Free of charge legal assistance for foreigners as
a guarantee of human rights.
The project is co-funded by the "Internal Affairs" Programme implemented under the Norwegian Funds for 2014 - 2021. Programme is at the disposal of the Minister of Interior and Administration.
in project related matters:
Helsińska Fundacja Praw Człowieka
ul. Wiejska 16 00-490 Warszawa
Foreigners applying for international protection in Poland may stay in open centers if they lack their own financial resources, or in private accommodation, renting and paying for it on general terms establihed in the rental agreement.
Asylum seekers also have the right to stay in a specific place if they have such a place thanks to the kindness of family or friends who have consented to the foreigner's stay in their apartment.
Open centers for asylum seekers are administered by the Head of the Office for Foreigners. These facilities house people who are waiting for a decision on granting international protection in Poland.
There are a total of 9 such centers in Poland:
In the Podlaskie Voivodeship, in the north - eastern part of Poland, there are facilities in Czerwony Bór and Białystok.
In the north of Poland, in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, there is a center in Grupa near Grudziądz.
There are 4 such facilities in the eastern part of Poland, in the Lublin Voivodeship: in Bezwola, Biała Podlaska, Łuków and Kolonia Horbów.
Centrally, in the Masovian Voivodeship, there are open centers in Dębak and Linin.
Pursuant to Art. 70 section 1 of the Act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of the Republic of Poland of June 13, 2003, a foreigner who is in the proceedings for granting them international protection has the right to use social assistance. Assistance at the centers includes, in particular, benefits such as: accommodation, full board, pocket money for small expenses, cash assistance for the purchase of hygiene products, a one-time voucher for the purchase of clothing and footwear, Polish language learning, teaching aids for school children and others.
Unlike guarded centers, where the rigor is strictly defined in internal regulations, foreigners staying in open centers can move freely and leave the facility they stay in.
Education and work
Children attend nearby schools, and adults whose proceedings last longer than 6 months and who also have an appropriate certificate from the Head of the Office for Foreigners issued on the basis of Art. 35 section 1 of the Act on granting protection to foreigners in the territory of Poland, have access to the labor market.
Open centers also offer educational activities for children. Moreover, most centers are visited by non-governmental organizations that provide free support for foreigners staying there, such as legal assistance or integration and social activities.
As for medical support, foreigners can benefit from the services of doctors present in the centers (general practitioner, nurse, psychologist), as well as make appointments with specialists as part of the cooperation of the Office for Foreigners with the partner Petra Medica, which provides medical assistance to people in the active procedure refugee.
In addition to collective meals in canteens, open centers have open, publicly accessible kitchens where foreigners can prepare meals according to their own preferences. In the corridors you can encounter smells created by cooking traditional dishes from the countries of origin of the foreigners staying in the center.
Despite great freedom, staying in open centers is not easy at all. These facilities are usually located far from larger cities and urban areas. Such isolation increases practical difficulties in integrating into Polish society. It should also be mentioned that the residents of the centers, staying there and leading seemingly normal lives, are still waiting for an administrative decision to be issued regarding their future. In practice, this may even mean years of uncertainty and the fear that if a final negative decision is received, the foreigner may be obliged to return to his country of origin even though he fled for fear of persecution. Although you can consult a psychologist in the centers, many years of stress related to the lack of a sense of security and stability have a very negative impact on the perception of the everyday environment and even in the long term - on health.