Types of accommodation

Poland

Country Report: Types of accommodation Last updated: 24/05/22

Author

Independent

to ten centres in 2020 accommodating 1,962 persons). As of 31 December 2021, 1,076 (compared to 819 in 2020) asylum seekers were residing in the centres. Another 4,795 (compared to 2,225 in 2020) asylum seekers were receiving assistance outside the centres.[1]

The number of reception centres dropped in 2021. One reception centre – in Warsaw – has been closed (24 August 2021) due to change of the ownership of the land on which the centre was situated. It was the only centre that was intended to accommodate exclusively single women and women with children. Moreover, in 2021, two reception centres were given temporarily under command of the Border Guard. The centres in Biała Podlaska (fully, since 26 July 2021) and in Czerwony Bór (partly – 129 places for the Border Guard’s needs and 60 places for the reception centre, since 9 August 2021) are now serving as immigration detention centres (see Place of detention).[2]

While the former first reception centre in Biała Podlaska centre became a detention centre, the centre in Dębak continues serving as first reception, where asylum seekers are directed after applying for asylum in order to register and carry out medical examinations. Temporarily it is supported in that role by the Kolonia-Horbów centre, which now also functions as first reception centre. The remaining six centres are accommodation centres (Białystok, Czerwony Bór, Bezwola, Łuków, Grupa and Linin).[3] The same rules regarding the freedom of movement apply in both kinds of centres.

In 2021, there was no problem of overcrowding in these centres. As of 31 December 2021, the occupancy rate was 58% in Dębak and 66% in total in other centres (the highest occupancy rate in Białystok – 93%, and the lowest – 39% – in Linin).[4]

Centres are located in different parts of Poland. One is located in a city (Białystok), but most of them are situated in the countryside. Bezwola, Dębak, Grupa and Linin are in the woods.[5] These centres are therefore not easily accessible. In Dębak, until recently, residents had to walk 3km through the woods to access public transport.[6] However, in 2021 the Office for Foreigners organized a regular bus service (six times per day) from the Dębak centre to the railway station in Otrębusy and back in order to facilitate transport to Warsaw.[7]

Spatial exclusion as a result of the present location of the centres is considered the main problem by some NGOs.[8] Isolation of the centres limits the contact with Polish citizens and Polish institutions, including NGOs. It affects the effectiveness of the integration process.[9] In addition, the reception centres are located in areas with a high level of poverty, which hampers the asylum seeker’s access to a labour market.[10]

Exceptionally, in 2021, some asylum seekers were also temporarily accommodated in hotels for quarantine purposes. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Afghans who had been evacuated by Polish authorities from Afghanistan were quarantined in hotels and motels in different parts of Poland. Next, they were transported to reception centres.[11]

 

 

 

[1] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2021 and 26 January 2022.

[2] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2022. See also B. Chlabicz, P. Nowosielska, ‘Granice wytrzymałości. Jak wygląda sytuacja w ośrodkach dla cudzoziemców?’, 26 August 2021, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, available in Polish at: https://bit.ly/3Mohh29. For more on the Warsaw centre, see Special reception needs of vulnerable groups.

[3] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2022.

[4] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2022.

[5] 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’.

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

[7] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2022.

[8] 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, available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/31uBLiE, 58. See also M. Baran-Kurasiewicz, ‘Uzyskanie statusu uchodźcy i sytuacja uchodźców w Polsce’, Polityka i Społeczeństwo 3(19)/2021, 17.

[9] 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.

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

[11] Information provided by the Office for Foreigners, 26 January 2022. See also J. Jasińska-Mrukot, ‘Uchodźcy. Był płacz, kiedy wywożono Afgańczyków z Opolszczyzny‘, 8 September 2021, available in Polish at: https://bit.ly/3Cc3V4F.

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