Poland is experiencing demographic problems similar to those observed in other parts of the European continent. The most recent data is alarming – according to CIA's World Fact Book there were only slightly above 9 new births for each 1,000 Polish citizens in 2015. This puts the country in a difficult demographic situation and calls for new measures to reverse current tendencies.
Polish government, elected last autumn, has introduced their plan to stop the approaching demographic crisis. The Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice) party believes that increasing financial support for families with young children may be the solution to the problem. Their plan is called Rodzina 500 plus (Family 500 plus) and indicates that families with young children may expect to receive PLN 500 per month for each child. There are however some conditions that need to be fulfilled.
The programme is established first and foremost to provide for large and struggling families with children who are under 18 years old. Therefore, the benefit will not be given to parents with only one child (unless the child is disabled or the family’s income is very low). A controversy was caused when it was revealed that large families which do not struggle financially can also apply for the benefit.
Another interesting aspect of the project is the inclusion of foreign citizens who live and work in Poland. Those whose stay is legally confirmed and who have children also living in the country, may easily apply for the benefit on the same conditions that apply to Polish families. The benefit will not be granted to a family which is already supported by an allowance system of another EU country. This condition applies also to Polish families living abroad and receiving financial support from a different country’s government.
When it comes to non-EU citizens, they again may apply for the benefit as long as they fulfil all the standard conditions and are staying with their children in Poland pursuant to a temporary or permanent residence card, and hold a valid work permit or the EU Blue Card.
The new law is set to come into force April 1st this year. Parents can already start filling in application forms (download here) either via the Internet or in a relevant municipal office. Do you think the programme is the solution to demographic problems experienced by Poland?