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Myths surrounding refugee quotas, or resettlement and relocation

“Recently, we have been observing untrue information on the European Commission’s so-called refugee quotas, i.e. the number of foreigners who are to be resettled and relocated to Poland, that appears in public debate”, says Maja Łysienia, HFHR lawyer. “We have decided to address some of this information by explaining the underlying law and presenting statistical data. We hope such data will make the problem easier to understand”, adds Ms Łysienia.

One of the most frequent myths about refugees is the statement that their presence will be a new phenomenon in Poland. In fact, Poland has been accepting refugees for many years. Over the period of 2005-2014 alone, more than 89,000 foreign nationals have applied for the refugee status in Poland. While these were primarily citizens of the Russian Federation with Chechen origins (mainly Muslims), international protection was also sought by foreigners from the Middle East and Africa.

According to another much repeated statement, the foreigners who are to reach Poland are exclusively economic migrants, not refugees. “This is as far from the truth as it gets”, Maja Łysienia says. “Under the European Commission’s quotas, Poland will accept the foreigners resettled from outside the EU or relocated from other EU Member States who satisfy the criteria for granting the refugee status. As such, the quotas do not include economic migrants”, Ms Łysienia adds.

The arrival of refugees gives rise to fears that they may pose a threat to the national security. Meanwhile, under the law, each foreign national qualified by Polish authorities for resettlement or relocation must be vetted by Polish security services. If the services have any doubts whether or not a given person may pose a threat to Poland’s security, such a person will not be eligible for receiving any form of international protection in Poland, thus should not be relocated or resettled to Poland.

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