Ukrainians in Poland

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Ukrainian minority in Poland
Kyivan Rus Foundation of St. Volodymyr in Kraków with courtyard patio of a fine dining restaurant
Total population
1,351,418 (2020)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Central: Warsaw; north east: Olsztyn, Elbląg; north west: Słupsk, Koszalin; south west: Legnica and Wrocław; south east: Lublin and Rzeszow
Ukrainian, Polish
Orthodox Christianity, Greek Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Ukrainians in Lithuania

The Ukrainian minority in Poland (Ukrainian: Українці, Ukrayintsi, Polish: Ukraińcy) was composed of approximately 51,000 people (including 11,451 without Polish citizenship[2]), according to the Polish census of 2011. Some 38,000 respondents named Ukrainian as their first identity (28,000 as their sole identity), 13,000 as their second identity, and 21,000 declared Ukrainian identity jointly with Polish nationality.[3] In connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, 2022, as part of the Russian-Ukrainian war, by 22 April, 2022, more than 5.2 million Ukrainian refugees left the territory of Ukraine, moving to the countries closest to the west of Ukraine, of which more than 2.9 million people fled to neighboring Poland.[4]

On 14 September 2018, 33,624 Ukrainian citizens possessed a permanent residence permit, and 132,099 had a temporary residence permit.[5] About 1 to 2 million Ukrainian citizens are working in Poland.[6][7] There are also 40,000 Ukrainian students in Poland.[7]

In the years between 2005 and 2006 the Ukrainian language was taught at 162 schools attended by 2,740 Ukrainian students.[8]

Cultural life[edit]

Speakers of minority languages based on Polish census of 1931
Ukrainian and Ruthenian language in the Second Polish Republic

Main Ukrainian organizations in Poland include: Association of Ukrainians in Poland (Związek Ukraińców w Polsce), Association of Ukrainians of Podlasie (Związek Ukraińców Podlasia), Ukrainian Society of Lublin (Towarzystwo Ukraińskie w Lublinie), Kyivan Rus Foundation of St. Volodymyt, pictured (Fundacja św. Włodzimierza Chrzciciela Rusi Kijowskiej), Association of Ukrainian Women (Związek Ukrainek), Ukrainian Educators' Society of Poland (Ukraińskie Towarzystwo Nauczycielskie w Polsce), Ukrainian Medical Society (Ukraińskie Towarzystwo Lekarskie), Ukrainian Club of Stalinist Political Prisoners (Stowarzyszenie Ukraińców - Więźniów Politycznych Okresu Stalinowskiego), Ukrainian Youth Association "ПЛАСТ" (Organizacja Młodzieży Ukraińskiej "PŁAST"), Ukrainian Historical Society (Ukraińskie Towarzystwo Historyczne), and Association of Independent Ukrainian Youth (Związek Niezależnej Młodzieży Ukraińskiej). The most important periodicals published in Ukrainian language include: Our Voice (Nasze Słowo) weekly, and Над Бугом і Нарвою (Nad Buhom i Narwoju) bimonthly.[8]

The most important Ukrainian festivals and popular cultural events include: Festival of Ukrainian Culture in Sopot ("Festiwal Kultury Ukraińskiej" w Sopocie), Youth Market in Gdańsk ("Młodzieżowy Jarmark" w Gdańsku), Festival of Ukrainian Culture of Podlasie (Festiwal Kultury Ukraińskiej na Podlasiu "Podlaska Jesień"), "Bytowska Watra", "Spotkania Pogranicza" in Głębock,[9] Days of Ukrainian Culture in Szczecin and Giżycko ("Dni Kultury Ukraińskiej"), Children Festival in Elbląg (Dziecięcy Festiwal Kultury w Elblągu), "Na Iwana, na Kupała" in Dubicze Cerkiewne, Festival of Ukrainian Children Groups in Koszalin (Festiwal Ukraińskich Zespołów Dziecięcych w Koszalinie), "Noc na Iwana Kupała" in Kruklanki, Ukrainian Folklor Market in Kętrzyn (Jarmark Folklorystyczny "Z malowanej skrzyni"), Under the Common Skies in Olsztyn ("Pod wspólnym niebem"), and Days of Ukrainian Theatre (Dni teatru ukraińskiego) also in Olsztyn.[8]

