Poland can’t be paying for the refugees from Ukraine forever, says interior ministry

Deputy Minister of the Interior Paweł Szefernaker has indicated the Polish government will change the regulations related to how the state finances refugees from Ukraine

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: RMF FM
People fleeing the conflict in neighboring Ukraine cross the border in Przemysl, Poland, Feb. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)

Approximately 80,000 Ukrainian refugees are currently housed in centers such as public buildings and small hotels across Poland, according to Deputy Minister of the Interior Paweł Szefernaker, who warned that they cannot remain reliant on Polish handouts indefinitely.

The government wants to ensure that those still in residence in these places after 120 days can contribute up to 50 percent of the costs and gradually become self-sufficient financially so that they can support themselves in Poland.

Speaking to commercial radio RMF FM, Szefernaker insisted that refugees should be able to support themselves by the middle of next year. 

The minister does not expect another major wave of refugees as a result of recent rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities. He relayed that the Ukrainian authorities are now determined to ensure that displaced people migrate within Ukraine rather than abroad.

According to Polish border control data, of the 22,000-23,000 daily border-crossings from Ukraine, only 5 percent of them are classified as refugees. Szefernaker said that whilst Poland must be prepared for all eventualities, Ukraine itself must do everything it possibly can to limit outward migration. 

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine on Feb. 24, Poland has maintained an open-door policy for refugees from the country. These refugees have been housed in private homes and centers maintained by central and local government, as well as by the wider Polish public. Poles who hosted the refugees were given financial aid for a limited period of time. The refugees were given a social security number entitling them to work, benefits, and the use of the health services. 

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