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New rules for staying in Poland from January 2023: Important changes for Ukrainians

The conditions of stay for Ukrainian refugees will change in Poland - the country plans to amend a special law on assistance for Ukrainian citizens. Beginning in 2023, refugees will begin to cover part of the cost of accommodation in collective centres. The changes also oblige migrants to obtain a PESEL number.


 Changes to the refugee benefit system.

 The amendment also aims to correct the refugee benefit system. According to the statute, payments will be suspended if a refugee leaves the Republic of Poland. There will still be a provision that states that if such departure exceeds 30 days, the Ukrainian citizen will lose his status under the law, and thus cease to be entitled to benefits. Such status can be granted again if the Ukrainian again flees to Poland as a result of hostilities in his country.

 The amendment also allows an electronic document available at Diia.pl attachment like a residence permit for Ukrainian refugees. This document, together with a travel document, will allow a Ukrainian citizen to cross the border multiple times without obtaining a visa.

 Changes to temporary residence permits and registration rules

 A provision that provides for a special procedure for issuing temporary residence permits to refugees will be excluded from the law. The authors of the Ordinance stressed that this change will in no way deprive refugees of their right to stay for 18 months from February 24 in the Republic of Poland.

In the course of work on the amendment to the law, a provision was also added, which stipulates that as of April 1, 2023. Ukrainian refugees who have taken up employment or are engaged in business will be able to apply for a temporary residence permit.

- This is a way to meet the expectations of refugees who want to plan to live in the Polish country for a longer period of time-explains deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Paweł Szefernaker.

 Refugees will pay for their stay in collective accommodations

 Starting February 1, 2023. Ukrainians who will stay in Poland for more than 120 days will have to pay 50% of the cost of their stay. The amount will be no more than PLN 40 per person per day.

 In addition, from May 1, 2023, refugees who will stay in Poland for 180 days will have to cover 75% of expenses. The amount will be no more than PLN 60 per person per day.

 Assistance in such places will not apply to particularly vulnerable groups. According to the amendment, disabled persons and their caregivers, children, persons of retirement age, pregnant women, persons raising a child up to 12 months of age, caregivers of at least three children, as well as vulnerable persons, will not have to cover living expenses. 120 days after their arrival in Poland, assistance will continue free of charge.

 The rules for registering Ukrainian citizens will also change.

 Refugees will have 30 days from their arrival in Poland to apply for a PESEL number. Those who have already arrived in Poland after the Russian attack, but have not yet submitted such an application, will have 30 days to do so from the entry into force of the law. Prior to the law's entry into force, the deadline for registering in the PESEL system is 90 days after entering Poland.

 In addition, refugees' departures from Poland will be supervised by the Social Security Administration (ZUS) and other municipal offices. In this way, Polish authorities plan to avoid untargeted cash assistance payments. The institutions will gain access to information on the dates of each entry and exit of Ukrainian refugees from Polish territory.

 Extension of legality of stay and further financial support

 The legality of stay of Ukrainian citizens residing in Poland before the war is extended until August 24, 2023. Currently, the law guarantees their legality of stay until the end of this year. The amendment also ensures that the tax preferences for volunteers in Ukraine in effect this year will remain in effect for another year.

 The amendment also includes provisions for continued financial support of local government units for additional educational tasks for children from Ukraine. For 2023. More than two billion zlotys have been budgeted in the aid fund for these tasks.