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Poland: New Migration Policy Document Announced

General information

The Interministerial Migration Policy Team has recently published a document “Polish Migration Policy – Baseline Analysis” (“Polityka migracyjna Polski – diagnoza stanu wyjściowego”), which provides a description of the current state of affairs and aims to point in the direction of the new Polish migration policy.

The working group involved in developing the document consisted of representatives of several Ministries and Central Offices operating in the field of migration, assisted by a team of experts (Centre of Migration Research of the University of Warsaw, Polish Central Bank, UNHCR, IOM). The Baseline Analysis was primarily designed to establish the basis for the short-term objectives (to be achieved in 2021), yet it will also serve as a starting point for identifying the long-term ones. The executive document which will define the most important tasks of the state administration regarding the international migration processes is currently being drafted.

According to the operational outlook of the new migration policy, the diagnosis and action plan are to be verified and adjusted on a yearly basis, depending on fluctuations in the migration situation in Poland. After the work on the executive document is completed and approved by the Migration Policy Team, the document will be subject to public consultations. After considering the changes introduced as a result of public consultations, the final version of the executive document will be presented to the Council of Ministers for approval.

Document’s Overview

The analysis begins with a description of the reasons why the public policy should focus on migrations, stressing the need for a new migration policy in Poland. As all the previous migration policy documents were cancelled or failed to respond to ongoing challenges, a burning need emerged for a comprehensive document stipulating the framework of state actions in the field of migration. Facing the necessity to embrace the “volatility and unpredictability” of migration situation, at the outset of 2020, the working group in the Ministry of the Interior and Administration initiated the development of a new migration public policy program, changing the standard operational pattern. 

The 60-page document covers five key thematic areas, formulated as follows: legal migration, illegal migration, international protection of foreign nationals, integration, and migrations of Polish citizens. Each part includes general description followed by risks and challenges component implying the basis for policy improvement, in some cases in a rather vague and imprecise way.

The most significant statements and key challenges referred to in selected parts of the Baseline Analysis are listed below:

Legal Migration:
  • Economic Migration: the authors point out that effective migration policy seems to be the major way of ensuring the stability of supply on the labor market, and that new migratory channels will be needed to cover the market needs in the coming years.
  • Regularization: key challenges consist of the insufficient financial resources for conducting the proceedings, especially those related to residence permit, as well as inconsistent interpretation of the law regarding the permission to stay for humanitarian reasons and tolerated stay.

Preventing Irregular Migration - Challenges
  • The control and verification measures: the document highlights the problem of restricted access to new technologies, and the lack of interoperability of existing information systems used by public administration and law enforcement agents, causing difficulties in the proper data supply in national and international information systems.
Return Policy
  • Among the key challenges the authors identify excessive length of procedures for granting international protection which results in a low rate of return proceedings initiations and of return decisions executions.

International protection of foreign nationals
  • In the context of forced migrations, the public administration maintains its deeply anti-refugee narrative.  The challenges and risks mentioned in this part focus mainly on the growing burden on public administration, which stems from state responsibilities towards foreign nationals applying for international protection. The authors emphasize among others: high costs of social assistance and medical care for applicants, abuse of asylum procedures by the applicants and the negative impact of appeal options on the length of proceedings, as well as the potential security threats posed by foreign nationals applying for international protection.
  • The authors provide a negative assessment of the alleged “imposed obligation” of the Polish state to accept foreigners applying for international protection in other EU Member States. Furthermore, a newly designed mandate of the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) is considered as a potential threat to state sovereignty due to the possible “intervention” of the Agency in the territory of a Member State without its consent. 
Integration of foreign nationals
  • Education system: the key challenges mainly refer to inadequate training of teachers and school management in the field of supporting the education of migrant children and youth.
  • Integration programs: according to the information provided in the document, there are no systematically implemented integration programs for foreigners who are not beneficiaries of international protection in Poland. The needs in this regard are massive and the projects currently implemented by NGOs are not able to fully replace the state action in this field. As a consequence of further lack of systemic integration programs, a potential threat to social security was identified.
  • Public information: the key challenge identified in this part relates to the intensified activity of unnamed xenophobic groups, characterized as anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim, and their likelihood to cause social unrest as a result of “insufficient strategic communication addressed to Polish society in connection with the migration phenomenon”.


Alicja Szczutowska
NIEM's National Coalition Officer
The European and Migration Policy Programme
Institute of Public Affairs