Half a million Poles 'will stay in Britain despite recession'
At least half a million migrant Poles will stay in the UK, despite reports they are heading home because of the economic downturn, according to a group representing them.
By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 10:50PM GMT 28 Jan 2009
The Federation of Poles in Great Britain also released figures showing the number of Polish children in the school in London has increased by almost half in just a year.
It said recent reports that Polish workers are abandoning the UK are “greatly exaggerated” and that, despite the credit crunch, Polish working families are increasingly seeking to stay and work in the UK.
The Federation said some 200,000 Poles are likely to have left the UK last year but they are predominantly single Poles or childless couples from rural areas.
It estimates some 500,000 Poles “will still remain here and a large proportion of these are families with young children”.
The claims are backed up by research that shows the number of Polish-speaking children in schools in London increased by 43 per cent last year from 7,958 to 11,369.
It predicted the trend will be reflected to a lesser degree in other parts of the UK.
The Daily Telegraph disclosed yesterday how ten primary schools in England now have 100 per cent of pupils who do not have English as their first language.
Professor George Kolankiewicz, managing Director of the Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies, UCL, said: “With the five year permanent residence status now coming closer for the first wave of post 2004 migrants we are seeing labour migration turning into settlement.
“All research indicates that they are not likely to seek UK citizenship in the short term but will make their future here as Polish citizens under the umbrella of EU legislation. They are
But shadow immigration minister, Damian Green, said: “This shows why the Government needs to plan immigration much better than it has done. Schools facing an unexpected increase in the number of children who can't speak English inevitably find teaching effectively incredibly difficult.”