When living in Warsaw, remember that sometimes we may encounter people willing to take advantage of our unfamiliarity of regulations and Polish language. To avoid possible dangers, it is good to read a set of rules which will make our lives in Poland easier.
Job. Remember that working as an undeclared employee is risky. Many foreigners, and even Poles working undeclared, were cheated and did not receive salary for their work. The worst thing in such cases is the inability of taking legal action. Only a signed employment contract gives ability to charge employer before the National Labour Inspectorate (Państwowa Inspekcja Pracy). If you are working on the basis of a contract to perform a specified task, or a casual work contract, you may take your charge directly to the court.
Renting a Flat. When renting a flat, remember to sign an agreement – this will secure your rights. However, signed document must not always be a guarantee of safety – it is necessary to check the agreement, if any of the points are doubtful. Remember to collect all bills for gas, water, electricity and central heating. Often, the payment is done in advance, for two months on the basis of average use from previous months. Such system creates a risk of a fraud, so that is why collecting all bills is so important.
Dishonest Agents. Many foreigners during complex and complicated procedure for legalization of stay need support of lawyers. That is why they often turn to one of the many law firms providing mandate services. However, the legal market is full of representatives who are not concerned in helping foreigner, but instead they focus on personal financial benefits. It is important to find a trustworthy lawyers with good reputation and company residence. It is advisable to ask for help in non-governmental organizations, or advice from other foreigners who used services of trustworthy law firms.
ABCs of Safety in Warsaw
Warsaw is not one of the most dangerous cities, however like elsewhere some uneqpected accidents may happen. One of the thigs to have particularily on mid is to be aware of thefts. Pickpockets often choose foreigners as their victims mostly on buses (mainly bus No.175 – traveling between the airport and Central Railway Station). Most of the thefts happen during the night. Like in most places in the world, it is advisable to be extra careful at night. Try to avoid night busses and places where young people drink alcohol. It is not advisable to walk at night in parks, residential districts, or close to the off-license shops selling alcohol. Avoid walks during match days. In the evening, when the football match is over it is easy to meet young people looking for a fight. The buses are full of football fans (mainly buses No. 171, 187, 159, 107, 141 crossing Łazienkowska Stop, where is the Legia Stadium).
Troubles may pay a visit to your home. Recently, some people impersonate with postmen or manicipaulity workers overseeing the condition of water or gas systems etc (all admnistrations organize such technical service periodically). To aviod mistake and letting potencial criminal into the house, remember to read information announcements on the staircase about date and time of such eventual visit of service workers. It is good to remember the local postman as well.
Warsaw is full of cheating taxi drivers. Remember to always check the price per km before you enter the cab. It is most advisable to order a taxi via phone from a trustful corporation. Car should have a name of the company on the top of the roof, telephone number, and information about the prices on the front windscreen. Be extra careful on the airport. It is best to choose a taxi company recommended by the airport’s service – ELE Taxi, Super Taxi or Sawa Taxi, which await on the specially marked area next to the terminals. Price for a taxi trip from airport to city centre of Warsaw costs about 40 PLN. Cheater form private taxis may even triple this price.
Whenever we find ourselves in dangerous situation, fall victims of a crime or accident we should not hesitate to call for help. If we own a mobile phone, calling 112 emergency number is all we should do – the operator will redirect us to adequate officer. But, if we do not own a mobile personally we should ask someone on the street to give us a help. Calling emergency numbers is free of charge and does not require any funds from the pre-paid card or subscription.
On Polish territory following emergency numbers are available:
998: Fire Brigade
994: Water Supply – Sewage Emergency
993: Heating System Emergency
992: Gas Emergency
991: Electricity Emergency
986: Municipal Police
981: Road Assistance