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Poles make their mark in England

Monday, February 04, 2013 - 01:20

Feb. 4 - Businesses run by emigrants from Poland are flourishing in the UK as a result of a massive influx of Poles. England's most commonly spoken non-native language is now Polish with more than half a million people listing it as their main language. Hayley Platt reports.

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Polish food shops are a common sight on many UK high streets They serve a growing number of Poles now living in Britain. In 2011 Polish was the second most spoken language in England. Wladyslaw Mleczko runs a small chain of Polish supermarkets (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) FOUNDER OF MLECZKO SUPERMARKET CHAIN, WLADYSLAW MLECZKO, SAYING: "Poles who come to England learn English very fast. Especially the youth, because if they want better jobs and better money, they need to speak English" Half a million Poles have moved to Britain since Poland joined the EU in 2004. They were lured by the prospect of jobs and higher wages. (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) POLISH IMMIGRANT WHO DECLINED TO BE NAMED, SAYING: "We have it very good in England, we never had it as good in Poland. They treat us well and we are happy here." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH WOMAN SUHA ABDELAZIZ, SAYING: "It's nice to have different cultures, people from different backgrounds and, you know, everybody's just learning from each other." These days Poland's economy is in much better shape than the UK's It grew 2 per cent last year - while Britain looks like its heading for a triple-dip recession. But the minimum wage in Poland remains half the UK's rate. And soon there could be a new wave of immigrants entering Britain. From next year new rules will make it easier for Romanians and Bulgarians to live and work in the EU.

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Poles make their mark in England

Monday, February 04, 2013 - 01:20