Polish MP travels to UK as a migrant worker to see what it's like... and finds himself sleeping rough on his first night

 

A Polish MP who has come to London to live as a migrant to understand what draws his compatriots to Britain revealed yesterday he had spent the night in a homeless shelter and said arriving without accommodation or a job was “irresponsible”.

Artur Debski, a member of the liberal Your Movement opposition party, arrived in London this weekend to experience life as an economic migrant after warning that the outflow of young Poles to leave was “dangerous” for Poland.

Mr Debski said he wanted to experience the challenges faced by migrants arriving in Britain - looking for a job and living on a modest budget - in order to make changes in Poland which would persuade more young, educated Poles to stay put.

About a million Polish citizens are estimated to have moved to Britain since the east European country joined the EU a decade ago and the UK became one of the few countries not to impose immigration restrictions. More than two thirds of younger Poles consider emigrating, according to surveys.

But for Mr Debski, the path to a temporary new life in Britain has not proved smooth.

In a blog posted last night, the MP said he had spent Sunday night in a homeless hostel and posted pictures of himself sleeping on a floor in a floral sleeping bag. He has since moved to a hotel in Wandsworth, south London, charging £14 per night.

The politician, who arrived on a budget airline flight, said the experience had shown him the virtues of making prior arrangements.

He said: “There is one thing I know for sure. At the moment, coming to live in London without any preparation is irresponsible. You have to be sensibly prepared.

“Work, accommodation and a so-called National Insurance Number allow you to have peace of mind. You can get it all sorted before you leave, so you won’t end up running around London with your luggage as I did.”

The diligence of Poles and their success in integrating into British life means that many are choosing to stay in the UK. A recent survey suggested that nearly three quarters of UK-based Poles will remain for the long term based on indicators such as birth records and mortgage uptake.

The same study found that up to 40 per cent were also thinking of applying for UK citizenship.

Mr Debski, 45, who was yesterday planning to visit a job centre, said the departure of large numbers of working-age people from Poland was “dangerous” for his country’s economy and he needed to explore why Britain was more attractive to young workers than their homeland.

But the MP said he had also been struck by the determination of Poles he had met in London and the difficulties faced by some, including one woman who he said had detected a recent hardening in the attitudes of Britons to migrants.

He said: “I come into contact with new people every day. I have a great respect for them all. Trying to get a job or settle abroad takes great courage – whether or not that person has been successful.”

The MP had initially suggested he would be staying for up to a month to complete a report for his party on the issue. But last night it seemed his stay in Britain may be briefer than that of the compatriots he had come to study.

In a tweet explaining he now needed to attend to matters back in Poland, he said: “I’m leaving in three days as I can’t stay any longer. I need to sort out a couple of things.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz