Since 2005 Polish Border Guard has been a partner of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Warsaw implementing a programme of Assistance in voluntary return from Poland.
The programme of voluntary return is realised by IOM in cooperation with Border Guard on the basis of an Act on Foreigners, drawn up on 12 December 2013 and Agreement between the Ministry of the Interior and Administration of the Republic of Poland and the International Organisation for Migration on cooperation in the field of voluntary return for foreigners leaving the Republic of Poland, signed on 12 July 2005 in Warsaw.
Voluntary return is an alternative to forced return of foreigners illegally staying within the territory of Poland. The programme of Assistance in voluntary return from Poland provides a foreigner with a safe, humane return to his/her country of origin, and what is most important, such a return is connected with avoiding the stigma of deportation and increases the chance of sustained return, reducing the probability of irregular re-migration.
The Border Guard aims to inform potential beneficiaries about the programme and the possibility of taking advantage of assistance in voluntary return and the dissemination of information among foreigners about the possibility to access the programme.
Moreover, the Border Guard provides foreigners with access to application for voluntary return assistance as well as directs them to the office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Warsaw.
The voluntary return procedure begins when the foreigner submits an application declaring the willingness to benefit from the assistance in voluntary return programme.
Declarations are submitted by foreigners through the Border Guard, the Office for Foreigners as well as via the IOM website, info-kiosk or directly at the IOM office in Warsaw.
Organisation of a voluntary return of a foreigner by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) includes:
- confirmation with relevant Polish authorities that selected migrants are eligible for AVR assistance under the agreement;
- provision of short-term pre-departure accommodation and boarding for destitute and homeless migrants who applied for voluntary return assistance;
- provision of risk assessments concerning migrants identified as Victims of Trafficking, to the extent possible;
- verification of validity of travel documents and/or assistance in arranging for their obtention;
- arrangement of “fit to travel” assessment, and for medical examination of the migrant, including Victims of Trafficking;
- organization of family assessment in case of unaccompanied migrant children;
- provision of translation of medical documentation, in case of migrants with health problems;
- provision of interpreter’s assistance, if need be;
- preparation of return travel including purchase of tickets for the most convenient mode of transport, depending on the country of origin, cost of transport and individual situation of returnee;
- organization of in-country transportation and arrangement of overnight accommodation, as necessary;
- provision of assistance with the journey to the airport of departure or the railway station, where necessary;
- provision of transit and arrival assistance and coordination of transportation with IOM offices in the transit country and the country of return, as necessary.
Voluntary Returns Organisation and Dublin Proceedings Unit of the Foreigners Department of Polish Border Guard Headquarters undertakes activities related to implementation, supervision and monitoring in the field of assistance in voluntary returns of foreigners leaving Poland.