Illegal migration rose sharply in Poland last year

Illegal migration on the Polish-Belarusian border saw a sharp rise last year. Along with an increase in the volume of border violation attempts, the number of migrants in reception centres and those charged with people smuggling also grew, the Polish border guard spokesperson reported on Monday.

English NAGYVILÁG 2022. JANUÁR 4. 10:49

In a press briefing held on the subject, border guard spokesperson Anna Michalska summarised the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border, where migratory pressures increased in the second half of last year.

There were 39,714 attempted border violations at this border section in 2021, compared to 88 cases a year earlier. Polish border guards detained 2,800 migrants who entered the country, compared with 122 arrests on the Belarusian section of the border the previous year, Ms Michalska reported.

A total of 44 border crossing attempts were detected in the first two days of this year. The migrants acted aggressively again and were also supported by Belarusian officers, the spokesperson said, noting that Belarusian law enforcement forces are “maintaining a level of tension so we do not think even for a minute that the situation has calmed down.”

Last year, 426 people were suspected of human smuggling, an increase from the 31 cases registered in 2020.

The situation at the border has also had an impact on migrant centres, where the number of places had to be increased from 500 to 2,500 over the course of the year. According to Ms Michalska, the Polish Border Guard is also ready to further augment capacity.

The number of applicants for international protection tripled last year, from 2,600 to almost 8,000, the spokesperson said. This figure, compared with Polish statistics on aliens, presumably refers not only to migrants arriving via Belarus but to all applications submitted in Poland.

Ms Michalska described the construction of the border fence as the biggest logistical challenge facing the Polish Border Guard in the last 30 years. The 5.5-metre high steel wall, which will be built along 187 kilometres of the Polish-Belarusian border and equipped with motion sensors and cameras, is scheduled to be completed by the middle of the year.

The migration pressure, which peaked in October so far, has led to a ban on access to the area bordering Belarus until the beginning of March. In addition to residents and certain other exceptions, the ban does not apply to journalists possessing permits by the border authority.



border protect, illegal migration, poland