World News

Half of Polish immigrants in UK plan to stay, poll finds

WARSAW (Reuters) - A little over half of all Poles who moved to Britain in recent years plan to stay, with many intending to bring their families to join them rather than return home, a Polish survey showed on Wednesday.

The poll published by daily Gazeta Wyborcza said 55 percent of Poles who work in Britain definitely plan to stay and 49 percent of those in Ireland. Of the remainder, many have yet to make up their minds.

Poland estimates up to 1.5 million Poles have found work in western Europe since it joined the European Union in 2004 and gained entry to new labour markets. Most of the Poles went to Britain and Ireland.

“Polish workers are establishing lives in the islands, having families and getting promoted,” said Adam Czarnecki, from pollster ARC Market and Opinion. “They will grow roots there.”

Polish officials have said they expect most immigrants to return with their money after a couple of years abroad, especially given Poland’s own booming economy.

Emigration from Poland has led to a tight labour market, particularly for skilled jobs. That has driven wages sharply higher and is a major inflation concern for Polish central bank policymakers as they consider whether to raise interest rates.

East European immigrants have meanwhile added billions of pounds to Britain’s national wealth and helped keep inflation in check there. Employers often praise them for working harder and for less money than locals.

The ARC Market and Opinion poll was conducted among 1,389 Poles working in Britain and Ireland.