Forms and levels of material reception conditions

Poland

Country Report: Forms and levels of material reception conditions Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Independent

The Regulation on the amount of assistance to asylum seekers sets the level of financial allowances for all amounts related to reception conditions. In the law there are 2 forms of reception conditions, depending on whether the applicant is accommodated or not in a reception centre.[1] Conditions offered in both scenarios cover:

  • Polish language course and basic material supplies necessary for the course;
  • School supplies for children receiving education and care in public institutions, primary and higher schools, including, as far as possible, the expenses for extra-curricular classes, sports and recreational activities;
  • Public transport to (a) attend interviews as part of the asylum procedure; (b) medical examinations or vaccinations; or (c) other particularly justified cases;
  • Medical care.

For asylum seekers accommodated in reception centres, other material conditions cover:

  • Accommodation;
  • Meals in the centre or a financial equivalent (PLN 9 / 2.15 €) per day;
  • Allowance for personal expenses of PLN 50 / 11.93 € per month;
  • Permanent financial assistance of PLN 20 / 4.77 € per month for purchase of hygienic articles or hygienic utilities;
  • One-time financial assistance or coupons of PLN 140 / 33.42 € for purchase of clothing and footwear.

According to the law, in case an asylum seeker 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 (23.24€). In 2019 this raise was applied 571 times.[2]

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 / 5.97 €

Two family members

PLN 20 / 4.77 €

Three family members

PLN 15 / 3.58 €

Four or more family members

PLN 12.50 / 2.98 €

Under the law, the assistance offered in the centre is granted as a rule to all asylum seekers. An asylum seeker can obtain assistance granted out of 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 an independent life after they have received any form of protection.[3] Most of the requests are accepted.[4] However, NGOs report that recently, obtaining the assistance granted out of the centre became more difficult.[5] One of the reasons might be that due to the small numbers of asylum seekers in Poland, accommodating them in the reception centres seems more reasonable from the perspective of the Office for Foreigners’ budget.

All of the abovementioned reception conditions are applied in practice. As of 31 December 2019, 1,295 (compared to 1,260 in 2018) asylum seekers benefited from assistance in the centres and 1,640 (compared to 1,619 in 2018) asylum seekers were granted assistance outside the centres. In 2019, on average 1,276 (down from 1,361 in 2018) asylum seekers benefited from assistance in the centres and 1,595 (down from 1,730 in 2018) asylum seekers were granted assistance outside the centres.[6]

The amount of social assistance that asylum seekers receive is generally not sufficient to ensure an adequate standard of living in Poland.[7] With only PLN 750-775 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,[8] particularly taking into account that owners are often unwilling to rent an apartment to foreigners, especially asylum seekers, and tend to increase a rent or deposit in such situations.[9] 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.[10] Social assistance for families of four amounts to PLN 1,500 per month and in practice it may be enough only to rent an apartment, however with a great difficulty. Insufficient social assistance forces asylum seekers to work in Poland illegally in order to maintain and pay the rent.[11]

The amount of social assistance is below the so called “social minimum” (indicator which evaluates the cost of living in Poland). The asylum seeker receives 1,5-2 times less than what is essential according to the “social minimum”. The amount of social assistance for asylum seekers has not been raised since 2003,[12] even though the costs of living in Poland have increased significantly since then.[13] As a result, material reception conditions are insufficient to ensure a decent standard of living as highlighted in the CJEU judgment in Saciri.[14]

The amount of social assistance that asylum seekers receive is not adjusted to their state of health, age or disability, which is incompatible with Saciri.[15] The system of granting material reception conditions for asylum seekers is separate from the general social assistance rules applicable to nationals. While social assistance for nationals is provided based on individual assessment of particular needs, the level of allowances offered to asylum seekers is generally standardized.

In 2015 the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, UNHCR, HFHR and the SIP appealed to the Ministry of Interior to increase the amount of the social assistance granted to asylum seekers. Their motions were not accepted by the authorities. The authorities concluded that the amount of financial support granted outside of the centres was satisfactory because it was only an additional form of the material reception conditions. The basic form was the assistance granted in the reception centres, which the authorities deemed to be sufficient.[16]

 


[1] Article 71 Law on Protection.

