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    Polish gov’t amends refugee laws

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    New laws regulating the accommodation of Ukrainian refugees in public-funded quarters will be introduced as an amendment to refugee laws currently processed in the Sejm (lower house of Poland’s parliament).

    The amendment, which had its first reading in the Sejm on Tuesday, foresees that refugees in lodgings funded by local authorities and other public institutions will be able to remain in such quarters cost-free for 120 days, after which they will have to participate in the accommodation costs.

    Paweł Szefernaker, a deputy minister piloting the amendment through the Sejm, said the new regulations will not affect disabled persons, women over 60 and men over 65, pregnant women, women with children under 12 months, single parents with three or more children, minors, and persons in adverse financial conditions.

    Also exempt from the new laws will be the companions of disabled persons, Szefernaker said.

    Szefernaker added that around 80,000 of the over a million Ukrainian refugees in Poland were currently living in public-funded lodgings, with a total 426,469 having made use of them since the outbreak of Ukraine’s war with Russia.

    Szefernaker also reminded about Poland’s appeals for a special EU fund to aid refugee-admitting countries, and stressed that no such fund has been activated yet.

    Szefernaker said the only EU aid granted Poland to date was EUR 140 million, which is “a drop in the ocean of refugee needs.”


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