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Poland – Legal and Policy Framework of Migration Governance

Szuleck, Monika; Pachocka, Marta; Sobczak-Szelc, Karolina

The history of immigration to and emigration from contemporary Poland as a social phenomenon dates back to 1989. Geopolitical changes in the region brought the ‘opening’ of Poland’s borders, which in turn contributed to the growing scale of mobility both from and to Poland. Moreover, Poland, as a country on the way from the East to the West also became a transit country both for migrants travelling due to economic reasons and also to asylum seekers. This report presents the socio-economic, political, legal, institutional and policy context of migration governance in Poland. By analysing legal acts, official documents and available statistical data, we try to analyse macro level factors determining migration management in Poland. The report is divided into seven parts. In the first part, on the basis of statistical data, we conclude that the population of asylum seekers and refugees in Poland is strictly determined by the region of origin of foreigners seeking protection.In the analysis of the legal, socio-economic, political and cultural context, which is described in parts two and four, we can observe that during the past 25 years the situation has improved. Therefore, Poland became more and more attractive for foreigners, especially in terms of its labour market. In part three, we focus on the constitutional organisation of the state and the constitutional entrenchment of the principle of asylum. We argue that the ongoing constitutional and judiciary crisis mentioned in this part may constitute threats to the rule of law and protection of human rights.Part five of this report describes the details of various statuses, ranging from asylum seekers (with a focus on the reception system), beneficiaries of international protection to regular migrants and undocumented migrants. This part describes the conditions for gaining certain statuses, rights and obligations linked to certain statuses as well as the circumstances in which a given status may be revoked. The last, seventh part, of the report discusses the planned amendments to the law driven by the refugee crisis. We argue that in the case of Poland the changes or reform proposals are rather linked to challenges observed in the context of inflow from the Caucasus than in the context of inflow from the Middle East or Africa, associated with the ‘refugee crisis’.

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