Tag Archives: migration

Over 500 thousand Polish passport holders live in the UK

Image Copyright joellybaby via Flickr

Today’s papers quote the Office for National Statistics which claims that

“Between the year ending December 2003 and the year ending September 2010 the Polish-born population of the UK increased from 75,000 to 521,000″

It also claims that in recent times immigration of Polish people has declined:

Immigration was highest in 2007 at 96,000 Polish citizens, but this declined to 39,000 in 2009. Emigration has also decreased from 54,000 to 29,000 over the same time period.

But what’s really interesting are the employment figures:

In the first quarter of 2011 an estimated 82.1 per cent of Poles aged 16 to 64 were in employment, compared with a rate of 70.7 per cent for the UK as a whole.

Which to me suggests most people still come to work, and not to claim benefits as some would make you believe. I won’t go into detail how various papers decided to interpret the data – those of you who live in the UK can probably guess. Some of them claim that many Poles decide to return to the UK after failing to find jobs back in Poland.

Have you noticed a new influx of Polish migrants? Are the above figures credible – and more importantly, do they bother you?

Image Copyright joellybaby via Flickr

Fact or myth? Poles are leaving the UK

I’ve been asked several times recently whether it’s true that Poles in the UK are going back home for good. The simplest answer is: I don’t know.

To start with, it’s never been clear how many Poles have actually settled in the UK since Poland joined the EU. I remember reporting on the influx of Polish workers in 2004/2005 and there was no reliable source of any accurate statistical data to back up any claims. So all estimates back then – whether greatly exaggerated or diplomatically lowered – were just that – estimates.

Anecdotal evidence would suggest that yes, some Poles, particularly those who were employed in the construction industry or agriculture have gone back.

But the same anecdotal evidence would suggest that many have stayed put.

What’s your view on that? Have your Polish friends gone back home? Are there fewer Polish baristas in London? Post a comment below and let me – and my readers know and maybe together we’ll find an answer…

Nasza Klasa more popular than Twitter?


A strange thing has happened. A Polish social networking site called Nasza Klasa, a cross between Friends Reunited and Facebook, was the 6th most popular social networking site in the UK, according to Hitwise UK.

This is a clear sign of a few things, I guess, but most importantly:

a) Poles are as crazy about social networking as anyone else;
b) there are still large numbers of Poles in the UK and they want to stay in touch with their past.

According to the graph  below Nasza Klasa is more popular than Twitter, which is quite an achievement bearing in mind the fact that Twitter’s popularity has gone up by something like a zillion per cent since all the celebs have discovered yet another outlet for their egos.


Nasza Klasa has taken Poland by storm over the past year or so and – like Facebook in the UK two years ago – has produced hundreds of hours of media coverage. And like Facebook it’s put people who haven’t seen one another for years in touch again, revealing the extent of Polish migration over the past 40 years.

It was particularly interesting – even for me – to see how many people, including my uni friends, distant family members etc., have ended up in the UK. For various reasons – some have well-paid jobs as GPs in areas where there are doctor shortages, others work for PR agencies, others still came for a year or two to work in temp jobs.

It would be good to see what percentage of those using Facebook and/or Twitter are also Poles living in the UK.

Oh, and talking of Twitter – remember to follow @thepolskiblog

Market share chart © Hitwise UK

How to recognise the recession?

polska gazetaBy how many Polish people go back home. That’s if you believe the Guardian. Last weekend the paper published a couple of articles in which it outlined the most obvious signs of a recession. And they are a lower electricity consumption and reverse migration of Poles (is there such a thing, or have I just invented it?). Reasons why Poland is a better option than the UK in 2009?

The Polish economy – now the world’s 20th largest – is proving a lot more resilient to the financial crisis than Britain’s, mainly because its banking system is not riddled with the toxic material that has poisoned the UK’s once-mighty banks. And it is attracting former emigres home in droves. (…) It has been estimated that of Poland’s 38 million people, one million have made their way to Britain and Ireland in the past five years. About 6% of the workforce left in a very short space of time – and they were generally young, motivated and well educated.

A Polish minister told the paper Poland had suffered labour shortages, but – thanks to fast rising wages in Poland – more and more people nowadays decide to go back home. The minister also

added that Dell’s recent announcement that it would move 2,000 jobs from Limerick to Poland was a “very good sign” for the Polish economy, although it was ironic because plenty of Poles were already working at Dell in Ireland.

The Irish Times meanwhile reported last week that Dell encourages its Polish workers in Ireland to apply for jobs in their home country. And you have to admit they’re clever about their approach:

With no relocation package or language lessons on offer, a company spokesman admitted that few Irish workers were likely to move to the central Polish city of Lodz.

Indeed. Very unlikely.

Recently I mentioned two other programmes aimed at returning Poles and it seems the drive to make people return to Poland is now gaining momentum, helped by the rapidly worsening economic situation in the UK and Ireland.

It doesn’t of course mean that ALL Polish people will go back, but it may imply that the era of cheap Polish labour – and jokes – might be coming to an end…

Image © Kai Hendry via Flickr used under CC licence

Do you have a PLan?

Polish PM Donald Tusk was in London yesterday. He was supposed to try and convince Poles living here to come back to Poland, by asking “Do you have a return PLan?’ (PL stands for Poland, of course). All that because the Polish government has launched a special site, where Poles living in the UK can get advice regarding moving their lives back to Poland.

Allegedly in the first 24 hours after the site was launched, it was ‘extremely popular’, although I would argue whether 150 questions asked in 24 hours is really that much, bearing in mind that there are anything between 500,000 and a million or even more recent migrants from Poland. But at least the government is eventually doing something useful apart from just saying ‘Come back!’.

A London-based Polish portal Moja Wyspa quotes unnamed ‘experts’ who predict that up to half a million Poles may go back home in the next few years. That’s just another finger in the air estimate – nobody really knows how many people have come to the UK from Poland in the first place, so how can they predict how many are planning, sorry, PLanning to return?! But it’s good to see someone wants to help them at last.

On an almost unrelated note, looks like Aussies are also abandoning the capital. I have certainly noticed that among my Australian friends…


Bobski the bloody builder
The Daily Telegraph and me
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Poles on Poland
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