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

[3] Article 72(1) Law on Protection.

[4] In 2019, 1,070 requests for the social assistance granted outside a centre were registered of which 791 were accepted (74%). Information from the Office for Foreigners, 22 January 2020.

[5] Information received from SIP, 8 January 2020. In 2018, 995 requests for the social assistance granted outside a centre were registered of which 868 were accepted (87%). Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 15 January 2019. To compare, in 2019, only 74% requests were accepted.

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

[7]           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; Commissioner for Human Rights, Letter to the Ministry of Interior of 7 December 2015, in which the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights is asking to consider the increase the amount of financial assistance for asylum seekers, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/2kSuaa4.

[8] Information confirmed by SIP, 8 January 2020. See also N. Klorek, ‘Ochrona zdrowia nieudokumentowanych migrantów i osób ubiegających się o ochronę międzynarodową w opinicudzoziemców’ in A. Chrzanowska, W. Klaus, ed., Poza systemem. Dostęp do ochrony zdrowia nieudokumentowanych migrantów i cudzoziemców ubiegających się o ochronę międzynarodową w Polsce, SIP, 2011, available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/2GSP970, 56.

[9] 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; Lukasiewicz, K., ‘Exile to Poverty: Policies and Poverty Among Refugees in Poland’, International Migration Vol. 55 (6) 2017, 63-64.

[10] 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. See also K. Wysieńska, Gdzie jest mój dom? Bezdomność i dostęp do mieszkań wśród ubiegających się o status uchodźcy, uchodźców i osób z przyznaną ochroną międzynarodową w Polsce, UNHCR, 2013, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/2IriKrA, 14.

[11] Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej, A. Chrzanowska, I. Czerniejewska, ‘Mieszkamy tutaj, bo nie mamy innego wyjścia… Raport z monitoringu warunków mieszkaniowych uchodźców w Polsce, Analizy, raporty, ekspertyzy Nr 2/2015’, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/1Lq2Hie, 55. Information provided also by SIP, 8 January 2020.

[12] 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: http://bit.ly/2DVccfr, 22.

[13]  M. Jaźwińska, M. Szczepanik, “All quiet on the Eastern front: asylum trends and reception of refugees in Poland during the 2013-2015 Europe’s migration crisis” in Biztpol Affaires 2015 Summer Vol. 3 No 2, Corvinus Society for Foreign Affairs and Culture, available at: http://bit.ly/2SQKPgQ.

[14]  CJEU, Case C‑79/13 Saciri, Judgment of 27 February 2014; J. Białas, ‘Niezgodność zasad pomocy socjalnej zapewnianej osobom ubiegającym się o nadanie statusu uchodźcy z wyrokiem Trybunału Sprawiedliwości UE’, in HFHR, W poszukiwaniu ochrony. Wybrane problemy dotyczące realizacji praw cudzoziemców ubiegających się o nadanie statusu uchodźcy i objętych ochroną międzynarodową w latach 2012-2014. Obserwacje Programu Pomocy Prawnej dla Uchodźców i Migrantów Helsińskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, 2014, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/1eiVxDF, 52; Commissioner for Human Rights, Letter of 7 December 2015 to the Ministry of Interior, in which he is asking to consider the increase the amount of financial assistance for asylum seekers, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/2kSuaa4.

[15] J. Białas, ‘Niezgodność zasad pomocy socjalnej zapewnianej osobom ubiegającym się o nadanie statusu uchodźcy z wyrokiem Trybunału Sprawiedliwości UE’, in HFHR, W poszukiwaniu ochrony. Wybrane problemy dotyczące realizacji praw cudzoziemców ubiegających się o nadanie statusu uchodźcy i objętych ochroną międzynarodową w latach 2012-2014. Obserwacje Programu Pomocy Prawnej dla Uchodźców i Migrantów Helsińskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, 2014, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/1eiVxDF, 52.

[16]  See e.g. letter of Polish Commissioner of Human Rights to Ministry of Interior of 7 November 2015, available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/36ZyadF.

 

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