New Polish Migration Policy Seen Enshrining Xenophobia

A leaked copy of the draft policy was published in full (in Polish) in June by the Association for Legal Intervention rights group.

The Polish Helsinki Foundation, a human rights non-governmental organisation, said in a statement that the "conditions related to worldview and religion are a gross violation of fundamental freedoms and human rights".

Asked by BIRN about the leaked document, an interior ministry spokesman did not deny its authenticity.

"Currently, work is undertaken on a draft document, which will include the proposal for Poland's migration policy," he said. "When the project is ready, it will be made available for public and inter-ministerial consultations." 

He added: "When it comes to the migration policy, the Ministry of Interior and Administration systematically represents the position of the government and of [the ruling] Law and Justice [party], which has not changed in the last four years."

Fierce anti-migrant rhetoric helped Law and Justice (PiS) gain power in 2015. During campaigning that year, PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski infamously said that migrants "bring parasites and protozoa".

Protesters with Polish flags take part in an anti-Islam rally dubbed 'Poles against Migrants' in Warsaw in April 2016. File photo: EPA/MARCIN OBARA

Desperate for workers

Poland's migration policy has been in limbo since the nationalist-populist government scrapped the previous one in 2016.

In the meantime, despite PiS' anti-immigrant bluster, the country has become one of the EU's biggest magnets for migrants from outside the bloc.

According to Eurostat, Poland issued 680,000 first residency permits in 2017 — the highest number for any EU country. Of these, 580,000 permits were for Ukrainians.

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