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Polish Workers Returning to the UK

We have noted this trend from a series of local factors such as the delay in getting National Insurance appointments or the slower turnaround in registering new arrivals under the Workers Registration scheme but some hard facts have now been published by Migration Policy Institute.

Despite their country’s relatively strong showing in the recent financial crisis, Polish workers are once again heading to the UK in search of better employment opportunities now the economic situation here is slowly picking up.
At the end of June this year there were around 537,000 Polish nationals residing in Britain, an increase of 53,000 from the end of 2009, according to data released by the Migration Information Source.
From approximately 541,000 at the start of Q2 2009, the Polish population in the UK had shrunk to 484,000 by the end of the year as jobs dried up in the wake of the economic crisis and many Polish workers returned home.
The Polish economy fared better than most in 2009 but  unemployment in Poland remains at over 11% and in some rural regions well over  20%. Much higher than our 8%.
For many Polish workers it is still easier to find work in the UK than it is at home. Moreover, unemployment among Polish nationals in Britain is significantly lower than for native Britons. According to a report by the Migration Policy Institute, only 5% of Polish workers in the UK were without work in 2009. Additionally, wages in the UK are also still much higher than in Poland, although the pound is less strong against the złoty than it was in the early 2000s.

However, the demand for workers in the UK is to fill skill gaps in areas such as Healthcare, where Nurses are at a premium and in trade skills such as welders, bench joiners and fabricators as well as craft skills such as butchers and bakers.

The UK economy will have to improve markedly before demand returns for unskilled labour as occurred in 2005-2007.


Author: Chris Slay

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