Immigrant Support Center

Opening hours:

Tuesday 10:00-18:00
Wednesday 10:00-18:00
Thursday: 10:00-18:00

Address: 17 Miszewskiego St, Apt. 103

Tel. 512 949 109

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Updated: |
Hijran Aliyeva-Sztrauch

Journalist, graduate of the Faculty of Cultural Studies at the University of Warsaw, a PhD in Sociology and Psychology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, the founder of the Azerbaijan Culture and Information Centre in Poland (2001) and President of the Common House of Caucasus in Poland. "Nothing is impossible in this world!  Understanding between the nations of the Caucasus is a necessity for all the citizens of the region. The Common House of Caucasus is the forgotten past, peaceful future and laborious present. It is worth your devotion!" 

Dear Readers! I would like to address people who consider leaving their own country and moving to Poland. Here is some advice for future emigrants:

1) Most of all, before leaving, one should visit some websites, on which emigrants write about their “new life.” It will help set priorities and manage financial resources. Make good use of the time spent on planning your future abroad and remember about the fast integration with Polish society.


2) Before you decide to move to Poland, look for a place to live. Note: it does not necessarily have to be an apartment in a big city. It is worthwhile to look for a place in a village or town, where life is easier and the rent for a flat or a house is not so high.

3) It is also useful to visit some websites to find information about acquiring documents, guidance, anti-discrimination, assistance to victims of human trafficking or psychological violence, and about one’s rights and obligations in a country. Looking for an organisation or institution that helps migrants is a necessary step (1). Some of these organisations provide specific programmes or workshops for making foreigners comfortable in Poland. The examples of such organisations are International Organisation for Migration (IOM) (2), and Caritas in Poland that helps migrants and refugees. It should be noted that “Caritas daily receives more and more proposals from farmers who want to provide fruit and vegetables for social objectives. These declarations involve approximately 10 thousand tonnes of fruit and vegetables”(3). These products can reach the needy. Do not waste your chances and go to such organisations.

It is also necessary to visit the websites of the Fundacja na rzecz Integracji Zawodowej, Społecznej oraz Rozwoju Przedsiębiorczości VIA (the Foundation for the Occupational and Social Integration and for the Entrepreneurship VIA), the Fundacja Rozwoju “Oprócz Granic” (the Foundation for the Development “Beyond Boarders”) (5), Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, and other organisations (6), which can be easily found on the Internet.

4) Let us remember that the EU countries are still in the midst of the economic crisis. So let us not complain about the unemployment or small wages in Poland. “The analysis of data including the number of the issued work permits and submitted declarations shows that the number of the immigrants who work legally in Poland is increasing. In 2010, 37,000 work permits were issued, 70% more than in 2008 ... In 2008, the number of declarations of the employment of foreigners amounted to 156,000. In 2009, it was 188,000 declarations, in 2010 – 180,000” (7).

In order not to get lost on the job market in Poland, it is useful to visit the website of the Urząd Pracy Warszawy (Employment Office for the Capital City of Warsaw) (8). There are job offers not only for the local market but also for the whole country (the Central Job Offer Database – Centralna Baza Ofert Pracy; CBOP), or even for other EU countries. The Employment Office in Warsaw holds a few programmes: the pilot project “Partnerstwo dla pracy” (“Partnership for Work”) or the programme “Praca z Internetu” (“The Job From the Internet”), which intends to “build the system of the so-called multimedia stands in the offices, libraries, job clubs, the offices of non-governmental organisations and other partners of the job market in Warsaw” (9). The authors of the project believe that the network of such multimedia stands and computers with access to the Internet will allow the unemployed to “benefit from the job assistance with the use of the Internet free of charge and for the easy access to the big number of job offers and different news from the job market” (9). It should be noted that the employment offices can be found in every Polish town, and it is advisable to visit them after the arrival to the country.

5) It is a common knowledge that “Man does not live on the bread alone,” so we need to remember about the integration with the Polish society by participating in the projects held by different organisations. For instance, it is worthwhile to have a look at the projects held by the Fundacja Inna Przestrzeń (The Other Space Foundation) (10). Here you will find new friends and you will not be bored. On the Info Migrator website, there is some information about the new campaign “Turn to Poland”(“Włącz się w Polskę”). Its aim is “the active participation of the immigrants in the social life in Poland” (11).

