The current average wage during the crisis in Ukraine is 860 PLN gross, and the minimum – 180 PLN. Such low wages push Ukrainians to mass departures abroad, including, in particular, Poland.Probably there is not a single city or even a small town left where they don’t work. They are attracted to our country by similar culture, language, geographical proximity and of course higher wages. It is not hard to gain a work and stay permit in Poland, it only takes a couple of weeks. For these reasons, the number of workers from across the Eastern border living in Poland is 1-2 million.
As it turns out, the newly introduced law “Family 500+”, which grants families with more than one child 500PLN-benefit a month, will also cover the Ukrainians in Poland. The only condition they need to meet is to have a temporary residence card and family residence in Poland. In addition, the Ministry of Family confirms this fact on its official website, saying that foreigners, including the most numerous group – the Ukrainians, are also entitled to get 500 zlotys per child.
At a press conference Minister Rafalska has confirmed that as many as 100,000 foreign families may take advantage of the 500+ benefit. However, this number seems to be a gross understatement. It is estimated that at least 1 or 2 million Ukrainians living in Poland will be able to apply for the benefit.
Moreover, the programme includes single parents, divorced, too. This means that, for example, a single Ukrainian mother of three is allowed to come to Poland, get temporary residence permit card easily, and be automatically given 1,500zł per month.
It is required to present a declaration providing that a foreigner receiving the benefit lives in Poland with their children, but in fact officials do not even have the tools to examine whether it is true or not. They will also be unable to control whether the family actually lives in Poland or whether the money will be sent abroad. Because of the lack of verification system and insufficient control, the governement should expect numerous irregularities and frauds.
A different and at the same time important aspect of the regulation is the fact that the benefit is granted for the entire year. Ukrainians often work seasonally, staying in Poland for only a couple of months. The granted 500PLN per child would be given, however, for 12 months, which amounts to 6000 per child.
It seems the government has not thought about all the aspects of the famous Family 500+ programme, and might face many difficulties financing it.