History, and trends[edit]

Since World War II[edit]

After the quashing of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army's campaign against Soviet occupation at the end of World War II by the Soviet Union, about 140,000 Ukrainians residing within the new Polish borders were forcibly relocated. Initially they were encouraged to migrate to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, but this was unpopular because of the recent Holodomor. After the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Polish anti-communist resistance movements such as Freedom and Independence began resisting the repatriation of Ukrainians from Poland to the Soviet Union, the Polish People's Republic decided to relocate them internally. The Polish People's Army and Ministry of Public Security forcibly relocated them to northern and western Poland during Operation Vistula, settling them in the former Recovered Territories ceded to Poland at the Tehran Conference of 1943.[10]

The total of 27,172 people declared Ukrainian nationality in the Polish census of 2002. Most of them lived in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship (11,881), followed by West Pomeranian (3,703), Podkarpackie (2,984) and Pomeranian Voivodeship (2,831).[8] Kenan Adam (recognized in Poland as distinct ethnic group) regard themselves as members of the Ukrainian nation, while others distance themselves from Ukrainians.[8]

Economic migration[edit]

Ukrainian Settlement Permits and Temporary Residence Permits since Poland's EU accession[11]
 Permits / Year   2004   2005   2006   2007   2008   2009   Total 
 Permanent Settlement Permits 1,905  1,654  1,438  1,609  1,685  1,280  9,571 
 Temporary Residence Permits 8,518  8,304  7,733  7,381  8,307  8,489  48,736 
 Grand total 58,303 
 Source: EU Membership Highlights Poland's Migration Challenges, Warsaw

Since 1989, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a new wave of Ukrainian immigration, mostly of job seekers, tradesmen, and vendors, concentrated in larger cities with established market. After the Poland's 2004 accession to the European Union, in order to meet the requirements of the Schengen zone (an area of free movement within the European Union), the government was forced to make immigration to Poland more difficult for the people from Belarus, Russia or Ukraine. Nevertheless, Ukrainians consistently receive the most settlement permits and the most temporary residence permits in Poland (see table).[11] As a result of the Eastern Partnership, Poland and Ukraine have reached a new agreement replacing visas with simplified permits for Ukrainians residing within 30 km of the border. Up to 1.5 million people would benefit from this agreement which took effect on July 1, 2009.[12] In 2017 the visa requirements were finally abolished for short stays of up to 90 days.[13]

After 2014, more Ukrainians from eastern Ukraine, more men, and more younger Ukrainians have been working in Poland.[14]

The overwhelming majority of applications for temporary residence are being accepted. Resulting from this, Ukrainians constituted 25% of the entire immigrant population of Poland in 2015.[15]

In January 2016 the Embassy of Ukraine in Warsaw informed that the number of Ukrainian residents in Poland was half a million, and probably around one million in total. Ukrainian Ambassador to Poland, Andrii Deshchytsia, noted that Ukrainian professionals enjoy good reputation in Poland and in spite of their growing numbers Polish-Ukrainian relations remain very good.[16]

According to the NBP, 1.2 million Ukrainian citizens worked legally in Poland in 2016.[17] 1.7 million short-term work registrations were issued to them in 2017 (an eightfold increase compared to 2013).[6] Ukrainian workers stay in Poland on average 3–4 months.[18]

The number of permanent residence permits increased from 5,375 in 2010 to 33,624 (14 September 2018), while the number of temporary residence permits increased from 7,415 to 132,099 over the same time period.[5]

About 102,000 Ukrainian citizens received Karta Polaka,[19] of whom some 15,500 obtained permanent residence permits in the period from 2014 to March 2018.[20]