6) It is advisable to establish friendly contacts in Poland even before the arrival. Remember that every migrant leaves their friends and relatives in their homeland. It usually results in feelings of sorrow and loneliness. It is good to get to know new people, go to the cinema or for a walk with them, actively participate in social life. One should not be afraid of one’s own ideas but boldly contact the right people. The organisers of the action “Turn to Poland” believe that nowadays, foreigners who come to Poland, usually stay passive – they do not take up their own initiatives and they do not join the activities of the local authorities or non-governmental organisations. We believe that such a situation adversely affects not only immigrants themselves but also the whole society. The immigrants cannot be only the object of the activities of other groups – they should become a subject whose voice is heard and taken into account” (12).

7) Language is the basis in establishing contacts. Do not limit yourselves just to your own circle. Look for help and other people will be willing to give you a hand. Remember that we are the guests here. If we want to become the members of the Polish society, we have to earn respect. Learning Polish language will help you open many doors in this country.

Allow me for a short digression to share my personal experience.

I came to Poland in 2001 to study. I had never been here before, I knew Poland from books and associated it with Chopin’s works. In addition, it was June, foreign students, with whom I was supposed to begin studies in October, had not come yet. I arrived during the weekend. I did not have any Polish money and I did not know where to look for the currency exchange bureau. I went to the nearest shop, next to my hotel. I started to talk to the shop assistants (there were only young people) and I asked for a cookie, promising that I would pay on Monday. I got the most needed products: water, rolls, some jam. I knew that I needed to learn Polish really fast, otherwise I would have to go back home (it was one of the conditions set by the school). At the beginning, my knowledge of Russian was very useful. But I understood that everyone is willing to talk if someone addresses them in their mother tongue. You do not have to be a linguist to know that. It is enough to know a dozen or so words in Polish to encourage a Pole to talk. You just need to try talking in Polish.

During the first evening, my new friends invited my for a coffee. I did not know Polish but I tried to pick up every word. On Monday it was me who invited them for dinner. And we met every evening in a small restaurant near the hotel, after my classes (I took Polish language course) and their work. They encouraged me to speak Polish – making mistakes or not, but I tried to speak. Just as Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan (Antonio Banderas) in the film “The 13th Warrior,” I tried to lip read and to guess what my friends were saying. After two months of our meetings I passed the exam in Polish and I stayed in Warsaw.

If one wants to learn Polish quickly and to get to know more about Polish culture, one should contact the Ośrodek Migranta FU SHENFU (The Centre for Migrants FU SHENFU). This organisation “offers Polish language courses for refugees and migrants who plan to stay in Poland. … The aim is to teach Polish effectively and to present different aspects of Polish culture” (13).

It is good to know Polish and to make friends with Poles!





3) „Żeby się nic nie zmarnowało”,




7) M. Matkowska, Współczesnie problemy migracji w Polsce, pp. 99,









By Dr Hijran Aliyeva-Sztrauch

Translation: Alicja Kosim


Good to Read more articles > Hijran Aliyeva-Sztrauch

The migration policy of Poland and the European Union

Dear readers! I would like to address those who are interested in the information on the migration policy of Poland and the whole European Union. We should remember that Poland closely cooperates with the offices of that European organisation in this regard. At first, I would like to remind some key terms, among which the most important seem: emigration, immigration, migration, remigration, repatriation and deportation.

  • Emigration, in short, "means a group of people who left their native country and now live in another one” (1).
  • Immigration is “group of people who come to a country and settle there as permanent residents” (1).
  • Migration describes the state when people who move from one place to another in a country, an area or in the world.
  • Remigration means a group of people who return to their native country after emigration.
  • Repatriation also means the return to the native country, but it is caused by some particular reasons. More information can be found on the website of the Polish Ministry of the Interior. (2).
  • Deportation means the forced resettlement, the expulsion of a person or a group of people as a penalty for their deeds (3), e.g. deportation of Poles to the USSR (1940-1941). More information can be found on the website about the history of Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe. (4).

