Dear readers! I would like to address those who are interested in the information on the migration policy of Poland and the whole European Union. We should remember that Poland closely cooperates with the offices of that European organisation in this regard. At first, I would like to remind some key terms, among which the most important seem: emigration, immigration, migration, remigration, repatriation and deportation.
Each European Union country has its own statistical system of migration. “According to the Polish regulations, every person intending to live permanently in Poland, is obliged to report their permanent residence in a municipal (Polish: gmina). Similarly, every person who leaves Poland permanently should de-register their permanent residence in Poland.The information about registration and de-registration is put in the Personal Identification Number system (PESEL), which is administered by the Ministry of the Interior. The statisticsreceive data on the international migration quarterly from the system” (5).More information can be found on the website of the Polish Central Statistical Office (GłównyUrządStatystyczny).
I would like to present some numbers concerning the legalisation of the foreigners’ residence in Poland. According to the Office for Foreigners:
More information can be found on the website of the European Migration Network (6).
Economic, political, social, educational, ethnic, religious, medical, family or other issues are the main reasons of emigration. The process of migrations in the EU is not easy to control, since some immigrants come here illegally, and they do not have the registration or Personal Identification Number. The management of the process is crucial. “Indeed, the existence of irregular immigration and the perceived failure of migrants to integrate successfully – especially in some European countries – have helped drive a trend in many OECD countries in recent years to make traditional migration more difficult, especially in family migration. There is also a new emphasis on encouraging immigrants to play a bigger role in managing their own integration. Language courses are becoming widespread, as are information programmes that provide practical advice and describe the country’s administrative systems and the formalities to be fulfilled” (7). It is a common knowledge that an immigrant faces many problems at the beginning of their visit to another country. That is why they sometimes do not hold to the formal regulations of the residence. But we have to understand that when one resides on the territory of another country, e.g. Poland, and does not provide complete information about oneself, one infringes not only Polish legal order, but also the legal order of the whole European region.
The information about the process of migration in the EU is collected by the Eurostat – the European statistical office. It “compiles the statistics concerning many issues connected to the international migration flows, the size of the population of the foreigners and acquiring citizenship. The data is collected on the annual basis. They are provided to the Eurostat by the statistics offices of the EU member countries” (8). Interestingly, that European statistical office encounters problems concerning measuring the emigration: “it is more difficult to count people leaving a country than those entering it. The analysis including the comparison of the emigration and immigration data from the EU countries in 2008 (mirror statistics) confirms that it applies to many countries” (9). Let us also remember that a non-citizen of the EU who enters any EU country, enters also the Schengen area – an area with free movement of persons, without border checkpoints. The whole area uses one Schengen Operation System that is a self-contained database. It allows for controlling the information of the people who enter or leave the area, to which 26 countries belong. These are Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Greece, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden. It should be noted that only Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are not members of the European Union.
Poland joined the Schengen area on the 21st of December 2007. According to the Office for Foreigners, it resulted in “a substantial increase in the number of lodged applications for the refugee status in 2007 in Poland. 4563 such applications were accepted in 2007. 10.048 people applied for the refugee status. In comparison to 2006, there was an increase in the number of lodged applications by about 45% and an increase in the number of people applying for the refugee status by about 41%” (8). No wonder that Poland has to control every citizen of the Third World country who enters the Schengen area by crossing the Polish border.
“In order to find the solution for the immigration problems and seize the opportunities, the countries of the European Union have to cooperate with one another and with the immigrants’ countries. Therefore, the European Union has adopted a consistent policy on migration, setting clear and fair rules of the legal migration, preventing illegal migration and promoting integration” (10).
Poland has also another task: by protecting its borders it is responsible for the borders of the whole Schengen area. Therefore relevant structures of Poland increase their cooperation with the eastern neighbours. A number of projects concerning internal affairs have been realised in recent years together with the Ukrainian partner. A big number of people crossing the border and the length of the border line (535 km), which is also the external border of the Schengen area, determine the fact that it is essential for Polish interests to support the activities of the Ukrainian authorities in terms of the internal affairs” (10).
It is estimated that 200 million of people settled outside their country. It constitutes about 3% of the world’s population. Together with the development of communication and technology the process of migration will gradually increase. The economic and political instability in some areas of the world will contribute to the development of this process. On the other hand, many countries improve their systems of managing the process of migration, of the transfer and the protection of information. The international security cooperation becomes more and more globalised.
10) Polskie doświadczenie transformacyjne w programie polskiej pomocy, MSZ RP, Departament Współpracy Rozwojowej, Warszawa 2013, s.13.
By Dr HijranAliyeva-Sztrauch
Translation: Alicja Kosim