Asylum seekers are either accommodated in a reception centre or receive a monthly financial allowance to cover all costs of their stay in Poland.
Under the law, the material reception conditions offered in the centre are granted as a rule to all asylum seekers. An asylum seeker can obtain assistance granted outside the centre upon request, examined by the Head of the Office for Foreigners. It can be granted for organisational, safety or family reasons or to prepare asylum seekers for independent life after they have received any form of protection. Most of the requests are accepted.
All of the abovementioned reception conditions are applied in practice. As of 31 December 2022, 732 (compared to 1,076 in 2021) asylum seekers were residing in the reception centres. Another 2,963 (compared to 4,795 in 2021) asylum seekers were receiving assistance outside the centres.
All asylum seekers (living in and out of the reception centre) can:
- attend a Polish language course and receive basic material supplies necessary for the course;
- receive school supplies for children, including, as far as possible, the expenses for extra-curricular classes, sports and recreational activities;
- have the costs of public transport covered to (a) attend interviews as part of the asylum procedure; (b) medical examinations or vaccinations; or (c) in other particularly justified cases;
- receive medical care.
Living in the reception centre
For asylum seekers accommodated in reception centres, material conditions include:
- Meals in the centre or a financial equivalent (PLN 11 / € 2.33, raised from PLN 9 since 1 November 2022)per day;
- Allowance for personal expenses of PLN 50 / € 10.61 per month;
- Permanent financial assistance of PLN 20 / € 4.24 per month for the purchase of hygienic articles or hygienic utilities;
- One-time financial assistance or coupons of PLN 140 / € 29.71 for the purchase of clothing and footwear.
The PLN 70 that asylum seekers receive every month (allowances for personal expenses and hygienic articles or hygienic utilities) is not enough to satisfy their basic needs.
According to the law, in case an asylum seeker helps in a reception centre (i.e. performs cleaning work for the centre, provides translation or interpretation that facilitates communication between the personnel of the centre and asylum seekers, or provides cultural and educational activities for other asylum seekers who stay in the centre), the amount of the allowance for personal expenses may be raised to PLN 100 (€ 21.24). In 2022 this raise was applied 375 times.
Living outside the reception centre
For those assisted outside centres, there is one financial allowance for all costs of stay in Poland. This daily allowance depends on the family composition of the applicant:
|Financial allowance for all costs of stay in Poland (outside reception centres)|
|Family composition||Amount per day|
|Single adult||PLN 25 / € 5.30|
|Two family members||PLN 20 / € 4.24|
|Three family members||PLN 15 / € 3.18|
|Four or more family members||PLN 12.50 / € 2.65|
The amount of financial allowance that asylum seekers receive is generally not sufficient to ensure an adequate standard of living in Poland. With only PLN 750-775 (around € 160-166) per month, it is very difficult or even impossible to rent an apartment or even a room in Warsaw, where most asylum seekers stay during the procedure, particularly taking into account that owners are often unwilling to rent an apartment to foreigners, especially asylum seekers, and tend to increase rent or deposit in such situations. As the amount of financial allowance is insufficient for renting separate accommodation, asylum seekers are often forced to live in overcrowded and insecure places. Many of them sleep in overcrowded apartments, where they have to share beds with other people or where living conditions do not provide privacy and personal safety. Financial allowance for families of four amounts to PLN 1,500 (around € 318 Euros) per month and in practice it may be enough only to rent an apartment, however with great difficulty. Insufficient social assistance forces asylum seekers to work irregularly in order to ensure their subsistence and be able to afford rent costs. The amount of social assistance for asylum seekers has not been raised since 2003, even though the costs of living in Poland have increased significantly since then. As a result, material reception conditions are insufficient to ensure a decent standard of living as highlighted in the CJEU judgment in Saciri. Moreover, the financial allowance that asylum seekers receive is not adjusted to their state of health, age or disability, which is also incompatible with the Saciri judgment.
In 2020, SIP submitted a complaint to the European Commission that Poland is not abiding by its obligations stemming from Article 17(2) of the Reception Conditions Directive (2013/33/EU). In 2022, also the Human Rights Commissioner noticed the financial problems of asylum seekers and appealed – unsuccessfully – to the Ministry of Interior and Administration to increase the amount of financial allowance for asylum seekers living outside the reception centres.