Each European Union country has its own statistical system of migration. “According to the Polish regulations, every person intending to live permanently in Poland, is obliged to report their permanent residence in a municipal (Polish: gmina). Similarly, every person who leaves Poland permanently should de-register their permanent residence in Poland.The information about registration and de-registration is put in the Personal Identification Number system (PESEL), which is administered by the Ministry of the Interior. The statisticsreceive data on the international migration quarterly from the system” (5).More information can be found on the website of the Polish Central Statistical Office (GłównyUrządStatystyczny).

I would like to present some numbers concerning the legalisation of the foreigners’ residence in Poland. According to the Office for Foreigners:

  • in 2013, 35.000 applications for the residence permit for a fixed period were accepted ...,
  • in cases of the permit to settle (4.500 applications in total), the number of applications due to a marriage to a Polish citizen increased,
  • the number of the applications for a long-term resident-EU permit increased (over 2.000 applications),
  • 3.000 visas were issued (renewed) on Polish territory,
  • about 80.000 invitations were issued,
  • 9.000 citizens of the EU countries applied for the residence registration in Poland,
  • the expulsion decisions against 1.000 foreigners were issued …,6.500 foreigners were obliged to leave the territory of the Republic of Poland,
  • 34.000 people were refused entry to the country by the heads of border authorities.

More information can be found on the website of the European Migration Network (6).

Economic, political, social, educational, ethnic, religious, medical, family or other issues are the main reasons of emigration. The process of migrations in the EU is not easy to control, since some immigrants come here illegally, and they do not have the registration or Personal Identification Number. The management of the process is crucial. “Indeed, the existence of irregular immigration and the perceived failure of migrants to integrate successfully – especially in some European countries – have helped drive a trend in many OECD countries in recent years to make traditional migration more difficult, especially in family migration. There is also a new emphasis on encouraging immigrants to play a bigger role in managing their own integration. Language courses are becoming widespread, as are information programmes that provide practical advice and describe the country’s administrative systems and the formalities to be fulfilled” (7). It is a common knowledge that an immigrant faces many problems at the beginning of their visit to another country. That is why they sometimes do not hold to the formal regulations of the residence. But we have to understand that when one resides on the territory of another country, e.g. Poland, and does not provide complete information about oneself, one infringes not only Polish legal order, but also the legal order of the whole European region.

The information about the process of migration in the EU is collected by the Eurostat – the European statistical office. It “compiles the statistics concerning many issues connected to the international migration flows, the size of the population of the foreigners and acquiring citizenship. The data is collected on the annual basis. They are provided to the Eurostat by the statistics offices of the EU member countries” (8). Interestingly, that European statistical office encounters problems concerning measuring the emigration: “it is more difficult to count people leaving a country than those entering it. The analysis including the comparison of the emigration and immigration data from the EU countries in 2008 (mirror statistics) confirms that it applies to many countries” (9). Let us also remember that a non-citizen of the EU who enters any EU country, enters also the Schengen area – an area with free movement of persons, without border checkpoints. The whole area uses one Schengen Operation System that is a self-contained database. It allows for controlling the information of the people who enter or leave the area, to which 26 countries belong. These are Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Greece, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden. It should be noted that only Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are not members of the European Union.

Poland joined the Schengen area on the 21st of December 2007. According to the Office for Foreigners, it resulted in “a substantial increase in the number of lodged applications for the refugee status in 2007 in Poland. 4563 such applications were accepted in 2007. 10.048 people applied for the refugee status. In comparison to 2006, there was an increase in the number of lodged applications by about 45% and an increase in the number of people applying for the refugee status by about 41%” (8). No wonder that Poland has to control every citizen of the Third World country who enters the Schengen area by crossing the Polish border.

“In order to find the solution for the immigration problems and seize the opportunities, the countries of the European Union have to cooperate with one another and with the immigrants’ countries. Therefore, the European Union has adopted a consistent policy on migration, setting clear and fair rules of the legal migration, preventing illegal migration and promoting integration” (10).

Poland has also another task: by protecting its borders it is responsible for the borders of the whole Schengen area. Therefore relevant structures of Poland increase their cooperation with the eastern neighbours. A number of projects concerning internal affairs have been realised in recent years together with the Ukrainian partner. A big number of people crossing the border and the length of the border line (535 km), which is also the external border of the Schengen area, determine the fact that it is essential for Polish interests to support the activities of the Ukrainian authorities in terms of the internal affairs” (10).

