Cessation and review of protection status

Poland

Country Report: Cessation and review of protection status Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Independent

Poland has a single procedure (“deprivation”) for the cessation and/or withdrawal of international protection.

Refugee status is ceased if a foreigner:[1]

  1. Has voluntarily settled in the country, which he or she had left for fear of persecution;
  2. Has voluntarily accepted protection of a country he or she is a citizen of;
  3. Has voluntarily accepted the citizenship of the country of origin, which he or she had lost before;
  4. Has acquired new citizenship and he or she is under the protection of the state whose citizen he or she has become;
  5. Can no longer refuse to accept the protection of the country of origin, because the reasons why he or she was granted a refugee status no longer exist, and he or she did not present convincing arguments as to why he or she cannot accept this protection. The same applies to countries of habitual residence for stateless persons.

Subsidiary protection is ceased, if the circumstances which were the reason for granting subsidiary protection no longer exist or have changed in such a way that a foreigner no longer requires protection.[2]

The cessation procedure is initiated by the Head of the Office for Foreigners ex officio or on other authorities’ demand.[3] The procedure should last no longer than 6 months.[4] During the procedure a refugee or a subsidiary protection beneficiary should be interviewed particularly, in order to present reasons as to why he or she should not be deprived of the protection. A foreigner can also present arguments in writing.[5]

A decision on deprivation of international protection is issued by the Head of the Office for Foreigners and can be appealed to the Refugee Board with suspensive effect. A foreigner should leave Poland within 30 days from the day of the delivery of the Refugee Board’s decision on cessation of international protection. In the same period he or she can make the complaint to the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw. This onward appeal does not have automatic suspensive effect but a foreigner can request the court to suspend final decision on deprivation of international protection. However, it takes sometimes even a couple of months to suspend the decision by court on the foreigner’s demand. During that period a foreigner stays illegally in Poland and may face the start and execution of return proceedings. In 2019, in only case regarding the deprivation of a refugee status, the foreigner did not ask the court to suspend the final decision in this regard. Five foreigners asked for a suspension of a decision depriving them subsidiary protection, but the request was accepted only in 2 cases.[6]

Only some refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries are entitled to free legal assistance in cessation proceedings, namely those whose income is not higher than 100% of the criteria qualifying them to social assistance.[7] Free legal assistance is only provided in the appeal procedure; it does not include the first-instance procedure.[8] In a court procedure the foreigner can apply for free legal assistance following the general rules.

A foreigner who was deprived of international protection is obliged to return the residence card immediately to the Head of the Office for Foreigners, no later than 14 days from the moment when a decision concerning cessation of the international protection becomes final.[9]

There is no systematic review of the protection status in Poland. In 2016, 8 persons had their refugee status ceased or revoked and 21 had their subsidiary protection ceased or revoked.[10] In 2017, the only cases concerned 80 citizens of Russia deprived of subsidiary protection.[11] In 2018, 11 foreigners (incl. 9 citizens of Russia) had their refugee status ceased (10 refugees) or withdrawn (1 person) and 157 (incl. 154 citizens of Russia) had their subsidiary protection ceased (153 beneficiaries) or withdrawn (13).[12] In 2019, 6 decisions on cessation of a refugee status were issued (incl. 5 citizens of Russia) and 100 (all concerning citizens of Russia) – on ceasing subsidiary protection.[13]

These figures reveal that mostly Russian Federation citizens are deprived of international protection in Poland. Cessation is not systematically applied to them, however. 76 Russian citizens obtained international protection in Poland in 2019, 70 in 2018, 86 in 2017 and 67 in 2016.[14] In 2018 and 2019 Russian citizens were deprived of refugee status predominantly because of the fact that they have voluntarily accepted protection of the Russian Federation. They were deprived of subsidiary protection predominantly due to the fact that the circumstances which were the reason for granting subsidiary protection no longer existed or have changed in such a way that a foreigner no longer required protection (in 150 cases in 2018 and 97 in 2019).[15] HFHR concludes that Russian citizens have mostly been deprived of protection as a result of travel to their country of origin after they obtained international protection.[16] The finding is confirmed by the SIP. The NGO is referring to the case where the Russian citizen was deprived of a refugee status due to his travel to Russia in order to obtain new passport.[17] In 2018 and 2019 some Russian citizens were also deprived subsidiary protection because they were considered a security threat or there were serious grounds to believe that they committed a crime.[18]

In 2019, only one foreigner submitted a complaint to the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw against a decision depriving him refugee status. His complaint was rejected.[19] Eleven foreigners complained to the court in 2019 against refusal of subsidiary protection. The court dismissed 5 such complaints. None of the complaints in this regard was considered justified in 2019.[20]

In the judgment of 9 June 2017 (II OSK 904/17), the Supreme Administrative Court held that the administrative authorities entitled to cease or withdraw the refugee status cannot in those proceedings assess whether a foreigner should be granted subsidiary protection instead. In consequence, even when the authorities are aware of the reasons to grant subsidiary protection, they cannot do it ex officio, they can only deprive a foreigner of a refugee status, indirectly accepting that he may be send back to danger.[21]   

 


[1] Article 21(1) Law on Protection.                  

[2] Article 22(1) Law on Protection.

[3]  Article 54b Law on Protection.

[4]  Article 54a Law on Protection.

[5] Article 54d(1) Law on Protection.

[6] Information provided by the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw, 15 January 2020.

[7] Article 69d(2) Law on Protection.

[8] Article 69d Law on Protection.

[9] Article 89l(1) and (3) Law on Protection.

[10] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 1 February 2017.

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

[12]Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 15 January 2019.

[13] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 22 January 2019.

[14] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 1 February 2018 and 15 January 2019.

[15] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 15 January 2019 and 22 January 2020.

[16] This reasoning was confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court in Decision No II OSK 1493/14, 23 February 2016: Lex.pl, ‘NSA: uchodźcy z Czeczenii muszą wrócić do kraju’, 26 February 2016, available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/2w3JQiM.

[17] A. Pulchny, ‘Pozbawienie cudzoziemca ochrony międzynarodowej w Polsce’ in Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej (SIP), SIP w działaniu. Prawa cudzoziemców w Polsce w 2018 r. (2019), available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/2w3KcpC, 24-25.

[18] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 15 January 2019 and 22 January 2020.

[19]Information provided by the the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw, 15 January 2020.

[20] Ibid.

[21] A. Pulchny, ‘Pozbawienie cudzoziemca ochrony międzynarodowej w Polsce’ in Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej (SIP), SIP w działaniu. Prawa cudzoziemców w Polsce w 2018 r. (2019), available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/2w3KcpC, 25.

 

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