Despite the fact that the government started a legislative procedure to increase some of the allowances for asylum seekers (in particular, the one for those living outside the reception centres) in 2021, the proposed ordinance in this regard was not adopted. Only one amount was increased in 2022, thus, the equivalent for meals in the reception centre (PLN 11 instead of PLN 9). In February 2023, the Human Rights Commissioner again appealed to the Ministry to increase allowances for asylum seekers and the Ministry declared that it plans changes in the respective law (without specifying what changes though).
 Article 72(1) Law on Protection.
 In 2020, 1,053 requests for the social assistance granted outside a centre were registered of which 937 were accepted (89%). In 2021, 2,347 requests were registered and all were accepted. In 2022, 4233 requests were made and 4,200 positively considered. Information from the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2021, 26 January 2022 and 3 February 2023.
 Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2022 and 3 February 2023.
 M. Pachocka, K. Pędziwiatr, K. Sobczak-Szelc, J. Szałańska (2020) ‘Reception Policies, Practices and Responses: Poland Country Report’, RESPOND Working Papers 2020/45, available at: http://bit.ly/3jLCvsV, 64, 84.
 Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 3 February 2023.
 FRA, ‘Migration: Key Fundamental Rights Concerns: 1.7.2019-30.9.2019. Quarterly Bulletin’, 20, relying on the information from the HFHR and SIP. See also Lukasiewicz, K., ‘Exile to Poverty: Policies and Poverty Among Refugees in Poland’, International Migration Vol. 55 (6) 2017, 63-64.
 ‘List of recommendations to improve housing situation of Beneficiaries of International Protection in Poland – prepared by Refugee Council operating within the NIEM/V4NIEM’, 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3MmsyjI; W. Goszczyński, R. Baczyński-Sielaczek, J. Suchomska, J, Stankowska and M. Wróblewski. ‘Lokalne systemy integracji uchodźców – badania’ in Fundacja EMIC and Pracownia Zrównoważonego Rozwoju, Wielogłos. Integracja uchodźców w polskich gminach, 2016, avaialble (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/31srALw, 81.
 M. Pachocka, K. Pędziwiatr, K. Sobczak-Szelc, J. Szałańska, ‘Reception Policies, Practices and Responses: Poland Country Report’, 2020, RESPOND Working Papers 2020/45, available at: http://bit.ly/3jLCvsV, 56-58; W. Klaus, ‘Rozwiązania prawne stosowane w odniesieniu do osób starających się o ochronę w Polsce’ in A. Górny, H. Grzymała-Moszczyńska, W. Klaus and S. Łodziński, Uchodźcy w Polsce. Sytuacja prawna, skala napływu i integracja w społeczeństwie polskim oraz rekomendacje, PAN 2017, available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/2XEdsfZ, 22; Lukasiewicz, K., ‘Exile to Poverty: Policies and Poverty Among Refugees in Poland’, International Migration Vol. 55 (6) 2017, 63. Information provided also by SIP, 8 January 2020.
 CJEU, Case C‑79/13 Saciri, Judgment of 27 February 2014.
 See e.g. the HFHR’s opinion concerning planned increase of financial allowances for asylum seekers, 24 September 2021, available in Polish at: https://bit.ly/3vD2mv4.
 SIP, ‘Skarga do KE: rażąco niskie środki finansowe dla osób ubiegających się o udzielenie ochrony międzynarodowej’, 7 July 2020, available in Polish at: http://bit.ly/3rIfYjE.
 Human Rights Commissioner, ‘Zbyt niskie świadczenie pieniężne dla cudzoziemców ubiegających się o ochronę międzynarodową. Odpowiedź MSWiA’, 24 October and 23 November 2022, available in Polish here: http://bit.ly/3KkAUt0.
 Human Rights Commissioner, ‘Interwencja RPO ws. świadczeń pieniężnych dla cudzoziemców ubiegających się o ochronę międzynarodową. MSWiA informuje, że będą zmiany w rozporządzeniu’, 2 March and 12 April 2023, available in Polish here: http://bit.ly/3ZqJYkl.