Following the 2014–15 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, including its illegal annexation of Crimea ("Helsinki Declaration"),[21] the situation changed dramatically. Poland began taking in large numbers of refugees from the Russo-Ukrainian War as part of the EU's refugee program.[22] The policy of strategic partnership between Kyiv and Warsaw was extended to military and technical cooperation,[23][24] but the more immediate task, informed Poland's State secretary Krzysztof Szczerski, was Ukraine's constitutional reform leading to broad decentralization of power.[23] The number of applications for refugee status rose 50 times following the start of War in Donbass in Eastern Ukraine in 2014. However, at the time most applicants were not eligible to claim refugee protection in Poland, because Ukraine as a sovereign country with a democratic government remained fully accountable to its citizens. While the conflict remained frozen until 2022 resident visas in Poland were available in other immigration categories.[15] After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine newly arriving refugees may apply under the standard EU asylum procedure or receive emergency temporary protection.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Populacja cudzoziemców w Polsce w czasie COVID-19".
  2. ^ "Ludność. Stan i struktura demograficzno-społeczna. Narodowy Spis Powszechny Ludności i Mieszkań 2011" (PDF). Warsaw: GUS. 2013: 268. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Przynależność narodowo-etniczna ludności – wyniki spisu ludności i mieszkań 2011. GUS. Materiał na konferencję prasową w dniu 29. 01. 2013. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  4. ^ "Refugees fleeing Ukraine (since 24 February 2022)". UNHCR. 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Maps and statistics of migrants and Polish migration services". Urząd do Spraw Cudzoziemców (The Office for Foreigners). Retrieved 14 September 2018. (daily updated)
  6. ^ a b Shotter, James; Huber, Evon (10 July 2018). "Polish companies target Ukrainian workers as consumers". FINANCIAL TIMES. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b "2 млн украинцев работают в Польше — МИД Польши". (in Ukrainian). 2 December 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e (in Polish) Mniejszości narodowe i etniczne w Polsce on the pages of Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
  9. ^ "Watra - spotkania pogranicza". Miasto I Gmina Pieniężno (in Polish). Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  10. ^ Applebaum, Anne (2012). Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. New York USA: Doubleday. p. 129-132. ISBN 9780385515696.
  11. ^ a b Krystyna Iglicka, Magdalena Ziolek-Skrzypczak, Ludwig Maximilian (University of Munich) (September 2010). "EU Membership Highlights Poland's Migration Challenges". Center for International Relations, Warsaw. Retrieved August 19, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "Sikorski: umowa o małym ruchu granicznym od 1 lipca". Gazeta Wyborcza. 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
  13. ^ "European Commission - Statement".
  14. ^ "A new wave of Ukrainian migration to Poland | | Central European Financial Observer". 19 January 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  15. ^ a b Katarzyna Kunicka (October 19, 2015). "Ukraiński Świat. W Polsce mieszka 400 tys. Ukraińców" [According to Ukraiński Świat (formed in Warsaw during Euromaidan), 400,000 Ukrainians live in Poland]. Greenpoint Media 2015. Archived from the original on October 21, 2015 – via Internet Archive, October 21, 2015. Ukraiński Świat jest ostatnią deską ratunku dla uciekających przed przemocą na Ukrainie do Polski, a także dla tych, którzy po powrocie do domu narażeni są na problemy gospodarcze. Raport, opublikowany 21 lipca przez Urząd do Spraw Cudzoziemców w Polsce pokazuje 50-krotny wzrost ukraińskich wniosków o status uchodźcy. Od 2013 do 2014 roku wnioski o pobyt czasowy wzrosły dwukrotnie, z 13,000 do 29,000. Wskaźnik ten cały czas rośnie: w ciągu pierwszych siedmiu miesięcy 2015 roku wyniósł ponad 32,000.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  16. ^ PAP/Zespół (21 January 2016). "Ambasador Ukrainy: Milion Ukraińców w Polsce to migranci ekonomiczni". Wschodnik : Portal Informacyjny Aktualności z Ukrainy.
