researcher is able to understand all the deductions done to his/her brutto wage and subsequent net salary (tax, social security contribution - sickness, unemployment, pension contributions, health insurance contributions, child tax credit, tax exemption, etc.). 

Find out more

Catalogue of essential information before start work and during first days at university

The University of Environmental Life Sciences in Wroclaw guide for new employees aims to provide new university staff with essential information that may come in handy before they start work and during their first days at university. It also includes information about moving to Poland and living in Wroclaw etc.

Find out more

Medical University of Bialystok Welcome Centre

The Welcome Centre of the Medical University of Bialystok helps guest researchers in dealing with official matters where no English language service is offered. It helps arranging a place in the student's dormitory, or provides contact details to a verified real estate office, which will help to arrange the formalities related to renting a flat or room. It offers assistance in making a doctor’s appointment and serves as interpreter.

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International Visitors Welcome Guide

The Jagiellonian University in Kraków Welcome Guide is designed to help incoming researchers and guests find the information they need as a new international visitors to the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. It also contains useful tips and information about living and conducting academic activities in Poland.

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Customised assistance for incoming staff

Welcome Point of the University of Silesia in Katowice was established as a place where employees from abroad can come with questions concerning their work and stay in Poland. It is also the place for people who are intersted in working at the University of Silesia. It is important that incoming staff can quickly feel a part of the University community and that you feel at home in Poland.

You will find, among others, information about:

  • required documents related to the stay in Poland and work at our university,
  • trips, meetings and workshops organized by us to integrate employees from abroad,
  • interesting facts about region.
Find out more

Welcome Information Package

The Warsaw University of Life Sciences special dedicated website presents all important information before visit, either if you are an international employee, visitor, or student. Website is devided into several subsections:

  • before arriving;
  • during the stay.

There are visa-entry regulations to Poland, issues related to accommodation, taxes and insurance, psychological support, everyday functioning at the university, as well as sports.

Find out more

Welcome Office for incoming staff and guests

At Gdansk University of Technology, international academic and administrative staff arrive at each year for teaching, research and training purposes. The International Relations Office cooperates with other faculties and units of the university to provide services to international guests.

International employees may count on support with:

  • registering their residence in Gdansk;
  • legalising their stay;
  • checking in one of the dormitories;
  • choosing health insurance;
  • using health services (including COVID-19 vaccinations);
  • contacting individual units of Gdansk University of Technology to discuss organisational matters related to their stay.
Find out more