Britain Could See Second Wave Of Polish Immigration

Britain could see second wave of Polish immigration

Britain could be about to see a second wave of Polish workers arriving in the country owing to the tough economic climate in Eastern Europe.

By Matthew Day in Warsaw
Published: 6:05PM BST 17 Jun 2010

Thousands of Polish immigrants returned home as the financial crisis hit Photo: PA

Thousands returned to Poland as the financial crisis hit and it became harder to find employment in the UK.

But a study suggests they found the situation to be far worse in their homeland and around a third could be about to travel for a second time.

One in three of those interviewed by the Polish research company ISQ said that they wanted to work abroad again.

Dr Dorota Wiszejko-Wierzbicka, the author of the study, said the relative wealth and the hard economic climate in Poland lay behind the desire to migrate.

“They know that not only is there better pay abroad but there are also more jobs,” she said.

“In Poland barely a third of the returnees surveyed by us have a steady job, and many complain of a hostile Polish labour market. No wonder then that one-third want to leave again.”

Poland weathered the global recession with reasonable success and was the only EU country to record economic growth last year.

But it is still plagued by an unemployment rate of 12.3 per cent, and this figure can rise to more than 20 per cent in the small towns and rural areas that are home to many of those contemplating packing their bags for a second time.

The results of the ISQ study are supported by similar research carried out in south-western Poland that found that large numbers or returnees had little desire to remain in the country.

Bartosz Trzaskalski, from the Centre for Strategic Consulting and author of the study, said: “With us we found that up to half of the returnees announced that once again they will be leaving for a job abroad within the next two years.”

But the news that Poles coming home after working abroad have trouble finding jobs and settling down will also renew fears in Poland of what demographers and economists have dubbed the “lost generation”.

Having spent many years working in menial jobs in the UK, and now with no skills suitable for the Polish market economists fear that they will become a burden on the Polish state.

Britain absorbed the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of Poles who left Poland after EU accession in May 2004.


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