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The rules for granting social assistance to foreigners are laid down in Chapter 5, Article 91-95 of the Social Assistance Act of 12 March 2004 (Journal of Laws of 2009, No. 175, item 1362 as amended) and the Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of  9 March 2009  (Journal of Laws of 2009, No. 45, item 366) on providing assistance to foreigners who have been granted the refugee status or subsidiary protection.  

Pursuant to the above mentioned legal acts, a foreigner may apply for integration assistance after obtaining a decision on the granting of the refugee status or subsidiary protection. The assistance is provided as a part of the individual integration programme (Polish: IPI). Integration assistance shall be granted upon the request of a foreigner. The application should be submitted within 60 days of receiving a final decision on the granting of the refugee status or subsidiary protection.

The application shall refer to the foreigner’s minor children and spouse if they have been granted the refugee status or supplementary protection within the territory of the Republic of Poland.

The application should include :

1.    a written statement of intent to take up residence in the territory of a given voivodeship;
2.    a written statement that the foreigner has not submitted such an application in the territory of another voivodeship;
3.    a written declaration of readiness to participate in the agreed integration programme.

A foreigner granted the refugee status in the Republic of Poland should attach copies of:

1.    the decision to grant the refugee status;
2.    the travel document specified in the Geneva Convention;
3.    the residence card issued  in connection with the granting of the refugee status.

A foreigner granted supplementary protection in the Republic of Poland should attach copies of:

1.    the refusal to grant the refugee status and the decision to grant supplementary protection;
2.    the residence card issued in connection with the granting of supplementary protection.

A foreigner  should enclose any other documents in his/her possession that may prove useful in planning an integration programme. The assistance is granted for a period no longer than 12 months, depending on the justified individual needs of the foreigner established on the basis of a community interview and included in the individual integration programme.    

Forms of assitance:

•    financial benefits for maintenance (food, clothes, footwear,  personal care products, rent and utilities in particular) and the covering of costs of learning Polish, ranging from 531 PLN to 1260 PLN a month per person. The amount of the benefits depends on the number of family members, the duration of the integration programme and the foreigner’s life situation;
•    payment of the health insurance contribution as defined in the legal acts on general insurance in the National Health Fund;
•    specialist counselling, including legal, psychological and family counselling;
•    providing information and support in contacts with other institutions, especially labour market institutions, the local community and non-governmental organizations;
•    any other activities aimed at supporting the integration of the foreigner.

A foreigner in relation to whom proceedings for the granting of the refugee status have been initiated is granted, on his/her request, protection for the duration of the proceedings and for a period of 14 days of the serving of a final decision on the case.

The assistance is granted to a foreigner who will prove that he/she does not have sufficient funds to cover the costs of stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland and does not  have any other  means of  providing for himself/herself and securing himself/herself accommodation.

The assitance includes:

1.    placing the foreigner in a centre, or
2.    providing the foreigner with a financial benefit for the purpose of covering his/her own costs of stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland, hereinafter referred to as „a financial benefit” or
3.    providing medical aid;
4.    The assistance may include providing assistance in voluntary departure  from the territory of the Republic of Poland.

A foreigner may be placed in a centre only if he/she agrees to undergo medical examinations and, if necessary, sanitary treatment of the body and clothes.

A foreigner placed in one of the centres is provided with:

1.   food;
2.   travel tickets:
•    for the purpose of participating in proceedings for the granting of the refugee status;
•    for the purpose of appearing at medical examinations or  preventive vaccinations;
•    in any other special cases.
3.   teaching materials for children receiving education and care at public institutions, primary or junior high schools and the covering of the costs of education at these institutions, primary or junior high schools.
4.   permanent financial assistance for:
•    the purchase of personal care products;
•    the covering of the foreigner’s daily expenses.

Integration assistance for recognised refugees

Integration assistance for refugees and persons benefiting from supplementary protection shall be granted as part of the individual integration programme pursuant to Chapter 5 of the Social Assistance Act of 12 March 2004 (Journal of Laws of 1008, No. 115, item 728 as amended).

The rules for providing integration assistance to people who hold the refugee status or enjoy subsidiary protection are laid down in Chapter 5 of the Social Assistance Act of 12 March 2004 (Journal of Laws of 1008, No. 115, item 728 as amended) and the Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy on granting assistance to refugees, 29 March 2005  (Journal of Laws of 2005, No. 2501, item 1669).

Integration assistance includes:

1.    financial benefits for maintenance and the covering of the costs of learning Polish, ranging from 446 PLN to 1175 PLN a month per person (the amount of the benefits depends on the foreigner’s individual life situation and the number of family members; the amount of the benefits in the second semester is lower than in the first one);
2.    payment of the health insurance contribution as defined in the legal acts on general insurance in the National Health Fund;
3.    specialist social counselling.

Integration assistance is granted by a storoste (district governor) through the Poviat Family Support Centre (in Polish the PCPR), acting on his/her behalf, competent for the foreigner’s place of residence. Providing integration assistance to a foreigner is a central administration task carried out by a poviat. The assistance is granted for a period of up to 12 months.
A foreigner married to a Polish citizen is not entitled to integration assistance. In the event the refugee status/subsidiary protection has been granted to a minor person who is not under parental or legal custody, the President of the PCPR notifies a competent Family Court of the fact.

