Study / training in EU
Dawid Cegiełka (Association For Legal Intervention, ALI) in his article „Foreign students in Poland” reports that to accomplish assumptions mentioned above, Polish governmental institutions have to fulfill their plans about simplifying procedures concerning obtaining necessary permissions and documents, and to broaden the rights of foreign students in Poland. He underlined several factors which particularly can affect the choice of Polish universities made by foreign students. Among those factors Cegiełka pointed access to the labour market, possibilities of opening one’s own company, access to the social security system, healthcare, social support during studies, chances of prolonging legal stay, finding a job and settling down after finishing education.
These topics were discussed further during the seminar organized in Warsaw in December 2013. The discussion panel about the education of foreign students and their situation in Poland included the following experts: Marcin Gońda ( University of Lodz), Karolina Łukaszczyk (Migration Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior), Tomasz Cytrynowicz (Director of the Department of Legalization of Stay, the Office for Foreigners) and Dawid Cegiełka (ALI),
Experts have indicated that, although Poland still has to face a lot of challenges in the field of the internationalization of higher education, the number of foreign students at Polish universities is increasing. Nevertheless, experts noted that students have to face many obstacles when making a decision to extent the leght of their stay after graduation. However, at the same - according to the speech delivered by Cytrynowicz - time it should be noted that the New Act on Foreigners will improve the situation of this particular group of migrants in Poland.
Procedures will be accelerated and simplified a bit. It will be easier for international students to deal with formalities concerning their stay in the territory of Poland. As Cegiełka wrote for students, who have been issued a residence permit on the basis of full-time studies and also those who have proven Polish roots, will be entitled to work in Poland without a work permit.
Łukaszczyk added that the issue of setting up and running a business by foreign students is relatively liberal and easy in Poland. The problem occurs after the end of this stage of education, here access to specific forms often decreases and after graduation it is not possible to continue this activity.
Regulations for students concerning opening their own business in Poland also vary depending on the legal basis of stay (visa or two types of residence permit). As in the previous case, bearers of the Pole’s Card and full time students or PhDs with a residence permit have equal rights to Polish citizens. Others may open only several types of companies (joint stock companies, public limited companies, and limited partnerships).
Employers hiring students prefer the form of a mandate or a contract for specific work, and therefore some foreigners do not have access to insurance and to free medical services.
One of the topics raised during the semiar was related to scholarships and social benefits. Cegiełka claimed that social assistance in Poland is not designed for foreign students unless they have one of the types of permanent stay, such as permanent residence, EU residence, refugee status, subsidiary protection or tolerated stay. Also Gońda stressed the fact that a foreign student, who recives a subsidy, can not work at the same time.
Expert opinions were verified by three student migrants in Poland - Vietnamese students – Bihn, who has been staying in Poland for three years and Lai, who has been staying in Poland for for ten years. Another person, who agreed to share his experience in the field was Carlos Ivan Vargas Álvarez del Castillo student from Mexico. The main conclusions of their statements concerned the lack of attractive job opportunities after graduation in Poland, as well as the duration of complicated bureaucratic procedures, which students have to face. Bihn also drew attention to the method of evaluation of scientific progress. Comparing the experience of education in Poland and France, he said that education system in Poland is more demanding and challenging, however unfortunately it is very hard to use gained skills and knowledge on the Polish labour market.
The above mentioned new regulations simplifying bureaucratic procedures together with the catalogue of students’ rights and other factors will help to increase the number of foreign students in Poland and in the future strengthen the Polish economy, Polish science, and the competitiveness of Polish universities. At this moment, it is impossible to assess the effectiveness of these solutions, but the tendency of facilitating access to higher education for non-Polish citizens is justified.
The article has been written as part of the project Migration to the Centre supported by the by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union and the International Visegrad Fund.
This article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.