The Silesian Voivodeship is one of the most popular regions for temporary residence of foreigners. According to Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) statistics, an estimated 210,000 -250,000 foreigners live in the voivodeship. Researchers believe however that in fact the number may be four times as high. The inflow of immigrants and the limited support available exacerbates the problem of integrating them. The major issues include not knowing Polish law and administrative procedure, and the language and cultural barrier. The negligible forms of free, public support make the situation for arrivals difficult on the Polish market.
The project aims to improve the situation of foreigners in the Silesian Voivodeship and assist them in acclimatizing to the job market.
To address the existing problems and needs, we will open Foreigner Support Centers (Ośrodek Wsparcia Cudzoziemców) in eight cities (Katowice, Gliwice, Zawiercie, Ruda Śl., Zabrze, Piekary Śl., Tarnowskie Góry, and Toszek). The Centers’ activities will include assistance provided by a lawyer, psychologist, advisor, and interpreter, who will guarantee help to legalize residence and improve the legal and labor situation. A free helpline will also be set up to provide immediate help. In the project, we will conduct training on workers’ rights for 120 foreigners. Training will also be given to 40 volunteers selected from foreign students, to assist participants in dealing with basic matters. We will also provide training for 32 self-advocates to conduct community activities to defend rights and interests of vulnerable persons.
Support will be given to approximately 500 foreigners who reside in Poland for no more than three years and do not earn above the national median.
The project will improve their situation due to greater financial and social independence and due to gaining skills enabling them to effectively negotiate the Polish job market.