A recent article in The Times is music to a lot of people’s ears. According to the British government’s register of migrant workers there has been a drop of 18% in the number of migrant workers in the third quarter of 2007 compared to the previous year. Official sources claim that there are more Poles leaving Britain (and returning to Poland) than entering.
According to The Times 468,000 Poles have applied for work permits in the UK between 2004 and 2007. These are of course government figures and do not take into consideration the number of illegal workers in the UK. Estimates put the number of Polish migrants at around 1 million. The Home Office mentions the fact that Polish people have been drawn to the average British monthly wage of almost £2,000 compared to £800 in Poland.
Tide has turned
However, something has changed. Polish people are coming back to Poland after having their fill of the ‘Golden Land’. One of the reasons is the change in attitude in Poland largely due to a change in government with Civic Platform committed to doing everything to ‘bring back’ the emigré Poles. Another reason may be the increasingly powerful zloty. In 2004 £1 was worth 7.23 PLN. It is now worth 4.83 PLN. The knowledge that they are manking less zlotys per pound has also been a major reason for many Polish workers to return home.
What doe this spell for Poland? Well, we’re hardly going to have 1 million UK Poles suddenly flooding the market but a fresh influx of people could pose problems for Donald Tusk’s government. Tusk et al will have to cope with rising unemployment as a large plop of people descend on Poland. Hopefully, it’s not all doom and gloom and the returning people will have a different attitude to work and life and provide fresh cultural and social impetus for Poland. On the other hand, the people who return might be the ones who were unsuccessful in finding jobs, frustrated and disenchanted.
Watch this space…