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30 Nov, 2022 07:46

Poland to charge Ukrainian refugees for housing

Polish taxpayers should pay as little as possible for those fleeing the neighboring country, PM Mateusz Morawiecki says
Poland to charge Ukrainian refugees for housing

Ukrainians who have fled to Poland, because of the ongoing conflict with Russia, will have to start paying for their housing and food next year, the government in Warsaw has announced.

The Polish authorities said on Tuesday they plan to introduce the new rules from March 1, 2023.

The amendments to the law on support for Ukrainians will go before parliament soon, and is expected to pass without complications.

According to the proposal, refugees living in state accommodation centers for longer than 120 days will have to cover 50% of the cost up to 40 zlotys ($8.87) per day, per person. After 180 days, the sum will increase further to 75% of the cost, up to 60 zlotys ($13.2) per day.

Children, the elderly, disabled people, pregnant women and caretakers of three or more children will be excluded from the rules.

Controls on benefits provided by Poland to Ukrainian refugees will also be tightened. The government plans to withhold money from refugees leaving Polish territory, with those not returning in 30 days losing their right to residence and benefits altogether.

With Poland itself facing a cost of living crisis, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the proposed measures are aimed at making sure that “Polish taxpayers pay as little as possible for an expected next wave of refugees.”

Around a thousand Ukrainians are arriving in Poland on a daily basis, Morawiecki said, adding that he expects the influx to increase as the situation in the neighboring country keeps deteriorating.

Warsaw has been one of the strongest backers of Kiev since the launch of the Russian military operation in Ukraine in late February. Poland has reportedly donated half of its tanks as well as other weapons to Vladimir Zelensky’s government. It has also accepted around 1.4 million Ukrainian refugees, while calling on the EU to ramp up its anti-Russia sanctions.