Dublin

Poland

Country Report: Dublin Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Independent

Dublin statistics: 2019

Outgoing procedure

Incoming procedure

 

Requests

Transfers

 

Requests

Transfers

Total

227

58

Total

4,023

694

Germany

55

25

Germany

1,915

481

Greece

38

France

1,192

66

France

29

Belgium

204

Bulgaria

9

Sweden

47

Sweden

5

 

 

 

Source: Office for Foreigners, SI Pobyt

 

Application of the Dublin criteria

According to the Dublin Unit at the Office for Foreigners, a Dublin request may be initiated at any stage of the asylum procedure if any circumstances justifying the request arise. The vast majority of Dublin incoming requests are based on Eurodac hits.[1] According to the Office for Foreigners, in 2019, Poland accepted 2,913 requests (down from 3,623 in 2018), out of which 694 resulted in transfers. The Office for Foreigners did not provide information on evidence required for requests on the basis of family reunification provisions. 

The dependent persons and discretionary clauses

The humanitarian clause was applied in 2 cases in 2019, while the sovereignty clause was not used at all.[2] No information on the circumstances was provided.

 

Procedure

 

The Head of the Office for Foreigners is responsible for Dublin procedures and the Border Guard for transfers.[3] All asylum seekers over the age of 14 are fingerprinted and checked in Eurodac at the time of lodging their asylum application. In all cases the Head of the Office for Foreigners applies the Dublin procedure.[4] The ruling of the CJEU in Mengesteab,[5] allowing Member States to apply the Dublin procedure as of the moment of registration before the lodging of the application, has not changed the practice of the Office for Foreigners, which starts the Dublin procedure as of the moment of lodging of the application.

According to the Office for Foreigners, if the authorities decide to apply the Dublin procedure, asylum seekers are informed about it. They are informed about the following steps of the procedure e.g. decision received from another Member State, or the need to submit additional documents. Asylum seekers and their legal representatives can contact the Dublin Unit in person, in writing or by phone.[6]

Individualised guarantees

The Tarakhel v. Switzerland judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has not influenced the practice of the Head of the Office for Foreigners in Dublin cases vis-à-vis Italy in 2015-2017, as there are not many Dublin cases concerning Italy. The Office for Foreigners noted however that the only foreigners transferred from Poland to Italy are single men, while vulnerable persons are allowed to stay in Poland.[7] Also in 2018 there were no cases where the Tarakhel judgment would have been relevant.[8] In 2019 the Office informed that the practice regarding transfer of single men to Italy has not changed.

In 2018 the Office for Foreigners submitted requests to any relevant country without restriction, unless the case concerned vulnerable persons. In the latter case, it is unclear whether in 2018 the sovereignty clause was applied automatically. Where Greece, Hungary or Bulgaria accepted the request, Poland asked these countries to present individual guarantees for the applicants concerned. According to the information provided in 2019, when the guarantees were not presented, Poland did not carry out the transfer and took responsibility for processing the application for international protection.[9]

Transfers

According to the Border Guard, the transfer is organised within days from the moment the decision on transfer becomes final, bearing in mind the time in which other states expect to be informed about the transfer in advance and depending on the availability of plane tickets, etc.[10]

Asylum seekers are transferred under escort only when there is a risk of absconding or if they have already absconded before.

There is also a legal basis for detention in Dublin outgoing procedures, based on the risk of absconding (see section on Grounds for Detention).[11] The Border Guard reported that in 2019, 63 (down from 82 in 2018) persons were transferred under Dublin from detention centres.[12] In 2019, 134 detainees were transferred under Dublin Regulation from other countries beforehand. No information about the legal grounds of the detention was provided.[13]

In the past years there was a problem of transferring only some members of the family from Germany to Poland. The Border Guard confirmed that these cases are rare now, but still happen.[14]

 

Personal interview

 

There is no separate interview where an applicant’s case falls under the Dublin Regulation. Additional questions for the Dublin procedure form an integral part of the asylum application form.[15]

 

Appeal

 

Asylum seekers can appeal against decisions taken in the Dublin procedure to the Refugee Board (and then to the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw and the Supreme Administrative Court) within 14 days following the same procedure described in the section on appeals in the Regular Procedure: Appeal. The average time for the appeal procedure in Dublin cases in 2019 was 110 days (up from 45 days in 2018). In 2019 the Refugee Board issued 33 decisions (down from 13 in 2018) in Dublin proceedings, none of which overturned the decision of the first instance authority.[16]

