4 July 2014

The updated AIDA report on Poland, compiled by ECRE member organisation Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, highlights that as of 1 May 2014, with the entry into force of the new Law on Foreigners, asylum seekers who receive a negative decision on their application can no longer be deported while a court is examining their appeal against a negative decision on their application. The new law has separated asylum and return proceedings. As a consequence, asylum seekers are no longer issued a return order together with a negative decision on their application.

Regarding detention, asylum seekers can now be detained for maximum 6 months. If people apply for asylum in detention, their stay in detention can be prolonged for 90 days. If they receive a negative decision on their application within this period of time, their detention can be prolonged even if they lodge an appeal against the negative decision on their application. As a consequence, there are instances of asylum seekers who spend their whole asylum proceedings in detention.

Under the new law, people appealing a return decision to the court (after an administrative appeal has been rejected) can see their detention prolonged by 6 months.

Before May 2014, asylum seekers and migrants awaiting return could be detained for up to 12 months, including the detention period during asylum and return procedures. Now, irregular migrants can be detained for maximum 18 months in return procedures. Therefore, asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected can be detained for up to 6 months during the asylum procedure and 18 months during the return procedure, altogether 24 months.

The new law also introduced alternatives to detention during both asylum and return proceedings, including reporting obligations, deposit, and confinement to an assigned location.

Finally, the report shows that Poland recorded its highest number of asylum seekers in 2013, with 15,245 asylum requests compared to 10,753 in 2012. The Main countries of origin were Russia, Georgia, Syria and Armenia.

This report is part of the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), a project of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), in partnership with Forum refugiés-Cosi, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Irish Refugee Council. AIDA focuses on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention of asylum seekers in EU Member States.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 4 July 2014.
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