INFOLINK for Foreigners
Posted: |
Updated: |
Hijran Aliyeva-Sztrauch

Journalist, graduate of the Faculty of Cultural Studies at the University of Warsaw, a PhD in Sociology and Psychology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, the founder of the Azerbaijan Culture and Information Centre in Poland (2001) and President of the Common House of Caucasus in Poland. "Nothing is impossible in this world!  Understanding between the nations of the Caucasus is a necessity for all the citizens of the region. The Common House of Caucasus is the forgotten past, peaceful future and laborious present. It is worth your devotion!" 

Dear readers! I would like to address the people who have been considering the idea of setting up an organisation. I would like to share my experience with you.

I have been leading a life among quite interesting people. My studies at the University of Warsaw and the Graduate School for Social Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences have taught me to express my ideas openly and loudly, carry out bold projects and listen carefully to advice offered by experienced people.

I came to Poland in 2001.  My shock knew no bounds. Everything was new to me: living independently from my parents, a wide assortment of products in shops, European architecture and… the Polish language, which I have learnt quite quickly.  During the course of the first 2 years, I tried to be in diverse company as often as possible. I was friends with Belorussians, Ukrainians, a girl from the Czech Republic and a boy from Hungary. I tried to get to know their culture, customs and language. We threw parties together and carried out various projects. Having completed my studies at the University of Warsaw, I started to travel to other EU member countries and the countries of the Caucasus. I took part in international conferences, which gave my plenty of opportunity not only to listen to other people’s  lectures but also to express my personal opinion. Bless God that I have no fear of public performances. Seven years in Azerbaijani television taught me to how to be confident in front of the camera and a large  audience.

Going back to the subject, I would like to note that it was during those travels that the idea started to emerge to set up the organization „The Common House of Caucasus in Poland,” the aim of which is to promote peace and welfare in this tiny area of the world. I shared my idea with Professor Stanisław Zapaśniki, who supported it and agreed to become one of the founders of our association. In order to set up an organisation of this kind (there are also other forms of self-organisation, for example a foundation ), 15 people should declare their will to set up an organization . What are the benefits?

First of all, out activity becomes legitimate and gains authority!

“From an empirical point of view, legitimation is a process whereby a given society considers an institution legitimate. Consequently, the institution inspires real obedience (i.e. the law is observed, no one challenges the power of the authorities)"(1).

There are several forms of self-organisation: citizens’ initiatives, non-governmental organisations, social movements and the voluntary sector (2). „Social self-organisation is a process where a local society organises itself on its own in order to resolve certain problems and satisfy its needs. The essence of self-organisation is a grassroot movement which acts for common  good” (3).

Every non-governmental organisation has by-laws which define its goals and scope of activity. “Good by-laws should contain provisions that will enable the association to operate efficiently. The by-laws of an organisation should be drawn up in accordance with the binding law. Otherwise, there may arise problems with the day-to-day running of the organisation”(4).

I remember the time when I started to collect the documents necessary to register our association in the National Court Register. At first glance, this seems to be a difficult and complex procedure. I decided to take advice of a professional lawyer. How much did I have to pay? Nothing! I turned to NGO.pl , where I found legal aid.  

Look for lawyers who could help you to collect necessary documents for free!

Preparing a portfolio of documents in a proper way, you will avoid problems with  the registration of the organization in the National Court Register. It’s important!

Remember that your organization starts to exist officially on the date of its foundation and not registration! The will of the founders is binding in this respect.

Setting up an association, one should bear in mind that all changes in the identity documents (or the temporary residence cards) of the founders of the organisation should be reported to the National Court Register. Consequently, if foreigners want to set up an association, they should ask Poles to be founders.

There are currently 72 associations registered in Poland (5). Associations are said to be going through a crisis. In my opinion, one of the reasons is a lack of time to implement projects that satisfy our spiritual needs. After all, we won’t always receive financial awards for realizing our own passions. We often work for free. In my opinion a person who decides to set up an association should possess the following skills and do the following things:

1. Ability to lead an association;
2. Creativity that can infect other people;
3. True faith in what you do;
4. Patience and step-by-step course of action;
5. Carrying out specific projects;
6. Integration with other associations with similar goals;
7. Creating a website or a Facebook profile page;
8. Exchange of information concerning the association with other organisations;
9. Drawing up a mailing list of people who support your goals;
10. Applying for European funds – the EU launches thousands of contests every year.