 

Legal assistance

 

Free legal assistance is offered as described in the section on Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance. State legal aid covers preparing an appeal and representation in the second instance.[17]

 

Suspension of transfers

 

In 2019 requests were submitted to any country. Greece, Hungary and Bulgaria were asked to present individual guarantees for the applicants concerned.[18]

 

The situation of Dublin returnees

 

There is no information on obstacles in accessing the asylum procedure for Dublin returnees. There were cases where HFHR tried to follow asylum seekers transferred back from another country and learned from the SG that they applied straight away for voluntary return and left the territory. The reason why they chose return over a (re)examination of their asylum claim is unknown. The time limit to reopen the procedure is 9 months. Contrary to Article 18(2) of the Dublin III Regulation, in cases where e.g. the applicant did not wait for examination of his or her asylum claim in Poland but went to another Member State and did not come back to Poland within 9 months, the case will not be evaluated under the regular “in-merit” procedure. Their application lodged after this deadline will instead be considered as a subsequent application and subject to an admissibility procedure.[19]

In 2019, 2,005 decisions (down from 1,717 in 2018) discontinuing the procedure were issued because the applicant had explicitly withdrawn the application, left Poland, had not reached or left the reception centre, or did not attend the interview.[20] In 2019, 294 persons applied for reopening the procedure within 9 months.

In September 2017 the Commissioner for Human Rights published a report within the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, in which cases of improper detention of Dublin returnees with PTSD were described.[21] According to the report, the problems occurred due to numerous procedural shortcomings during the transfer of a family to Poland by the German police, as well as the lack of appropriate operational algorithms that should have been implemented in order to promptly identify victims of torture and violence as well as persons whose mental and physical condition rule out their placement in detention. After visits in detention centers in 2018 and 2019, the Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed that the problem persists. Although the Border Guard implemented guidelines on how to deal with persons requiring special treatment, they address treatment in detention, rather than providing that the person identified as a victim of violence should be released from detention (as required by the law).[22] NGOs add that the system in place is not effective because a person who is a victim of violence should not be put in detention at all, so identification should be conducted before placing in detention and not in detention.[23] This problem does not concern merely Dublin returnees, as described in detail below (see Guarantees for vulnerable groupsand Detention of vulnerable applicants).

 


[1] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 22 January 2020.

[2] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 22 January 2020.

[3] Article 36(2) Law on Protection.

[4]Article 36(1) Law on Protection.

[5]CJEU, Case C-670/16, Tsegezab Mengesteab v. Bundesrepublik Deutschland (GC), Judgment of 26 July 2017.

[6] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 27 August 2015.

[7] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 1 February 2018.

[8] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 14 January 2019.

[9] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 22 January 2020.

[10] Information provided by the Border Guard, 17 January 2020.

[11] Article 398(1)(3a) Law on Foreigners.

[12]However, according to the official statistics of the Office for Foreigners reported to the Eurostat, there were only 58 transfers in 2019 as a whole.

[13]Information provided by the Border Guard, 17 January 2020.

[14] Information provided by the Border Guard, 17 January 2020.

[15] Regulation of the Ministry of the Interior of 4 November 2015 on the asylum application form (Rozporządzenie Ministra Spraw Wewnętrznych z dnia 4 listopada 2015 r. w sprawie wzoru formularza wniosku o udzielenie ochrony międzynarodowej), available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/1l97b7F.

[16]Information provided by the Refugee Board, 16 January 2020.

[17] Article 69e Law on Protection.

[18]Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 22 January 2020.

[19] Article 40(6) Law on Protection.

[20] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 14 January 2019.

[21] Commissioner for Human Rights, Report on the activities of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture in 2016, 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/2sBpmvy, 76.

[22] Commissioner for Human Rights, Raport Krajowego Mechanizmu Prewencji Tortur z wizytacji Strzeżonego Ośrodka dla Cudzoziemców w Lesznowoli (wyciąg), 18 December 2018, availble (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/2SO3DgP, Report from Biala Podlaska, 7 January 2019, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/2BU7ej5, 7.

[23]  Association for Legal Intervention (Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej, SIP), Komentarz SIP: sprawozdanie Polski przed Komitetem przeciwko Torturom ONZ (Association for Legal Intervention comments on Poland’s reporting before UN Committee against Torture), 30 July 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2UncJR7.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation