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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission, Benefits, OTE £100k: SThree: ...

Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine