Prime Minister of Poland Ewa Kopacz has revealed plans for a repatriation programme chiefly focused on ethnic Poles in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
Kopacz told national broadcaster TVP that PLN 30 million would be allocated for the programme, but she stressed that a law needs to be passed before the initiative can go ahead.
She said that the lack of one to date hinged on the problem that money had not been found for the local governments that would take on the immigrants.
“I would like this programme to be implemented over the coming years,” Kopacz said
With a general election due on 25 October, she insisted that a bill would be put forward before the end of this parliamentary term.
Minister of Administration and Digitization Andrzej Halicki told Polish Radio that “the program will mainly concern our compatriots in Kazakhstan and Ukraine.”
He said that it is “not an easy process but necessary,” adding that many potential candidates for repatriation have lost contact with the Polish language, and that they would need help finding work.
In January 2015, 178 ethnic Poles were evacuated from eastern Ukraine, as armed conflict raged in the region.
Several hundred thousand ethnic Poles living in the USSR, mostly in areas bordering on Poland in Soviet Ukraine, were deported to Kazakhstan in the 1930s, under Stalin's regime. Later, during the Second World War, thousands who had lived in Poland's pre-war eastern provinces grabbed by Stalin in 1939 experienced a similar fate. Most of the latter did not remain in Kazakhstan following the war, but those from the pre-war waves od deportations were hindered by a lack of a law on the matter.