Poland Offers Amnesty to Undocumented

Poland is changing. This year it elected only the world’s second transgender MP. In 2010, a black MP was elected  – one more than France. The economy is booming, next to booming Germany — and now it is a destination country for migrants.

Poland’s economy is predicted to grow by four percent this year. It was the only member of European Union to avoid recession during the 2008-09 global financial crisis.

Growth has led the country which exported millions of workers to Western Europe during the past two decades, causing a population reduction, to now become attractive to migrants, especially from neighboring former Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Belarus, who would previously have regarded it as somewhere to transit through, not stop in.

Now thousands of illegal immigrants will be allowed to stay and work in Poland under an amnesty announced on December 26. Rafal Rogala of the immigration office told Reuters that legalizing the immigrants will benefit the Polish economy by turning them into taxpayers.

It will apply to undocumented immigrants who arrived in Poland before December 20, 2007, and to asylum seekers who were denied refugee status before January 1, 2010, provided that they have continuously resided in Poland — around 7,000 people it is estimated. Most are believed to be in or around Warsaw.

Jacek Kozłowski, governor of the Warsaw region, said:

We all know of whole families which reside in our country illegally, because of an error in paper work. We want to help these kinds of people.

The government has also implemented new six-month work visas for Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians, Georgians and Moldovans.

Poland has implemented amnesties before, but the requirements were judged to be too strict.

Rogala said Poland wanted to attract not only seasonal construction and farming workers but also highly-skilled workers.

Polish treatment of refugees has been strongly criticized, particularly the return of those seeking asylum to Ukraine, where human rights groups have claimed they are at risk of being tortured.

Related stories:

Poland Elects Transgender, Gay MPs

Poland to Allow Citizens Abroad to Enter Same-Sex Marriages & Partnerships

Most Americans Want ‘Path to Citizenship’ for Immigrants

Picture by Sem Paradeiro

37 comments

Nicole P.
Nicole Sedkowski4 years ago

Yay this is great news!

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle4 years ago

A progressive country.

Mark S.
Mark S4 years ago

My ancestors came over legally.

Deanna J.
Deanna J4 years ago

So proud of the old country for being cool. Now why can't the US try this?

Amanda Z.
Amanda Z4 years ago

May none of you who criticise so called 'illegals' ever feel the desperate need to leave your country of residence and go elsewhere... for whatever reason. If you do, you could realise that the world is not as open to travel and freedom as you may have once assumed, no matter how little you resemble a terrorist/ government sucking bludger. And yeah, I see that i'm guilty of being a tad self righteous, but i'm still peeved at those who've made Poland out to be some useless country where you might send those you feel unfit to grace yours. (-Even if you have been here, and you didn't like it.)

Mike Chrissie
Mike Chrissie4 years ago

my grandparents came legally through ellis island

John Mansky
John Mansky4 years ago

So is this article a hint for the U.S.? One would think Poland needed these so called "Illegals". The U.S. does NOT! Our 'Illegals', should all be deported whence they came...

jayasri amma
jayasri amma4 years ago

United States could learn something from Poland

Bruce S.
Bruce S4 years ago

Tell Poland we're sending about 12 million to them. They won't need any EXTRA jobs for these people....since they don't work anyway.

Lynn C.
Lynn C4 years ago

I think it very interesting that as soon as someone is 'branded' with the word immigrant, the assumption is they will not have anything to contribute, they don't have any skills, and they are lesser human beings than those who have not had to leave their homeland.
Why is this?
I have found the immigrants I've met to, many times, be smarter, abler, and more willing to work, and, most notably, much more civilized and polite, to each other and to the rude and arrogant people in this country.