13 March 2024

The past year at the Halina Nieć Legal Aid Center was, in many ways, a breakthrough year. Never before have we worked so intensively, provided such a high volume of legal consultations, and assisted such a large number of individuals seeking protection in Poland. Our operations have never been so wide-ranging, with a record number of legal aid points established in major Polish cities, and we've never conducted so many outreach visits and consultations in refugee centers and guarded facilities for foreigners.


Unfortunately, this exceptionally demanding level of activity reflected the ever-growing needs of the affected populations, associated with the influx of individuals fleeing war and persecution to Poland. Poland, like the rest of the EU, experienced record numbers of asylum seekers.


We hope that our support has helped these individuals regulate their legal status and, in the long term, contributed to improving the enforcement of their human rights and facilitating their integration in Poland.




  • We provided legal assistance to a total of 19,119 individuals.
  • This included 18,082 individuals from Ukraine who came to Poland due to the war, and 1,037 individuals from other countries seeking international protection in Poland.
  • We employed a team of 17 lawyers.
  • We operated 11 legal aid points in 6 cities: Krakow, Rybnik, Wroclaw, Poznan, Sopot, and Rzeszow.
  • We provided regular legal consultations at 7 open refugee centers (a total of 27 visits combined with consultations) and 5 guarded facilities (a total of 35 visits combined with consultations).




In 2023, EU countries collectively received over 1.1 million asylum applications, marking a return to the levels of need seen in 2015-2016, a period dubbed the "refugee crisis." Additionally, approximately 4.4 million Ukrainians found refuge in the EU under temporary protection scheme.


According to EU statistics, Syrians continued to be the largest group among nationalities applying for international protection, with a total of 181,000 applications (a 38% increase from 2022). Afghan nationals ranked second, with 114,000 applications, an 11% decrease from 2022.

Significant numbers of applications in the EU also came from citizens of:


  • Turkey (almost 101,000 applications, an 82% increase, with most applications filed in Germany).

  • Venezuela and Colombia (each with over 60,000 applications, a 30% increase, with most applications filed in Spain)

  • Morocco (31,000 applications, mainly filed in Austria)

  • Egypt (27,000 applications, mainly filed in Italy)

  • Guinea and Ivory Coast (each with over 20,000 applications, mainly filed in France).

In Poland in 2023, 9,500 foreigners applied for international protection. The number of applications filed in Poland decreased by 4% compared to 2022. The largest nationality groups were citizens of:


  • Belarus – 3,700 individuals

  • Ukraine – 1,800 individuals

  • Russia – 1,800 individuals

  • Turkey – 300 individuals

  • Egypt – 200 individuals.

Among asylum applicants, 63% were male and 37% female. The predominant age group was 18-34 years old, with children and youth under 18 years old comprising 25%.

The highest number of positive decisions, granting refugee status or subsidiary protection, were issued to citizens of:

  • Belarus – 2,900 individuals

  • Ukraine – 1,100 individuals

  • Russia – 200 individuals.

In total, 4,600 positive decisions were issued in Poland in 2023.


The legal support provided by the Halina Nieć Legal Aid Center is extended to foreigners seeking protection, regardless of their citizenship, nationality, political views, or religion. Our actions were carried out through two parallel legal aid programs:

  1. Legal Aid Program for Foreigners Seeking Protection

Under this program, which has been implemented by the Center for 22 years, we provided free information and legal assistance to foreigners residing in open refugee centers as well as those detained in guarded center for foreigners. Assistance was provided through individual, in-person consultations, as well as via telephone, email, and video consultations. The program covered 7 open centers and 7 closed centers. A significant group of individuals who benefited from our support in this program were those who arrived in Poland through the Belarusian border and often were victims of violence.

  1. Legal Aid Program for Refugees from Ukraine

Under this program, we provided free information and legal assistance tailored to the specific needs of individuals who arrived in Poland from Ukraine due to the war and were granted temporary protection. The program was implemented by a team of Ukrainian and Russian-speaking lawyers operating in 11 legal aid points in 6 cities. Additionally, legal assistance was provided through a special Ukrainian hotline. A special legal support program was implemented for Ukrainian children and individuals with specific needs.


The scope of our activities is best illustrated by statistics:




In 2023, we conducted 35 visits to guarded facilities, where we provided ongoing legal assistance to foreigners seeking advice. Facilities we regularly visited include the Guarded Centers in Krosno Odrzańskie, Lesznowola, Biała Podlaska, Przemyśl, and Kętrzyn.