If you want to mark your presence on the so-called market of organisations, you should remember not to repeat the ideas of other associations. Otherwise, you will be neither successful nor satisfied. The point is to create something uncommon, to initiate a collective action that will interest Polish and international society.

Interestingly, "the task of “building a civil society” after 1989 was entrusted to people and organizations that together make up the so-called voluntary sector. NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were supposed to set the example on how to develop democratic procedures, activate society and build ties of trust"(6). It seems that the leaders of the ex-USSR countries who have come to Poland should use their skills to create an organization in this country in order to draw on this experience and build a civil society in their countries. Remember that “a civil society can operate independently from the state institutions. Independence does not necessarily imply competition between society and the government, a situation that usually exists in the countries where the political system is contrary to the will of the majority of the citizens. The essential feature of a civil society is its members’ awareness of the needs of the community and struggle to satisfy them, in other words concern for the social problems and
a sense of responsibility for its good” (7). 

Our association „The Common House of Caucasus in Poland” is currently carrying out its most important project, namely the publication of “Nowy Prometeusz” (Eng: New Prometheus), a new international scholarly magazine. Our organisation has followers not only in Poland but also in the countries of the South Caucasus and West Europe. We hope that in the future we will be able to implement more projects to achieve the statutory goals of our association.
Translation:  Anna Orzechowska



1)    See: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitymizacja
2)    See: http://mfiles.pl/pl/index.php/Samoorganizacja
3)    A. Hejda, B. Kozłowska, Przestrzeń dla mieszkańców z inicjatywą, Warszawa 2010, s. 10
4)    See: http://poradnik.ngo.pl/x/370401
5)    See: http://osektorze.ngo.pl/wiadomosc/990349.html
6)    Pora na zmiany, czyli – Samoorganizujące się społeczeństwo, http://iluminaci.com/ads/pora-na-zmiany-czyli-samoorganizujace-sie-spoleczenstwo/
7)    see: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:vtWR6WTExlYJ:pu.i.wp.pl/k,NDYzNDcxMTUsNzA3ODA0,f,2.Spoleczenstwo_obywatelskie.doc+&cd=8&hl=pl&ct=clnk&gl=pl

Translation: Anna Orzechowska

Good to Read more articles > Hijran Aliyeva-Sztrauch

The First Steps of an Emigrant in Poland

Dear Readers! I would like to address people who consider leaving their own country and moving to Poland. Here is some advice for future emigrants:

1) Most of all, before leaving, one should visit some websites, on which emigrants write about their “new life.” It will help set priorities and manage financial resources. Make good use of the time spent on planning your future abroad and remember about the fast integration with Polish society.


Read more >

The migration policy of Poland and the European Union

Dear readers! I would like to address those who are interested in the information on the migration policy of Poland and the whole European Union. We should remember that Poland closely cooperates with the offices of that European organisation in this regard. At first, I would like to remind some key terms, among which the most important seem: emigration, immigration, migration, remigration, repatriation and deportation.

  • Emigration, in short, "means a group of people who left their native country and now live in another one” (1).
  • Immigration is “group of people who come to a country and settle there as permanent residents” (1).
  • Migration describes the state when people who move from one place to another in a country, an area or in the world.
  • Remigration means a group of people who return to their native country after emigration.
  • Repatriation also means the return to the native country, but it is caused by some particular reasons. More information can be found on the website of the Polish Ministry of the Interior. (2).
  • Deportation means the forced resettlement, the expulsion of a person or a group of people as a penalty for their deeds (3), e.g. deportation of Poles to the USSR (1940-1941). More information can be found on the website about the history of Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe. (4).

Each European Union country has its own statistical system of migration. “According to the Polish regulations, every person intending to live permanently in Poland, is obliged to report their permanent residence in a municipal (Polish: gmina). Similarly, every person who leaves Poland permanently should de-register their permanent residence in Poland.The information about registration and de-registration is put in the Personal Identification Number system (PESEL), which is administered by the Ministry of the Interior. The statisticsreceive data on the international migration quarterly from the system” (5).More information can be found on the website of the Polish Central Statistical Office (GłównyUrządStatystyczny).

I would like to present some numbers concerning the legalisation of the foreigners’ residence in Poland. According to the Office for Foreigners:

  • in 2013, 35.000 applications for the residence permit for a fixed period were accepted ...,
  • in cases of the permit to settle (4.500 applications in total), the number of applications due to a marriage to a Polish citizen increased,
  • the number of the applications for a long-term resident-EU permit increased (over 2.000 applications),
  • 3.000 visas were issued (renewed) on Polish territory,
  • about 80.000 invitations were issued,
  • 9.000 citizens of the EU countries applied for the residence registration in Poland,
  • the expulsion decisions against 1.000 foreigners were issued …,6.500 foreigners were obliged to leave the territory of the Republic of Poland,
  • 34.000 people were refused entry to the country by the heads of border authorities.

More information can be found on the website of the European Migration Network (6).

Economic, political, social, educational, ethnic, religious, medical, family or other issues are the main reasons of emigration. The process of migrations in the EU is not easy to control, since some immigrants come here illegally, and they do not have the registration or Personal Identification Number. The management of the process is crucial. “Indeed, the existence of irregular immigration and the perceived failure of migrants to integrate successfully – especially in some European countries – have helped drive a trend in many OECD countries in recent years to make traditional migration more difficult, especially in family migration. There is also a new emphasis on encouraging immigrants to play a bigger role in managing their own integration. Language courses are becoming widespread, as are information programmes that provide practical advice and describe the country’s administrative systems and the formalities to be fulfilled” (7). It is a common knowledge that an immigrant faces many problems at the beginning of their visit to another country. That is why they sometimes do not hold to the formal regulations of the residence. But we have to understand that when one resides on the territory of another country, e.g. Poland, and does not provide complete information about oneself, one infringes not only Polish legal order, but also the legal order of the whole European region.

The information about the process of migration in the EU is collected by the Eurostat – the European statistical office. It “compiles the statistics concerning many issues connected to the international migration flows, the size of the population of the foreigners and acquiring citizenship. The data is collected on the annual basis. They are provided to the Eurostat by the statistics offices of the EU member countries” (8). Interestingly, that European statistical office encounters problems concerning measuring the emigration: “it is more difficult to count people leaving a country than those entering it. The analysis including the comparison of the emigration and immigration data from the EU countries in 2008 (mirror statistics) confirms that it applies to many countries” (9). Let us also remember that a non-citizen of the EU who enters any EU country, enters also the Schengen area – an area with free movement of persons, without border checkpoints. The whole area uses one Schengen Operation System that is a self-contained database. It allows for controlling the information of the people who enter or leave the area, to which 26 countries belong. These are Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Greece, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden. It should be noted that only Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are not members of the European Union.

Poland joined the Schengen area on the 21st of December 2007. According to the Office for Foreigners, it resulted in “a substantial increase in the number of lodged applications for the refugee status in 2007 in Poland. 4563 such applications were accepted in 2007. 10.048 people applied for the refugee status. In comparison to 2006, there was an increase in the number of lodged applications by about 45% and an increase in the number of people applying for the refugee status by about 41%” (8). No wonder that Poland has to control every citizen of the Third World country who enters the Schengen area by crossing the Polish border.

“In order to find the solution for the immigration problems and seize the opportunities, the countries of the European Union have to cooperate with one another and with the immigrants’ countries. Therefore, the European Union has adopted a consistent policy on migration, setting clear and fair rules of the legal migration, preventing illegal migration and promoting integration” (10).

Poland has also another task: by protecting its borders it is responsible for the borders of the whole Schengen area. Therefore relevant structures of Poland increase their cooperation with the eastern neighbours. A number of projects concerning internal affairs have been realised in recent years together with the Ukrainian partner. A big number of people crossing the border and the length of the border line (535 km), which is also the external border of the Schengen area, determine the fact that it is essential for Polish interests to support the activities of the Ukrainian authorities in terms of the internal affairs” (10).

It is estimated that 200 million of people settled outside their country. It constitutes about 3% of the world’s population. Together with the development of communication and technology the process of migration will gradually increase. The economic and political instability in some areas of the world will contribute to the development of this process. On the other hand, many countries improve their systems of managing the process of migration, of the transfer and the protection of information. The international security cooperation becomes more and more globalised.




1) M. Tytuła, M. Łosiak,Polski bez błędów. Poradnik językowy dla każdego

2) MinisterstwoSprawWewnętrznych RP

3) ekstradycja.eu

4) Internetowy serwis historyczny dotyczący historii Polski, Rosjii Europie Wschodniej

5) System badań migracji zagranicznych w Polsce

6) Migracja do Polski w 2013 r. w liczbach, Europejska Sieć Migracyjna

7) B. Keeley, International Migration: The human face of globalization

8) The statistics concerning migration and the population of migrants

9) europa.eu

10) Polskie doświadczenie transformacyjne w programie polskiej pomocy, MSZ RP, Departament Współpracy Rozwojowej, Warszawa 2013, s.13.


By Dr HijranAliyeva-Sztrauch

Translation: Alicja Kosim



Read more >

Pros and cons of emigration

Dear readers, in this article I would like to share my views on pros and cons of emigration to Poland.

There are two sides to every coin, and similarly, it is possible to find both positive and negative aspects of every new situation. Where should I start? It may sound banal but we should remember that we live in the era of globalization: the world is shrinking, the boundaries disappear and electronic networks allow people from different continents to communicate.

The decision about emigration is usually well thought over. However, according to the proverb “Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched,” obtaining a visa, getting on a plane and believing in a miracle are not enough. The problems arise after many years.


Read more >

Mummy, there is no place for me in the kindergarten!

Dear Mummies! I would like to give you some advice about how to secure a place for your children in a kindergarten or crèche. This applies in particular to female immigrants who have decided to spend their life in Poland.

I am from Azerbaijan. My husband, and the father of our 3-year-old Patrycja-Aisha, is a Pole. I was excited when my daughter was born because I had defended my PhD thesis just then. I was thinking of pursuing an academic career and developing the international scholarly magazine “New Prometheus,” the editor-in-chief of which I am now.

We came up against troubles when we started to search for a public crèche for Patrycja because we could not afford a private one. We live in Warsaw. We had believed we would find a place in a municipal unit in the capital city quite quickly. Quite the contrary. Due to a lack of places in the crèche, I had to suspend my academic career and devote all 3 years completely to my daughter. Of course, this was wonderful! Thanks to me little Patrycja knows almost all the letters, can count to twenty, knows some basic social rules, can use a computer and recite poems in three languages (by the way, I write poems and fairy tales for my daughter by myself). Still, I felt as if someone had deprived me of a chance to pursue a career, and Patricia of a possibility to learn Polish well.


Read more >


Video from the IV Forum on Local Migration Policies in Wrocław
Film Zobacz-Zrozum-Zareaguj (3Z)


Projekt ‘MIEJSKI SYSTEM INFORMACYJNY I AKTYWIZACYJNY DLA MIGRANTÓW’ jest współfinansowany z Programu Krajowego Funduszu Azylu, Migracji i Integracji oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW realizowany był w ramach programu Obywatele dla Demokracji, finansowanego z Funduszy EOG.

Projekt LOKALNE POLITYKI MIGRACYJNE - MIĘDZYNARODOWA WYMIANA DOŚWIADCZEŃ W ZARZĄDZANIU MIGRACJAMI W MIASTACH był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

Projekt ‘WARSZAWSKIE CENTRUM WIELOKULTUROWE’ był współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach Europejskiego Funduszu na rzecz Integracji Obywateli Państw Trzecich oraz budżetu państwa. Wyłączna odpowiedzialność spoczywa na autorze. Komisja Europejska nie ponosi odpowiedzialności za sposób wykorzystania udostępnionych informacji.

LOKALNE MIĘDZYSEKTOROWE POLITYKI NA RZECZ INTEGRACJI IMIGRANTÓW Projekt realizowany był przy wsparciu Szwajcarii w ramach szwajcarskiego programu współpracy z nowymi krajami członkowskimi Unii Europejskiej.