There was a bit of a shake out in the market in late 2009 with many Polish workers who had lost their jobs in the recession deciding to return home. The poor weather in January and February together with a challenging economic climate meant that the flow was a trickle.
However, there are now signs that Eastern European workers are returning in numbers. This comes as a surprise to some commentators but is easily explained by harsh economic conditions in Poland where unemployment varies from 3/4% in Warsaw and other major cities to 25-30% in more rural areas especially the north and without the ongoing comfort of feather bedding by the Polish government.
This is best illustrated (before the volcanic ash problems) by the following characteristics
Flights fully booked from Poland to the UK
The Worker Registration Centres taking 4-6 weeks to turn round application, it was 7-10 days
The wait to get a National Insurance appointment has moved out in some areas of the country.
So what are all these Polish Workers doing?
“In the main is it the jobs that Brits don’t want to do” said Chris Slay of Skills Provision “The agricultural sector is waking up and seasonal hospitality enquiries are rising and this will be a contributing factor but many processing companies within the food sector couldn’t exist without immigrant workers”
So in a word, yes – Polish workers are still keen to come to the UK
Author – Peter Arkwright
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