Online meeting "Law and practice: how is refugee different from migration by choice?"
On December 17, 2020 Institute of Public Affairs held an online meeting "Law and practice: how is refugee different from migration by choice?" with the participation of experts from IPA, Ewa Kownacka, Kseniya Homel and Piotr Kaźmierkiewicz, and Thomas Huddleston - the expert of Migration Policy Group from Belgium.
During the meeting the results of the fifth edition of the global MIPEX research (Migrant Integration Policy Index), covering the years 2014-2019, were presented. The fifth edition of MIPEX was carried out by the Migration Policy Group (MPG) and CIDOB, in partnership with research entities in 52 countries on five continents: Europe, Asia, North and South America and Oceania.
Thomas Huddleston (MPG) presented data for our country and comparison between Poland and other countries in 8 areas of integration, including: permanent residence, family reunification, citizenship, labour market, education, health, anti-discrimination, participation in political life.
The second part of the meeting concerned the comparison of the MIPEX results with the results of the National Integration Evaluation Mechanism study. During the webinar, the experts of IPA focused on the most important aspect of integration - the legalisation of the stay of a person fleeing persecution and their family, and on the legal and practical aspects of acquiring Polish citizenship. The presentation of selected results shows that a specific feature of the Polish migration law and administrative procedure is that it does not include the needs of people belonging to vulnerable groups. In addition, administrative procedures of legalisation of stay and naturalization for people with protection status are based on the general terms of migration law.
When deciding to submit residence applications or in order to obtain Polish citizenship, persons with refugee status do not receive any support from voivodeship offices. Therefore, despite the relatively “friendly” legal system, the legalisation and naturalisation procedures for beneficiaries of international protection in Poland may be difficult.
Summing up, what are the conclusions of the MIPEX and NIEM research on Poland's integration policy?
• According to both studies, Poland is below the EU average.
• Despite legal changes in Poland regarding migration, the conditions of integration have not changed significantly.
• There is only a minor improvement provided in access to medical care and greater involvement of local governments in the organization of Polish language learning and support for children and youth with migration experience. Nevertheless, also in these two areas, Poland remains below the average among the countries covered by the MIPEX research.
• Among the examined areas of Polish integration policy, results concerning legalization of stay and access to citizenship stand out positively. At the same time, the requirements implemented in 2018, that obliged the person to certify the knowledge of the Polish language at B2 level and provide the evidence of a source of regular and stable income, become an additional barrier for migrants to settle permanently and ensure the safety of migrants and their families.
The recording of the meeting