Mass exodus predicted as 400,000 Polish workers face losing their jobs
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:29 PM on 23rd October 2008
Up to 400,000 Polish workers in Britain and Ireland are set to lose their jobs next year in the wake of the financial crisis.
Polish government advisers say around a third of the 1.2 million Poles currently in the country will either return home, where job prospects are better, or move to another country to look for employment.
The anticipated mass exodus comes as the Polish currency – the zloty – continues to rise against the pound.
Its banks are in good shape due to their stricter investment rules and the continued growth of the zloty means Poles are now able to earn almost as much in their country as they can in Britain.
Prospects: Skilled Polish workers could soon be heading home
The number of Poles registered to work in Britain has fallen by 50,000 in three months, according to official figures and with the Prime Minister recently admitting the severity of the economic downturn, the future looks bleak for foreign workers.
Earlier this week, Immigration minister Phil Woolas suggested double that figure had gone home disillusioned in recent months.
Robert Szaniawski, press attache at the Polish Embassy in London, said that economic migrants were dwindling.
'The Polish economy is growing because the credit crunch didn't ravage the Polish banking system', he said.
'Our regulations don't allow banks to involve people's money in such risky operations as banks in western Europe.
'There is a shortage of jobs in Britain but in Poland job prospects are better than two or three years ago.'
A study from The National Institute of Economic and Social Research in August estimated that Polish workers have contributed in total 12billion to the UK economy.
However, the financial meltdown has wiped out many of the well-paid jobs that they came here to find. The number applying to work in Britain has also fallen.
There are believed to be about 150,000 Poles in London alone. Many arrived after EU expansion in 2004 but some families have been in the capital since the First and Second World Wars.
Polish airmen joined the RAF and fought in the Battle of Britain. West London – especially Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham – have large populations.