Alternatives to detention in law

Poland has passed legislation providing for a mandate to consider alternatives to immigration detention.

The New Act on Foreigners entered into force on 1 May 2014. It is modelled on Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (the Returns Directive).

Article 398 of the New Act on Foreigners provides for the Polish Border Guard authority to apply any one or more of the following:

  • Reporting at specified intervals to the Polish Border Guard;
  • Lodging a security deposit, no lower than twice the amount of the minimum wage stipulated by minimum wage law;
  • Surrendering of travel documents; and
  • Directed residence at a location specified by the authorities.

Law prohibiting the detention of vulnerable groups

New Act on Foreigners entered into force on 1 May 2014.

An unaccompanied  minor  applying  for  the  refugee  status  cannot  be detained for the  purpose  of expulsion.

A  foreign  national  applying  for refugee  status,  whose  mental  and physical  condition  indicates  that he/she  might  have  been subjected to violence or that he/she is disabled cannot be placed in a guarded centre or in an arrest for the purpose of expulsion, unless his/her behaviour constitutes a threat to the safety, health or life of other foreigners accommodated in the facility  or the staff, and if it may prove dangerous to his/her life or health.

Law providing a mandate to consider alternatives to detention

The New Act on Foreigners includes an ability to use alternatives in respect of all migrants who might otherwise be subject to detention, except those who pose a threat to state defence or security, or to public safety and order.

These alternatives are regular reporting, directed residence, deposit of travel documents, and financial guarantees.

Monitoring: Handover of Travel Documents

New Act on Foreigners 2013 provides for a regular reporting to the authorities (reporting obligations); deposit of an adequate financial guarantee; submission of documents (obligation to surrender passport or travel document) and the obligation to stay at a certain place (required residence).

There are alternatives cover

Over the past five years, the IDC has undertaken a program of research to identify and describe a number of positive alternatives to immigration detention (‘alternatives’) that respect fundamental rights, are less expensive and are equally or more effective than traditional border controls.

This research, entitled There are alternatives, provides readers with the guidance needed to successfully avoid unnecessary detention and to ensure community options are as effective as possible.

This text was published in September 2015.