A foreigner without a permanent residence right waits many months waiting for a decision on the legalization of staying on the territory of Poland. Where to ask for help and what can you get?
In addition to the Office for Foreigners, various foundations and associations operate in Poland, which aim to provide legal advice. Their advantage is that instead of many hours of standing in the queue in front of the office for a meeting with a lawyer, you can make an appointment by phone. This is important, although the legal advice itself will not hear you by phone anymore. Can a foreigner in Poland call and talk about their status somewhere? Yes. In Warsaw, it is the Department for Foreigners of the Mazowieckie Provincial Office, in which there are hotlines and telephone numbers, under which you can get information about the legalization of stay and replacement of residence card, work permit or citizenship. Helplines on residence and work permits also operate in the Małopolska Voivodship Office, or Wielkopolska and other offices in which these matters are handled. Phone numbers can be found, but it will be information, not a specific legal advice.
There are no telephone lawyers, although this does not mean that such advice is not provided. Their scope and topic depends on the situation in which the foreigner is located. Free legal advice is offered by the Office for Foreigners, but this applies to people who have applied for international protection for themselves when proceedings are being conducted in the case of deprivation of refugee status or subsidiary protection. Such persons are entitled to free legal information in proceedings at first instance, provided that they earn a lower income than those defined in the Act on Social Assistance.
There is also an Information Center for Foreigners in Poland. It offers advice on the rules of applying for permanent or temporary residence, provides assistance in the event of negative decisions, i.e. the possibility of appeal and how to do it. The Center advises against hiring a representative and encourages, with his help, to go through Polish procedures independently. It also helps in situations when a foreigner has been cheated by a dishonest lawyer or employer. It works in partnership with the Mazowieckie Voivodship Office and helps migrants from countries outside the European Union. The Center has been operating since March 2009 as part of the Foreigners’ Affairs Section of the Legal Intervention Association. Its mission is to ensure social cohesion by working for the equality of all people before the law. For advice to the Center, you can make an appointment by phone.
Where else can you call? To the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, but in extreme situations, because such an organization is involved. What can you get? Advice on issues regarding violations of personal and political rights. The Foundation accepts cases in which violations of human rights have occurred or could have occurred, in particular the right to a fair trial. He deals with situations of inviolability by the police or violation of personal freedom. Provides information on the activities of state and local government authorities, etc. Representatives of the foundation observe court proceedings, help formulate complaints to the European Court in Strasbourg and help immigrants obtain refugee status. However, the Foundation does not provide attorney’s services and does not deal with social matters.
You can also call a selected law firm dealing with immigration law. The office will receive advice and assistance related to the legalization of the right of residence, in situations requiring the intervention of a lawyer you will be given the opportunity to present your case and the right to defend in situations such as unfair decisions or accusations. Will you have to pay for the help? It depends on the rank of the case and the financial capacity of the foreigner. Lawyers also provide pro bono services when the good of the person requires it.