Types of accommodation


Country Report: Types of accommodation Last updated: 30/11/20



Poland has ten reception centres which altogether provide 1,962 places. At the end of 2019, 1,295 (1,260 in 2018) asylum seekers were residing in the centres. Another 1,640 (1,619 in 2018) asylum seekers were receiving assistance outside the centres.[1]

Two centres (Dębak, Biała Podlaska) serve for 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.[2] The total number of centres has dropped by one in 2019 (from 11 to 10). The centre in Grotniki ceased operating as an accommodation centre based on the agreement with the Office for Foreigners. However, some asylum seekers decided to continue living in this centre, paying for it with their financial allowance (after the closure of the centre they applied and were granted the assistance outside the centre).[3]   

There is no problem of overcrowding in these centres. As of 31 December 2019, the occupancy rate was 48,18% in first reception centre in Biała Podlaska, 65,45% in Dębak and between 44,54% and 96,79% in the accommodation centres.[4]

Centres are located in different parts of Poland. Some of them are located in cities (Warsaw, Biała Podlaska, Białystok, Lublin) 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.[5] 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. This raises concerns with regard to safety of single women living there.[6] It is also pointed out that those centres are located in areas where is a high level of poverty, which hampers the asylum seeker’s access to a labour market.[7]

Spatial exclusion as a result of the present location of the centres is considered as the main problem by some NGOs.[8] Isolation of the centres leads to limitation of contact with Polish citizens and Polish institutions, including NGOs, which affects the effectiveness of the integration process.[9]

Other types of accommodation such as hotels can be used only in emergency situations and for short periods of time (including when staying in the centre would put an asylum seeker at risk, e.g. in case of a serious conflict with other asylum seekers staying in the centre). This possibility has not been used in practice yet.


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

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

[3] M. Witkowska, ‘Ośrodek dla cudzoziemców w Grotnikach został zamknięty. Ale uchodźcy nadal w nim mieszkają’, 29 September 2019, available (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/2vQmtJr.

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

[5] 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’.

[6] Centrum Pomocy Prawnej im. Haliny Nieć, K. Przybysławska (Ed.), Raport: Przemoc seksualna i przemoc ze względu na płeć w ośrodkach dla osób ubiegających się o nadanie statusu uchodźcy 2012-2014, December 2014, available (in Polish) at: http://bit.ly/1L1SxFG, 8-10.

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

[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), avaialble (in Polish) at: https://bit.ly/31uBLiE, 58.

[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.


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