2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes
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European Solidarity Corps (Europejski Korpus Solidarności) is a programme co-ordinated in Poland by the Foundation for the Development of the Education System, the National Agency for the Erasmus+ Programme. FRSE is also responsible for monitoring the course and outcomes of the programme and disseminating the results of research and analysis. Erasmus+: Youth is aimed at young people, people working with them, and organisations that work for the youth, as well as institutions that have an impact on the development of non-formal education.
Those interested in participating in the European Solidarity Corpsmust register in the volunteer work database, and then find a project they are interested in.
Any person aged 18 to 30 legally residing in Poland may travel abroad as part of the European Solidarity Corps.
Information materials on international volunteering programmes do not provide data on the extent of the involvement of the Polish state in its funding. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs finances the “Polish Aid Volunteering” programme, which involves Polish organisations sending volunteers to work under projects and with partner organisations in the countries where those projects are being implemented. The programme has been implemented since 2008 and its aim is to support the direct involvement of Polish citizens in assisting the inhabitants of developing countries and dissemination of knowledge about the problems of those countries in the Polish society.
Other major international volunteering programmes include:
- work camps of the Association for the Promotion of Volunteering (Stowarzyszenie Promocji Wolontariatu);
- work camps, European volunteering and long-term volunteering projects of the One World Association;
- Global Volunteer projects of the AIESEC Poland Association;
- the “Don Bosco International Voluntary Service” (Międzynarodowy Wolontariat Don Bosco) and “Youth for the World” (Młodzi Światu) projects of the Salesians Missionary Volunteer Work;
- international volunteering within the framework of humanitarian aid and the development assistance projects of the “Polish Centre for International Aid” Foundation.
Since volunteering is a service equivalent to work (but not work as such), a foreigner is not required to obtain a permit to provide voluntary services. The rules that apply to foreigners are the same as for volunteers who are Polish citizens. If a foreign national is entering into a co-operation agreement for a beneficiary in the Republic of Poland and the volunteering agreement is for a period longer than 30 days, then personal accident insurance must be taken out for such a volunteer. In addition, as part of the co-ordination of social security systems in the European Union, citizens of the EU Member States benefit from the protection granted to them under European legislation. On the other hand, liability insurance is available in cases defined in specific regulations, i.e. where volunteers provide services in care institutions, and in other cases the beneficiary may take it out at its own discretion. Thewebsite of the Office for Foreigners contains information on volunteer work in refugee centers. This work would include helping foreigners with office matters, taking them to doctors, teaching them Polish, helping their children, and assisting in other quotidian matters.
Foreign volunteers from EU countries do not require a visa to carry out a volunteering service in Poland. They need to register their stay longer than 90 days in the Voievodship Office (Urząd Wojewódzki). The information on visa requirements for non-EU nationals is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.