Types of accommodation

Poland

Country Report: Types of accommodation Last updated: 16/04/21

Author

Independent

Poland has ten reception centres which altogether provide 1,962 places. At the end of 2020, 819 (compared to 1,295 in 2019) asylum seekers were residing in the centres. Another 2,225 (compared to 1,640 in 2019) asylum seekers were receiving assistance outside the centres.[1]

Two centres (Dębak, Biała Podlaska) serve as first reception, where asylum seekers are directed after applying for asylum in order to register and carry out medical examinations. The remaining eight centres are accommodation centres (Warsaw, Białystok, Kolonia-Horbów, Czerwony Bór, Bezwola, Łuków, Grupa and Linin).[2] The same rules regarding the freedom of movement apply in both kinds of centres.

There is no problem of overcrowding in these centres. As of 31 December 2020, the occupancy rate was 15% in the first reception centre in Biała Podlaska, 30.28% in Dębak and between 28.74% and 87.86% in the accommodation centres.[3] The numbers are lower than in 2019 due to the Office for Foreigners’ policy of encouraging asylum seekers to live outside the reception centres to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Centres are located in different parts of Poland. Some of them are located in cities (Warsaw, Biała Podlaska, Białystok) but most of them are situated in the countryside. Some are located far away from any towns: Bezwola, Dębak, Grupa and Linin are in the woods.[4] These centres are therefore not easily accessible; in Dębak residents have to walk 3km through the woods to access public transport. The centre in Warsaw (for single women with children) is situated far away from the city centre, near factories and a construction company. Nearby there are no shops or other service points, to get to the centre asylum-seeking women have to walk through a tree-lined road which is not sufficiently lit.[5] It is also pointed out that the reception centres are located in areas where a high level of poverty is reported, which hampers the asylum seeker’s access to a labour market.[6]

Spatial exclusion as a result of the present location of the centres is considered the main problem by some NGOs.[7] Isolation of the centres limits the contact with Polish citizens and Polish institutions, including NGOs. It affects the effectiveness of the integration process.[8]

Other types of accommodation are not used in practice.

 

[1]  Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2021.

[2] Office for Foreigners, Guidebook Department of Social Assistance (2019), available at: https://bit.ly/31xfDnV, 4.

[3] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2021.

[4]  List and map of reception centres available at: http://bit.ly/1JzdU5c. Regarding the centre in Linin, see the account of a Tajik asylum seeker living there, in Y. Matusevich, ‘Tajik Asylum Seekers Struggle for a Sense of Security’, 12 April 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2SlISpK: ‘Although Linin is informally referred to as an “open camp,” there is nowhere to go within walking distance and Warsaw is extremely difficult to reach by public transportation. The center is surrounded by a wall and the reception center enforces a nightly curfew. Visitors are only allowed upon prior approval from the Polish Ministry of Interior and there is a police van parked outside the main gate around the clock’.

[5] For the opinions about the centres’ distant locations see 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, 61-63.

[6] Lukasiewicz, K., ‘Exile to Poverty: Policies and Poverty Among Refugees in Poland’, International Migration Vol. 55 (6) 2017, 61.

[7] See 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/31uBLiE, 58.

[8] Institute of Public Affairs, Analiza przygotowania lokalnych instytucji do przyjęcia uchodźców z programu relokacji i przesiedleń. Raport końcowy z badań fokusowych, 2016, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/2GBfKr4, 12-14; Lukasiewicz, K., ‘Exile to Poverty: Policies and Poverty Among Refugees in Poland’, International Migration Vol. 55 (6) 2017, 65.

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