It is estimated that 200 million of people settled outside their country. It constitutes about 3% of the world’s population. Together with the development of communication and technology the process of migration will gradually increase. The economic and political instability in some areas of the world will contribute to the development of this process. On the other hand, many countries improve their systems of managing the process of migration, of the transfer and the protection of information. The international security cooperation becomes more and more globalised.




1) M. Tytuła, M. Łosiak,Polski bez błędów. Poradnik językowy dla każdego

2) MinisterstwoSprawWewnętrznych RP


4) Internetowy serwis historyczny dotyczący historii Polski, Rosjii Europie Wschodniej

5) System badań migracji zagranicznych w Polsce

6) Migracja do Polski w 2013 r. w liczbach, Europejska Sieć Migracyjna

7) B. Keeley, International Migration: The human face of globalization

8) The statistics concerning migration and the population of migrants


10) Polskie doświadczenie transformacyjne w programie polskiej pomocy, MSZ RP, Departament Współpracy Rozwojowej, Warszawa 2013, s.13.


By Dr HijranAliyeva-Sztrauch

Translation: Alicja Kosim



Read more >

Pros and cons of emigration

Dear readers, in this article I would like to share my views on pros and cons of emigration to Poland.

There are two sides to every coin, and similarly, it is possible to find both positive and negative aspects of every new situation. Where should I start? It may sound banal but we should remember that we live in the era of globalization: the world is shrinking, the boundaries disappear and electronic networks allow people from different continents to communicate.

The decision about emigration is usually well thought over. However, according to the proverb “Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched,” obtaining a visa, getting on a plane and believing in a miracle are not enough. The problems arise after many years.


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Mummy, there is no place for me in the kindergarten!

Dear Mummies! I would like to give you some advice about how to secure a place for your children in a kindergarten or crèche. This applies in particular to female immigrants who have decided to spend their life in Poland.

I am from Azerbaijan. My husband, and the father of our 3-year-old Patrycja-Aisha, is a Pole. I was excited when my daughter was born because I had defended my PhD thesis just then. I was thinking of pursuing an academic career and developing the international scholarly magazine “New Prometheus,” the editor-in-chief of which I am now.

We came up against troubles when we started to search for a public crèche for Patrycja because we could not afford a private one. We live in Warsaw. We had believed we would find a place in a municipal unit in the capital city quite quickly. Quite the contrary. Due to a lack of places in the crèche, I had to suspend my academic career and devote all 3 years completely to my daughter. Of course, this was wonderful! Thanks to me little Patrycja knows almost all the letters, can count to twenty, knows some basic social rules, can use a computer and recite poems in three languages (by the way, I write poems and fairy tales for my daughter by myself). Still, I felt as if someone had deprived me of a chance to pursue a career, and Patricia of a possibility to learn Polish well.


Read more >

What are the benefits from setting up an organisation?

Dear readers! I would like to address the people who have been considering the idea of setting up an organisation. I would like to share my experience with you.

I have been leading a life among quite interesting people. My studies at the University of Warsaw and the Graduate School for Social Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences have taught me to express my ideas openly and loudly, carry out bold projects and listen carefully to advice offered by experienced people.

Read more >


Roma in Gdańsk
Roma in Gdańsk

We invite to the webiste of informal Romanian Roma support group in Gdańsk: Romowie w Gdańsku

Free polish course
Free polish course


Projekt ‘MIEJSKI SYSTEM INFORMACYJNY I AKTYWIZACYJNY DLA MIGRANTÓW’ jest współfinansowany z Programu Krajowego Funduszu Azylu, Migracji i Integracji oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW realizowany był w ramach programu Obywatele dla Demokracji, finansowanego z Funduszy EOG.

Projekt LOKALNE POLITYKI MIGRACYJNE - MIĘDZYNARODOWA WYMIANA DOŚWIADCZEŃ W ZARZĄDZANIU MIGRACJAMI W MIASTACH był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt ‘WARSZAWSKIE CENTRUM WIELOKULTUROWE’ był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW Projekt realizowany był przy wsparciu Szwajcarii w ramach szwajcarskiego programu współpracy z nowymi krajami członkowskimi Unii Europejskiej.