Together with The Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights and “Nomada” Association we submitted to the chief of the Polish Sejm’s Interior Affairs Commission our amendment proposals to the bill from March 12th, 2022, on providing help towards Ukrainian citizens, regarding an armed conflict within the territory of this state.
Our requests come from the continued observations in weeks of direct work, which we execute for the people that are affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine, to help them start a new life in Poland under the EU and international law.
- The expenditure of the bill’s subjective scope about different than spouses or other family members of Ukrainian citizens.
It often happens that members of one family fleeing Ukraine have different citizenship. Therefore, to ensure that they can stay together and prevent family separation, it is necessary to unify the residence statuses of such persons. The proposed amendment will allow family members of Ukrainian citizens arriving or residing in Poland who does not meet the conditions of the draft law to reunite.
- Extending to 90 days (about 3 months) the deadline for applying a PESEL number for persons whose entry to the territory of the Republic of Poland was not registered.
Currently, the deadline is 60 days (about 2 months) and, according to our experience, in some localities where it is necessary to make an appointment in an office on a specific day, it is not enough. Huge queues form in the offices making it impossible for absconding persons to obtain a PESEL number quickly. Exceeding the statutory deadline is equivalent to non-registration of stay in Poland, therefore it is necessary to extend it.
- It is possible to apply for a PESEL number at the place of residence and it is not necessary to send sworn translations of documents attached to the application for a PESEL number.
The persons covered by the Act also include those who, due to their health condition or disability, are unable to apply for assigning a PESEL number, as well as those who are unable to travel to the seat of the municipality authority to complete the formalities related to their stay in Poland in person. Poland is a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, so it is obliged to provide them with access to public services. It is, therefore, necessary to add to the Act solutions enabling the above-mentioned persons to obtain a PESEL number which enables them to use, for example, free medical care. Foreigners are also often instructed to provide certified translations of their identity documents. Obtaining certified translations is associated with potential problems, such as the excessive cost of translation or the limited availability of translators, therefore, we request to delete this provision from the Act.
- Adding a provision under which persons covered by the provisions of the Law on Assistance to Citizens of Ukraine and Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection will be issued a residence card.
Persons covered by the Act are at the same time under temporary protection, so the provisions of the Act should be consistent with the regulations contained in the EU Temporary Protection Directive. Persons under temporary protection should be issued residence permits covering the entire period of temporary protection. In the case of Poland, such a document is a residence card. The identity document is indispensable in case of taking advantage of benefits in Poland or traveling in the EU, therefore it is important to add this provision to the Act.
- Adding provisions that fulfill the obligations of Member States concerning family reunion set out in the EU temporary protection directive.
Member States are obliged by the Directive to ensure the implementation of family reunification mechanisms that apply to both family members residing in the EU and family members who have not yet arrived in any of its countries. Neither the proposed law nor any other provision of national law implements these provisions in any way, so an urgent implementation of the Directive in this regard is necessary.
- Extending the period of stay outside the territory of the Republic of Poland resulting in deprivation of rights under the Act.
Persons under temporary protection are allowed to travel within the EU for 90 days (about 3 months) within 180 days (about 6 months). The current form of the act does not allow for this possibility and threatens the loss of benefits included in it.
- No requirement to remain under medical care when applying for the so-called “becikowe”.
Currently the condition for obtaining “becikowe”. Currently, the condition for obtaining “becikowe” (cash benefit in connection with childbirth) is submitting a certificate of being under medical care. In most cases, Ukrainian women cannot submit such a certificate, which limits their access to this benefit. Supply free psychological aid to persons in need of special aid.
- Providing free of charge psychological help to those who require special assistance.
Persons under temporary protection, and thus under this Act, should be provided with free psychological assistance, under the provisions of the Temporary Protection Directive. The current version of the Act lacks such a provision and given the situation in which the persons covered by this Act find themselves, adding it should be a priority for the legislator.
You can read our proposals here (in Polish).