PM on repatriation bill: 'This is your ticket to Poland'
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło has encouraged descendants of Poles deported by the Soviet Union to return to Poland, with a repatriation bill expected to be passed later this year.
In 1936 the Soviet authorities decided to deport 70,000 Poles from their western territories to Kazakhstan, with a further wave of Poles being deported following Soviet annexation of eastern Poland in 1939.
A draft repatriation bill was accepted by the government last week, although it must still be passed by both houses of parliament before it comes into effect.
Speaking to a group of repatriates from Kazakhstan, Szydło said: “This bill is for you, this is your ticket to Poland … You will be able to live in your own flats, in your own houses, to build your lives here in Poland.”
Szydło also told the repatriates: “I truly believe that you will have a good life here, that you will truly feel at home here, because this is your home, your fatherland.”
The bill is aimed at helping those deported by Soviet authorities, or their descendants, settle in Poland. It will apply to those living in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan or the Asian parts of the Russian Federation.
The bill foresees measures to assist returning Poles including changes to visas, Polish language and history courses, labour market training and financial help.
Although legislation on repatriation was passed in 2000, critics said this was ineffective, with 5,000 people repatriated to Poland between January 2001 and the end of December 2014. (sl/rg)