Oh dear, it’s all doom and gloom in the papers this weekend. First it’s The Economist, which writes about the declining numbers of Poles coming to work and live in the UK. In short:
- the job market in the UK which sucked all the Polish workers in is beginning to tire;
- Poland’s economy is growing while UK’s is stagnating to say the least, and the pound buys you fewer zlotys than even a year ago;
- fewer people have registered for work and about a half of those who’ve come here in recent years have gone back home (although the figures and those relating to the overall number of Poles in the UK as as reliable as the British weather)
Then the magazine moves on to describing the positive things about the recent wave of migration from Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries.
Two issues stand out: first, the recent wave of migration, as the paper puts it,
“has gone some way to decoupling the issue of immigration from that of race”.
In other words, the issue of race has been replaced by the issue of economy.
Secondly, the availability of various low-cost airlines has made it much easier for many ‘migrants’ to travel home and back. Which also means, they can be much more responsive to the changing economic situation and, rather than signing up for state benefits if and when the unemployment rate goes up, most migrants are likely to head home instead.
Which they do and here’s the proof: Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza says that many people do come back home, but cannot cope with the ‘new’ reality and need to see a specialist to help them readjust. Even just a year abroad means they come back with a different approach to life and work and have to cope with different expectations (from family and/or bosses), hostility and other issues.
Told ya! All doom and gloom. So to finish things off, a piece from today’s Independent on Sunday, which claims that
“the Polish Hearth Club, the shabby-chic eating, drinking and smoking hole in South Kensington, may soon be put up for sale owing to the economic downturn.”
Hmm. Guess I’d better go and have a quick żubrówka with apple juice there before the credit crunch (or indeed departing Poles) consign it to history…
*I have to point out, this is not my own title. I have borrowed it from The Economist, which in a clever way, as always, avoids using yet another cliche in the title of the aforementioned article; I can’t even remember how many times I’ve seen ‘Poles apart’ used as a title for various press articles. Yawn!
Image: the medieval city of Toruń, Poland ©janusz I via Flickr used under CC licence