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How to be a refugee in Poland. New guides prepared by HFHR lawyers

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued two guides developed as part of the Legal Assistance Programme for Refugees and Migrants. The initiative has been financed from the European Refugee Fund and the state budget.

The first publication “Me in the asylum procedure. About the rights and responsibilities under the procedure” is aimed at foreigners applying for asylum or some other form of subsidiary protection. The guide describes the refugee procedure, outlines situations foreigners may find themselves in, for instance detention pending expulsion, and advises about their rights, such as the right to confidentiality of information passed to public institutions.

The other publication, titled “Refugee status. Subsidiary protection in Poland. What next?”, is addressed to those who have already been awarded the refugee status or some other form of subsidiary protection.

“The authors guide the foreigner, step by step, through the following issues: Individual Integration Programme, social welfare system, health care system, educational entitlements in Poland, employment and tax issues, running a business activity, social insurance or regulations for travelling abroad. The foreign reader will also find out there in what circumstances they may lose their refugee status”, says Prof. Irena Rzeplińska, HFHR’s expert and a co-originator of the guide.

A major benefit of the guides is that they incorporate the Foundation’s experience in working with foreigners.They are much more than a simple inventory of procedures, as they demonstrate how specific legal provisions translate into real life experiences of foreigners in Poland. Their authors, thanks to their experience in advising foreigners, knew what questions they would most want to know answers to and which issues are most challenging for them.

“People who come to us asking for legal aid are, in the majority of cases, in a difficult life situation and often suffer tremendous stress because of uncertainty as to their immediate future. For that reason, we came up with the idea to create an accessible and straightforward publication, which will help them find their way in difficult circumstances”, says Ewa Ostaszewska-Żuk, member of the editorial team.

The guides are available in five languages.

”Me in the asylum procedure. About the rights and responsibilities under the procedure” in the Polish, English, Russian, French or Arabic language versions may be downloaded here.

“Refugee status. Subsidiary protection in Poland. What next?” in the Polish, Russian, English, French and Arabic language versions may be downloaded here.


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