Tide of migration turns as Polish workers return

The huge influx of Polish workers, which has transformed the labour market across the country, has peaked, official statistics have disclosed.

More than 750,000 east and central European immigrants have flocked to all parts of Britain since eight former eastern bloc countries joined the EU in 2004. But the tide seems to be turning as the economies of the new EU member states strengthen.

The numbers of east European immigrants approved to work in Britain dropped from 227,875 in 2006 to 206,905 last year, a fall of nearly 10 per cent, and the trend is expected to accelerate over the next decade. Poles, who make up two-thirds of the newcomers, are understood to be returning home in greater numbers, drawn by higher salaries, job shortages and the fall in the value of the pound.

Danny Sriskandarajah, head of migration at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said some were choosing to work in other EU countries which were loosening employment rules. "Migration from Poland is very unlikely to continue at the levels we have seen in the first few years we have seen after enlargement," he said. "It has always been a question of when these flows started drying up, rather than whether they would."

Ministers, who were originally advised that 13,000 east Europeans would come to the UK per year, were caught by surprise at the vast numbers that travelled for Britain after the EU expanded in May 2004. A total of 125,880 moved to the UK in the rest of 2004, followed by 204,970 in 2005. The number climbed to record levels in 2006 before last year's fall. It is unknown how many remained in Britain as the numbers leaving are not recorded. The vast majority of the 765,630 incomers were 505,300 Poles, followed by 77,000 each from Lithuania and Slovakia. Much smaller numbers have come from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia and Slovenia.

Employers have taken on 296,180 east Europeans in office and administration jobs; 144,450 in hospitality and catering; and 77,245 in farm work. David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "The comparative success of the UK economy in recent years has been largely due to the influx of willing workers from eastern Europe."

Separate Home Office figures also showed 23,430 asylum-seekers claimed refuge in Britain last year, the lowest total since the early 1990s. But the numbers of failed asylum-seekers removed from Britain last year fell by 26 per cent to 13,595. Overall, the Border and Immigration Agency removed 63,140 people from the UK in the year.

*David Cameron, the Tory leader, has said introducing sharia law in Britain would create "legal apartheid". He disputed the assertion by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, that adopting some element of sharia law was unavoidable and attacked the "discredited doctrine idea of state multiculturalism".

Maciek Imiolczyk, 23: 'It wasn't like I expected'

When Maciek Imiolczyk came to London at the beginning of last year he was expecting to stay for several years. "I thought I could make much more money there, and that it would be an easy life, but it wasn't like I expected," he says.

The 23-year-old from Krakow had a business degree, and hoped to find a well-paid job, but after struggling to find work, he eventually took a post as a receptionist in a hostel. "I couldn't find anything that paid more than the minimum wage, and it was really hard to live off that. I realised life in London was much tougher than I'd been led to believe."

After six months of work he became disillusioned and returned to Krakow. Now he works as a tour guide. "The work I do now is better paid, interesting, and my quality of life is infinitely better."

Suggested Topics
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
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

Web Application Support Manager

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

Music Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Maths Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

C# asp.net Developer - West Sussex - permanent - £40k - £50k

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments