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We invite to a series of articles published by Gazeta Wyboracza:
How was it to grow up as a child in Poland?
Well, first of all it was a great experience and most importantly a place where I have learnt the most. Poland
The city was also very silent, there are no trams in India instead there are buses. I could not hear loads of traffic sounds as in India J and most of all I did not have any friends at that time. I stayed at home all those days but I enjoyed looking at the view - it was very nice indeed! I remember, while my mom travelled on job for week or so, I sat by the window watching the colourful trams crossing the streets. is a nice country .I live in Wroclaw with my Mom and Dad, and now also my 2 year old sister. Actually, I was of my sister’s age - 2 years and 7 months old when I came to Poland. It is very different from India. Now if I think of it, I can imagine myself in a coop with no dear ones (apart from my parents) surrounding me. Back at home, I had my grandparents who were always, 24 hours around me and loved me the most.
When leaving our homeland and arriving in other country we have positive thoughts; everything will make up. Most of people think that a change of climate will help them to start a new life. To understand why people leave their countries, I have conducted a survey in one of the Moldavian cities. The questionnaire covered 50 people in the age between 15 to 45 years old.
One day I was talking to my Polish friend, he said that I’m not a Pole, but then he asked me did I know what we have in common, what got us sleepless nights? Well he said it is Swiss franc mortgage. He had a point there. I am not a Pole, either Hungarian nor a Croatian or an Austrian. But I still have got entangled in this Swiss Mortgage Trap – thanks to globalization.
No doubt! Buying a property is a risk especially in a foreign land, and with the currency speculation on top of it is even more risky. People who do both transactions make themselves vulnerable to these risks. We were the ones among them. Were we foolish or greedy to opt for these loans? No! When we took the mortgage loan in 2008 we had no global crisis on the horizon and also for the past 50 years of history indicated Swiss Franc as one of the most stable currency and at first Zloty was strengthening, which rather looked appealing. Why would anyone go for the high interest Polish Zloty Mortgage loan then, when Swiss Franc Mortgage Loans were so lucrative.
One takes the good times and the bad, we definitely benefited from the low interest rates where as others who had loans in Zloty’s had to buy at higher rates.
Now the people are debating about the state aid but why should other tax payers and the rest of those who have mortgages in Zlotys subsidize those who have taken a currency gamble? The answer is not who gambled, but the point is how the banks using aggressive marketing strategies sold these risky mortgages to the customers without warning about the risks involved in the deal – this was the one of the major factors triggering the financial crisis around the world.
As a home owner what options do I have on the table?
1) Do I need the wait for the government to come to my aid by converting my Swiss Franc loan to Zloty’s as the Hungarian government did? I doubt this will happen since Polish loans are not as bad as their eastern European counterparts. At the moment only about 3% of Poles are in arrears. That's partly because Polish banks tended to offer Swiss franc loans to wealthier borrowers.
2) Do I need to fear and spend sleepless nights? No, it is not sensible to do so. Mortgages are not the things which should be decided in haste, take a step back and think. Even today Swiss Mortgage loans are cheaper than the Zloty equivalent as in the past. Thanks to the very low interest rate. Also, I understand the exchange rate is rather appalling but the crucially the interest rates are significantly low. Having said that, I also feel sorry for those who are struggling to pay back their mortgages due to rise of Swiss Francs.
3) Can I sell my property once and for all, and get rid of the loan? Unfortunately, this cannot be done and is not the right choice now, unless you want to make some loss, since the property is not worth than much as the actual loan I owe to the bank.
4) If you are a foreigner another option is to rent the property out. You can do this by giving your property to property management companies for a very small nominal fee, which can cover your monthly installments to large extent.
5) The last but not least, the best thing what can be done is (which we are currently doing) to anyone who have a Swiss Franc mortgage is to have a separate Swiss Franc bank account and exchange your Zloty each month online or in a local currency exchange office (Kantor), which is much better than the rates which we get from the banks which is nothing but cutthroat.
It is also worthy to note that policy makers have ordered the banks should abide by a pain sharing agreement, like passing on the Switzerland’s negative interest to borrowers and refrain from demanding additional collateral and extended loan maturities for clients having difficulty with debt payments. The banks who have been demanding extra security fees to cover their risk in the past cannot do that anymore. One last thing, as the saying goes “As the going gets tough, tough gets going.” Just don’t give up.
Young people love to travel, it’s not a secret; they need this, new emotions and friendships. Some are bored with sameness, the feeling that they know everyone in their city; some just can’t wait to have an adventure, and traveling to other country is for sure. The road, new friendships and memories become part of our lives. It’s always pleasure to pack your things, and head on for a new, student life.
The Grass Always Seems Greener on the Other Side...
We hear this more and more often, and lots of people enjoy speaking about others; stories how one of their friends left somewhere abroad, shooting for the stars... But each story ends: “The grass always seems greener on the other side.” Is it true? I hear that people succeed more and more often.
