Financial allowances for asylum seekers in Poland are not sufficient to meet their basic life needs, which can lead to extreme poverty or even biological threat to life.

The Association for Legal Intervention (SIP) submitted a complaint to the European Commission regarding Poland’s failure to comply with its obligations under the European Union law – Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (hereinafter: Directive 2013/33/EU).

The above mentioned Directive imposes an obligation on Member States to provide asylum seekers with material reception conditions enabling them to have an adequate standard of living, guaranteeing their subsistence and protection of physical and mental health (Article 17 paragraph 2).

According to the Association’s opinion, financial allowances granted by the Polish authorities to cover the costs of living outside reception centers for asylum seekers are extremely low, and as such do not meet the requirements of Directive 2013/33/EU.

The Association for Legal Intervention claims that the limit of an adequate standard of living in Poland has been determined by the Act on Social Assistance by indicating income criteria, exceeding of which deprives the right to be supported by the government (currently it is PLN 701 per month for a single person and PLN 528 per month for a person in a family, in the case of multi-person households). The Association has indicated that in the case of households consisting of three or more persons,, the amount of financial allowances granted to asylum seekers is significantly lower than the social criterion (in the case of a three-person household, it is PLN 450 per month per person and is PLN 78 lower per person than the social criterion, and in the case of a four-person household and more, it is PLN 375 per month per person, which gives a monthly amount per person as much as PLN 158 lower than the social minimum).

The amount of financial allowances for asylum seekers in households with three or more persons is also lower than the minimum subsistence level (a measure of poverty determining the level of needs, below which there is a biological threat to human life and psychophysical development).

In the case of three-person households financial allowances provided by the Polish authorities are lower than the minimum subsistence level by as much as PLN 56. 96 per person in a three-person family and as much as PLN 158. 67 per person in a four-person household. This may pose a threat to the health and proper development of children and their parents applying for international protection (refugee status) in Poland.

Financial allowances by the Polish authorities to asylum seekers not only do not allow an adequate standard of living, but also – which is more significant – they are not sufficient to meet basic human needs, which may lead to extreme poverty and even biological threat to life. For this reason, the Association for Legal Intervention (SIP) has decided to submit a complaint to the European Commission. The Commission should consider the complaint within 12 months. It may then decide to initiate appropriate proceedings for non-compliance with the EU law by Poland.