Refugees from Ukraine in Poland and the housing market. Pawe Bossernaker announces changes

ukasz Szpyrka, Entrea: The first meeting of the refugee group took place on Friday. Why did you call him?

Bowie Busernacker: – The Poles expect us that the public administration, consisting of the government and the local government, will function efficiently in a situation when a large number of war refugees come to us. We want the Ukrainians to adapt to our surroundings, but at the same time, we want this not to happen at the expense of the Poles. Many politicians often divide the administration into central and local administration. We will differ in many respects, but there is one public administration and in today’s exceptional situation we must develop special solutions for education, labor market and health. Common procedures need to be worked out. It is an absolute priority for the entire public administration and that is why this team was created. We also want to resolve emerging issues as quickly as possible. It is important that the information is ‘cut down’ so that lower-level officials know it as well.

You are talking about a system that you would like to establish with local government officials. How does it look?

– If legal solutions are not prepared allowing the care of Ukrainian children, their mothers will not be able to go to work. And we want them to be able to live normally as quickly as possible. Therefore, we need to create a system that will allow this to be achieved.

Will you reveal any specific ideas?

– There are solutions that have been adopted in some places in Poland and need to be introduced throughout the country today. for example. We want to create a unified system that will allow women who were teachers in Ukraine to run kindergarten clubs for Ukrainian children in Poland. Ladies with pedagogical training will get a job, and mothers of other children, thanks to these solutions, will be able to go to another job. We would have an ideal situation: teachers would get jobs, children would be adapted and taken care of, and the labor market would give others the opportunity to lead a normal life. This is the overall solution that we must adopt. We do short and long term activities.

As I understand it, education is a problem here and now. What long-term measures are you talking about?

– The real estate market in Ukraine before the war did not fully satisfy the needs of the Poles in the field of housing. Many people have come to us who are already renting apartments, and maybe at some time, if they want to stay in Poland, they will think about buying an apartment. In cooperation with the Ministry of Development, we are thinking of solutions that will make the law more flexible in order to speed up many matters related to the construction of apartments. This is necessary primarily for the Poles, but it is also worth considering this issue in terms of the new population of our country.

Are you considering a stronger participation of the Polish Development Fund?

– First of all, the housing market must adapt to the needs of the Poles. We look at it primarily from the perspective of the interests of the Poles. Solutions will be prepared that will make the possibility of increasing the number of apartments and the building code more flexible. These are not issues that can be settled overnight, but must be approached strategically. Details are being developed with experts at the Ministry of Development and local governments will be consulted. Depending on whether they are towns or large cities, they need solutions related to municipal housing. This discussion awaits us. In mid-May, some proposals will be submitted to local governments.

You are talking about long-term solutions. What is the probability anyway?

– There are, in my opinion, three stages ahead. The first perspective covers the period until 1 September. It is the preparation of matters relating to education, the labor market and childcare. The second covers 18 months, and concerns the legal residence of refugees in Poland on the basis of applicable law. If someone comes to us in February, it will be in July 2023. After that time, those people have to decide what to do next. Will they apply to extend their legal residence, or do they want to return to Ukraine? The third perspective relates to a longer stay, especially those who want to stay with us permanently.

Are you planning to offer a gynecology program to patients from Ukraine? Doctors note that this is a serious problem.

Health matters are dealt with by the Ministry of Health. An important issue in the field of health care is the adjustment of vaccinations for children from Ukraine to the vaccination schedule in force in Poland. It was completely different for them. Many children do not have records of their illnesses because they did not take any documents with them when they fled the war. There are many of these, but it is health experts who decide what the priorities are in this area.

You mentioned children’s clubs. Where will they be located?

In rural areas, they can be organized into different types of community centers, old school buildings. It’s basically the same thing in small towns. In large cities, such as Krakow and Warsaw, the biggest problem is that. So we’re talking to entrepreneurs who are striving to get new employees. We want to create such places, for example, in workplaces. Here, local governments will have a big role to play in finding such places.

I’ve also talked about mothers with a pedagogical setting. Do you know the size of this group?

– I heard voices why the government did not collect such information when these people entered Poland. My answer: It was not possible for those fleeing the bombing to fill out additional questionnaires at the border. Today we are working on a solution to be built in a few weeks. Anyone who wants to work in Poland will be able to log into the system, complete a questionnaire similar to a CV, and provide education, professional preparation and experience. It will be a tool for both Ukrainians and Poles. We are working on it with employers, because this tool will shorten the path between the entrepreneur and the potential employee. One thing helps us – the holidays are about to begin, so there will also be seasonal job offers. It will also allow us to activate refugees from Ukraine faster.

When will this tool be released? And what would it actually be?

We create a web portal. We must adapt the law to it, because it is required by the protection of personal data. We want it to come into force with a bunch of other activities, including educational ones, which we will introduce at the end of May. We want the portal to start in early June. Technically, Minister Janusz Cieszyński coordinates these works.

We have announced with Minister Marlena Malej that already 100,000 Ukrainian citizens have started to work in Poland. Is it a lot since 3 million crossed the border?

– But not everyone stayed with us – some continued, others went home. Today, we have over 1 million refugees registered in the PESEL database, including 430,000. people of production age. If a quarter of them are among the people who often come to Poland with one plastic bag in two months already working legally, then this is a lot. This number will increase day by day. Looking at other migrations in the world, this number is significant and unique.

It is estimated that 1.6 million people want to stay in Poland permanently. Where do these accounts come from?

– We work with mobile operators and our estimates are based on the registration of Ukrainian SIM cards and the accounts of immigration experts. We can see that some people return to Ukraine, and some continue their journey. The numbers I’m talking about are people who haven’t moved for several weeks. I’m talking about estimates because some of these people said they were going to Poland for a week or two. Today their homes have been bombed and they don’t know when they will be able to return to Ukraine.

Earlier it was estimated that one million people would apply for 40 zlotys from private law. It turns out that it will be 600,000 max. Persons. You overestimated it too much.

At the beginning of March, 140,000 people cross the border daily. Persons. Then these estimates were made. Since the beginning of April, this figure has fallen to the level of 20,000. people. Our situation is very different from when the law was drafted. Same with schools – we have about half a million children and young people from Ukraine in Poland who can go to a Polish school. However, a large portion of these people today are learning remotely. We also have to draw scenarios that if this conflict continues for too long, some will abandon this distant school and wish to go to Poland. We have to be prepared, so we come up with different scenarios.

You have extended your benefits payment period to 120 days. Will there be no further extension?

– We do not want to extend this date any longer, unless the dynamics of the war push another wave.

Where does the money come from to finance refugee stays in Poland?

– So far from the fund launched by Gospodarstwa Krajowego Bank. When funds are received from other sources from abroad, this fund can also be supplemented with costs incurred, and therefore it is a very flexible formula.

What are these procedures? How long does it last?

– We assumed with the wave of refugees in March that these funds would be sufficient for several months. Given the fact that there has been a significant decrease in the number of refugees who come to us in recent weeks, the measures planned for the time being are sufficient. It’s just that there are more and more issues related to the adaptation and work of refugees, so we are waiting for additional funds from the European Union.

You are talking about 11 billion euros.

– On an annual basis. It is known that the dynamics of the war make border traffic different, but these are estimates based on the current situation in Poland.

The European Council summit takes place at the end of May.

– There are indications from Brussels that some funds may be transferred from other funds. But we don’t want to keep them away from the investments we’re already planning. Additional funds are needed, as before in Greece and Turkey. After all, we don’t want this money for ourselves, but for the refugees fleeing the war.

Interview with Łukasz Szpyrka

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