Of course, it is still better to sit on the coach and think about people’s better lives. On the other hand, some tend to notices someone’s successes, but they completely don’t take under consideration difficulties these people experience.
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.
I would like to start with some positive aspects but the first sentence goes as follows...
Unfortunately, a Polish employer is not willing to employ a foreigner and fulfil all standards of law. They do not have to be and indeed are not bad themselves nor are they a horror of a foreigner. However, complicated legal rules and disproportionately high costs of the employment cause the employers to look for easier ways of documenting all situations that take place in their firms or companies.
R like registration of residence
The law has many faces – the theory may be helpful while dealing with them. However, the thing that encouraged me to write this article was the everyday experience of Foundation Ternopilska concerning registration of residence. Step by step, I will write how to register your place of stay in Poland.
When the registration of residence of a foreigner is necessary?
In order to receive PESEL number. Similar numerical identifications function in any country, where tax and evidence data of its citizens is collected and stored.
PESEL is given to a foreigner after two weeks, after registration of a stay for a period longer than 3 months – it may concern 92, 95, 100 or more days. If the stay is shorter than 3 months – PESEL number will not be given.
Why this article is concerned so much with PESEL, when it was meant to provide information about registration of residence? For a foreigner the registration of residence, as I have mentioned above, is the only way to receive PESEL number. Having such identification number makes the life in Poland easier.
We will be asked to provide our PESEL number in following institutions and situations:
- ZUS (Social Insurance Institution)
- tax office
- in a hospital, on ER
- when signing an agreement with employer
- university, higher education institution
If we do not have the PESEL number, we are obliged to present international passport, but still not all institutions are allowed to identify a person on the basis of this document, as the number of the passport may change, just like a surname – PESEL is always the same.
When the registration of residence is helpful?
- when applying for a residence card
- when registering as an unemployed
- for the sense of stability in a foreign country
When the registration of residence is substituted by other documents?
Very important institution for us foreigners is the Office for Foreigners, located in Voivodeship Offices. When applying for a residence card, it is necessary to deliver all the required documents certifying our stay in Poland, and providing certain place of residence. The department demands one of the following documents: confirmation of registration, rent contract, lending contract, deed of ownership of the apartment we live in. It is worth to obtain one of the documents required by the institution, but do not panic if you are not able to get the registration of residence or the rent contract.
I am emphasizing the moderation because in case of registration of residence the good will of the flat owner is crucial – if the owner does not want to register our stay there is nothing much we can do. Owner of the apartment has such right and registration of residence of the others is a right, not duty.
If the department insists on the certification of registration of residence, it’s worth to write a declaration: “I declare that the owner of the apartment I currently reside, has not assented to my registration of residence.” This should be enough to make our case carry on.
Registration – step by step
You would like to register your place of residence but you are convinced that it’s complicated and time consuming. I’ll prove you wrong – there is nothing easier.
You are no longer obliged to deregister your previous place of residence. Now all the formalities may be solved in the office. The whole procedure of registration of residence takes 10 minutes – you only need to collect necessary documents. You may already have some of them:
What else you should know? (Changes from January 1, 2013)
Foreigners other than mentioned before residing on the territory of Republic of Poland are obliged to register the place of residence 4 days at the latest, counting from the day of arrival, if the stay is longer than 3 months. But if the stay on the territory of the Republic of Poland does not exceed 14 days, there is no such obligation.
Source and more information: Ministry of the Interior
By Marija Jakubowycz (October 2014)
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.
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:
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.
10) Polskie doświadczenie transformacyjne w programie polskiej pomocy, MSZ RP, Departament Współpracy Rozwojowej, Warszawa 2013, s.13.
By Dr HijranAliyeva-Sztrauch
Translation: Alicja Kosim
Every country has its own vision and policy as far as migration problems are concerned. It means that Poland has also the right to select or not to select its possible future citizens, as not all migrants in Poland will obtain citizenship. Anyway, Poland can already think about new inhabitants of its territory.
But even if Poland does not want to admit foreigners and if it secures the borders and introduces the pro-family policy (using the EU funds), the citizens of all countries in the world are in constant movement. So we can say that even if Poland does not wish that, there will be less Poles and still more foreigners here.
Everyone, regardless of the place of birth, has the place which he or she always wanted to live in, or just see. Sometimes such attraction is born when watching a movie or a scientific program. You are sure: yes, I want to be there. Usually, we put such dreams on a shelf where they get covered with dust. But sometimes we do not forget about these feelings, and strive the dream to come true.
I was born in the north of Moldavia, in Bielce. Moldavia is famous because of horses and wine. Great number of Poles who were forced to leave their homeland in order to protect their families settled in this city. There are also smaller villages in Moldavia that became homes of Polish people – who now write their own history there, in Moldavian land.
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.