Integration assistance is provided on the request of a refugee/person granted supplementary protection. The application, which shall refer also to the foreigner’s minor children and spouse if they hold the refugee status or benefit from supplementary protection, should be submitted within 60 days of the granting of the refugee status/supplementary protection to the foreigner.

The application should include:

1.    a written statement of the foreigner’s intent to take up residence in the territory of a given voivodeship;
2.    a written statement that the foreigner has not submitted such an application in the territory of another voivodeship;
3.    a written declaration  of readiness to participate in the  agreed integration programme.

The foreigner should enclose copies of:

1.    the decision of the President of the Office for Foreigner or the Refugee Council to grant the refugee status/subsidiary protection;
2.    the Geneva  Passport issued by the President of the Office for Foreigners;
3.    the residence card issued in relation to the granting of the refugee status/subsidiary protection in the territory of the Republic of Poland; any other documents in the possession of the foreigner that may prove useful in developing an integration programme.

Integration assistance is provided as part of the individual integration programme (in Polish IPI), agreed upon between the poviat family support centre and the foreigner. A social worker of the PCPR conducts a so-called community interview with the foreigner and his/her family and draws up an individual integration programme with him/her. The programme defines the  amount, scope and forms of integration assistance as well as the mutual obligations of the foreigner and the PCPR.  

Pursuant to Article 22 of the Social Assistance Act, a Voivode is responsible for coordinating  activities for the integration of foreigners, especially the ones aimed at finding a place of residence for them.

The Poviat Family Support Centre submits the programme agreed upon with the foreigner and the projected costs of its implementation to a Voivode.  The Voivode transfer funds for its implementation after accepting the programme submitted. The PCPR cooperates with the competent Voivode and the commune to provide the foreigner with assistance in finding a place of residence, taking into account, as far as it is reasonably possible, the foreigner’s choice. The foreigner shall take up residence at the place specified by the Voivode acting in cooperation with the Poviat Family Support Centre and the commune. If the foreigner refuses to take up residence at the place indicated within the boundaries of the given voivodeship during 12 months of the duration of the individual integration programme, it is tantamount to withdrawing from the programme. The foreigner shall be allowed to change his/her place of residence during 12 months of the duration of the individual integration programme only in special cases.

The Poviat Family Support Centre is required to:

1.    provide the foreigner with information concerning the assistance defined in the programme and the terms and conditions for its suspension or refusal to grant such assistance;
2.    cooperate with the foreigner and provide him/her with support in contacts with the local community, including a social assistance centre competent for the   foreigner’s place of residence;
3.    provide the foreigner with assistance in obtaining accommodation, possibly sheltered accommodation;
4.    carry out social work with the foreigner;
5.    take up any other activities agreed upon with the foreigner and necessitated by his/her individual situation;
6.    appoint an employee, hereinafter referred to as the „programme coordinator,” whose task is to draw up a programme together with the foreigner and to provide him/her with support in the  implementation of the programme.

The refugee is required to:

1.    register at the place of residence;
2.    register at the district employment agency within the time period specified in the programme and actively search for a job;
3.    attend obligatory Polish language courses, if necessary;
4.    cooperate with and contact the programme coordinator at scheduled times, not less than twice a month; 
5.    undertake other activities necessitate by his/her individual situation agreed upon with the programme coordinator;
6.    comply with the obligations  agreed upon in the programme.

In the event the foreigner fails to carry out the commitments specified in the IPI,  particularly if he/she does not actively work for the benefit of his/her integration, integration assistance may be limited or suspended.

Integration assistance may be suspended in the event:

1.    the refugee fails to fulfil the obligations specified in the programme in a willful and persistent manner – for a period of 30 days;
2.    the refugee uses the assistance in a manner grossly incompatible with the purpose, for which it has been granted – for a period of 30 days;
3.    the refugee has provided false information concerning his/her situation – until the circumstances for providing such information are clarified;
4.    the refugee has been in a healthcare unit for 30 – until he/she leaves the unit;
5.    penal proceedings have been initiated in relation to the refugee -  until the final termination of the proceedings.

The PCPR refuses to provide assistance in the event:  

1.    the foreigner who continues to receive assistance that had been suspended beforehand, commit acts specified in (1)-(3);
2.    the foreigner  has been convicted by a valid judgement;
3.    the foreigner has been deprived of the refugee status.

Comment

Projekt ‘MIEJSKI SYSTEM INFORMACYJNY I AKTYWIZACYJNY DLA MIGRANTÓW’ jest współfinansowany z Programu Krajowego Funduszu Azylu, Migracji i Integracji oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW realizowany był w ramach programu Obywatele dla Demokracji, finansowanego z Funduszy EOG.

Projekt LOKALNE POLITYKI MIGRACYJNE - MIĘDZYNARODOWA WYMIANA DOŚWIADCZEŃ W ZARZĄDZANIU MIGRACJAMI W MIASTACH był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt ‘WARSZAWSKIE CENTRUM WIELOKULTUROWE’ był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW Projekt realizowany był przy wsparciu Szwajcarii w ramach szwajcarskiego programu współpracy z nowymi krajami członkowskimi Unii Europejskiej.