'Wave' of Polish immigration is over, says ambassador - these days Poles prefer to stay at home
Increasing numbers of Poles 'are shunning a life in Britain in favour of Poland’s own burgeoning economy'
Emily Dugan is Social Affairs Editor for The Independent, i and Independent on Sunday. She was previously a news reporter for The Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards. Her first book, 'Finding Home: Real Stories of Migrant Britain', was published by Icon Books in July 2015.
Monday 21 April 2014
The “wave” of migration from Poland to Britain and other European countries is over, according to the country’s ambassador to the UK.
Speaking to The Independent ahead of next week’s 10-year anniversary of his nation joining the European Union, Witold Sobkow said that increasing numbers of his countrymen and women were shunning a life in Britain in favour of Poland’s own burgeoning economy.
“This huge wave of people who came to EU countries trying to get well-paid jobs is over now,” he said. “There are more opportunities in Poland, we have had huge economic success, wages are higher in Poland now and there are more jobs in many parts of Poland, so I think this is over.
“We are getting out of the crisis and there are more and more opportunities in Poland. Of course people would like to stay in Poland and not live abroad. They love the UK but if you are at home there is no place like home.
Read more: Witold Sobkow interview
“People speak the same language, it is the same culture, the same system of education, health service, they would rather stay at home if there is a well-paid job. The situation is getting better in Poland so more and more stay in Poland or want to get back to Poland.”
The most recent official data shows 29,000 Poles came to Britain in 2012, down from a peak of 88,000 new arrivals from the country in 2007.
However, the last Labour government had predicted that just 13,000 people would move to Britain from Poland and other new EU countries after 2004. In the end, more than one million came in one of the biggest waves of immigration seen in this country. Two-thirds of those new arrivals were Polish.
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