We conducted 27 missions to open centers for asylum seekers. In the past year, we visited facilities such as the Open Center in Linin, Dębaki, Łuków, Bezwola, Biała Podlaska, Kolonia Horbów, and Grupa pod Grudziądzem.


In response to urgent situations and in order to offer additional communication channels, we were also providing legal assistance via video consultations. In 2023, we organized 10 such online sessions for various centers.


In total, in 2023, we managed to conduct 62 missions! This is our absolute record!




An important indicator of our work is also the number of individuals who benefited from our legal assistance. Center lawyers provided support to 713 individuals residing in detention (guarded) centers for foreigners in 2023.


The number of beneficiaries of our assistance in open centers was 324 individuals.


Overall, in 2023, we supported 1,037 foreigners residing in centers who sought our advice.




In response to the need to expand our activities and improve our reach to individuals in need of legal consultation due to the war in Ukraine, the Center established legal aid points for refugees from Ukraine in various cities across the country.


Currently, our Center operates 11 points where individuals who arrived in Poland from Ukraine due to the war can seek legal assistance.


In 2023, our legal aid points for Ukrainian citizens operated in 6 different cities: Krakow, Poznan, Rybnik, Wroclaw, Sopot, and Rzeszow.


Our team of lawyers providing advice at these points consists of 9 persons. All employed individuals are Ukrainian lawyers, some of whom arrived in Poland in recent months with the influx of refugees. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with them. Employing Ukrainian lawyers also allows us to better understand the needs of our Ukrainian beneficiaries and tailor our actions accordingly.


In 2023, we managed to provide 15,678 legal consultations to individuals from Ukraine!




While providing legal assistance, Center lawyers pay attention to individuals with special needs, including minors (including unaccompanied minors), elderly persons, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, single mothers, large families, and victims of violence.

To better assist such individuals and provide them with comprehensive support, the HNLAC team has created its own Standard Operating Procedures and internal guidelines for identifying individuals with special needs and assessing their needs, followed by procedures for handling such cases to ensure the best possible support. Additionally, Center lawyers have developed a special system for referring cases to appropriate organizations and support institutions that provide assistance beyond the scope of the Center, aiming to improve cooperation among various support entities.




In response to the high demand for quick legal consultations regarding Ukrainian matters, the Center established a special, separate hotline dedicated to issues related to the stay of refugees from Ukraine in Poland.


The hotline operator (our number is 725 449 374). In 2023, the hotline provided a total of 2,042 consultations!


We also have a second hotline dedicated strictly to issues of assistance for unaccompanied minors from Ukraine residing in Krakow and its vicinity (phone number: 725 449 356). In 2023, we were able to provide support in 362 cases in this way!




In 2023, our activities were carried out as a partner organization of UNHCR, actively cooperating with UNHCR within the Protection Sector, coordinating assistance for refugees from Ukraine in Poland. The vast majority of our operational budget comes from UNHCR funds.


We also conducted a project focusing on individuals with special needs in partnership with IRC, as well as activities funded by the Norwegian Funds and Sigrid Rausing Trust.




We already know that 2024 will be a pivotal year for us. Another year of war has begun in Ukraine, with nearly a million people from that country registered in Poland, benefiting from temporary protection. Numerous groups of foreigners continue to arrive through the Polish-Belarusian border, the number of asylum applications remains high, with a still very high proportion of individuals being detained and a low recognition rate.


We are intensively developing and training our legal team, expanding our modes of operation, striving for maximum effectiveness, and also expanding our advocacy and research activities. Our goal is to ensure that our assistance brings about real change in the lives of our beneficiaries.


At the same time, this year we are facing a significant decrease in financial support from the UN and large international organizations for assistance in our region. Therefore, in the face of the still-growing demand for our legal aid, we must intensively seek financial resources for its implementation.


For this reason, we greatly rely on the support of our Friends and Supporters. You can show your support in several ways:


1. Please allocate 1.5% of your tax to us during your annual PIT settlement. Simply enter the name of our organization: Halina Nieć Legal Aid Center and the KRS number: 0000113676.


2. Please join our Patrons on Patronite: https://patronite.pl/CPPHN. Even a small but regular contribution will greatly improve our financial security.

3. We encourage you to donate any amount to our fundraiser: https://zrzutka.pl/6vh67e


Thank you for your interest in our activities, and we count on your continued support!




Summary of 2023 at the Halina Nieć Legal Aid Center

  1. pl
  2. en
  3. ru
  4. uk

Twoje wsparcie pozwoli nam kontynuować
bezpłatną pomoc prawną dla uchodźców w Polsce!

KRS: 0000113676

Nr konta: 65 1160 2202 0000 0000 4950 8531