  17. ^ "Ukraińcy na dobre rozgościli się na polskim rynku pracy. Zarabiają tyle co Polacy, na Wschód wysyłają miliardy złotych". (in Polish). 8 March 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Ukraińcy spędzają w Polsce średnio 3-4 miesiące". (in Polish). 14 August 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Karta Polaka ma objąć wszystkie osoby polskiego pochodzenia oraz wszystkie środowiska polonijne". (in Polish). Rzeczpospolita. 3 April 2019. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Karta Polaka – rośnie liczba zezwoleń na pobyt stały". (in Polish). UDSC. 10 May 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  21. ^ Rasmussen, Pia. "2015 Annual Session Helsinki". Archived from the original on 2015-07-08. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  22. ^ PAP (28 August 2015). ""We can build European security together"". Office of the President of Poland. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  23. ^ a b Relacja Pawła Buszko z Kijowa (IAR) (4 September 2015). "Prezydent Ukrainy dziękuje Polsce za solidarność i zaprasza Andrzeja Dudę". Polskie Radio. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  24. ^ Ukraine Today (25 July 2015). "Joint Military Brigade: Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania sign framework agreement". Retrieved 6 September 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dyboski, Roman (September 1923). "Poland and the Problem of National Minorities". Journal of the British Institute of International Affairs. 2 (5): 179–200. doi:10.2307/3014543. JSTOR 3014543.
  • Mniejszość ukraińska i migranci z Ukrainy w Polsce, Związek Ukraińców w Polsce, 2019
  • Marcin Deutschmann, Rasizm w Polsce w kontekœcie problemów migracyjnych. Próba diagnozy. STUDIA KRYTYCZNE | NR 4/2017: 71-85 | ISSN 2450-9078
  • Roman Drozd: Droga na zachód. Osadnictwo ludności ukraińskiej na ziemiach zachodnich i północnych Polski w ramach akcji «Wisła». Warszawa: 1997. OCLC 435926521
  • Roman Drozd, Igor Hałagida: Ukraińcy w Polsce 1944–1989. Walka o tożsamość (Dokumenty i materiały). Warszawa: 1999.
  • Roman Drozd, Roman Skeczkowski, Mykoła Zymomrya: Ukraina — Polska. Kultura, wartości, zmagania duchowe. Koszalin: 1999.
  • Roman Drozd: Ukraińcy w najnowszych dziejach Polski (1918–1989). T. I. Słupsk-Warszawa: 2000.
  • Roman Drozd: Polityka władz wobec ludności ukraińskiej w Polsce w latach 1944–1989. T. I. Warszawa: 2001.
  • Roman Drozd: Ukraińcy w najnowszych dziejach Polski (1918–1989). T. II: "Akcja «Wisła». Warszawa: 2005.
  • Roman Drozd: Ukraińcy w najnowszych dziejach Polski (1918–1989). T. III: «Akcja „Wisła“. Słupsk: 2007.
  • Roman Drozd, Bohdan Halczak: Dzieje Ukraińców w Polsce w latach 1921–1989. Warszawa: 2010.
  • Дрозд Р., Гальчак Б. Історія українців у Польщі в 1921–1989 роках / Роман Дрозд, Богдан Гальчак, Ірина Мусієнко; пер. з пол. І. Мусієнко. 3-тє вид., випр., допов. – Харків : Золоті сторінки, 2013. – 272 с.
  • Roman Drozd: Związek Ukraińców w Polsce w dokumentach z lat 1990–2005. Warszawa: 2010.
  • Halczak B. Publicystyka narodowo – demokratyczna wobec problemów narodowościowych i etnicznych II Rzeczypospolitej / Bohdan Halczak. – Zielona Góra : Wydaw. WSP im. Tadeusza Kotarbińskiego, 2000. – 222 s.
  • Halczak B. Problemy tożsamości narodowej Łemków / Bohdan Halczak // in: Łemkowie, Bojkowie, Rusini: historia, współczesność, kultura materialna i duchowa / red. nauk. Stefan Dudra, Bohdan Halczak, Andrzej Ksenicz, Jerzy Starzyński . Legnica – Zielona Góra: Łemkowski Zespół Pieśni i Tańca "Kyczera", 2007 pp. 41–55 .
  • Halczak B. Łemkowskie miejsce we wszechświecie. Refleksje o położeniu Łemków na przełomie XX i XXI wieku / Bohdan Halczak // in: Łemkowie, Bojkowie, Rusini – historia, współczesność, kultura materialna i duchowa / red. nauk. Stefan Dudra, Bohdan Halczak, Roman Drozd, Iryna Betko, Michal Šmigeľ . Tom IV, cz. 1 . – Słupsk - Zielona Góra : [b. w.], 2012 – s. 119–133 .