How many Polish people currently live abroad, and what are the most common reasons for them to leave Poland?
According to Statistics Poland, in 2018 there were around 2.5 million Poles living abroad, of which 81% resided in the EU. The largest number of Polish mobile workers was in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Ireland. The main reasons for Poles to move to these countries are the better job opportunities and salaries, higher living standards, better social conditions, favourable tax systems and better public administration.
Why do some Polish mobile workers choose to return to Poland?
There are many reasons for Polish mobile workers to want to return, such as:
- personal reasons (to be closer to family and loved ones or to care for older relatives) and homesickness;
- expired work contract;
- clashes with hostility or xenophobia in the host country;
- chain return mobility (when the return of one family leads to other families returning as well);
- the person has decided to start a business in Poland;
- the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are the most common challenges that Polish mobile workers face upon their return?
It is difficult to say because everyone’s experience is different. Some find it difficult to adapt to the Polish way of working. For example, mobile workers returning from the UK find it hard to get used to the employee-boss relationship, which is a lot more hierarchical in Poland. Others encounter administrative barriers or have problems with the level of healthcare. Children who went to school abroad may also find it hard to adapt to the Polish school system.
How does EURES Poland help returning mobile workers to find a job?
The EURES network has a lot of information for those planning to return home, including:
- important first steps once they return;
- employment opportunities and guidance on preparing a CV;
- advice on social security matters (unemployment benefits, health insurance, family allowances, parental leave, disability benefits and pensions);
- national projects and existing initiatives;
- post-work recruitment assistance.
Personalised support is important, so that the returning mobile worker can successfully settle in back home. We have prepared a brochure on living and working in Poland, which is available in Polish, English and German.
Another example is a project led by the Labour Office in Gdansk called ‘Pomerania! I come back here, I work here’. The project targets residents of Pomerania Province over the age of 30 who have lived for over 6 six months in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden or the United Kingdom, and who returned to Poland less than 6 months ago. It is specifically tailored to help people over the age of 50, women, jobseekers with disabilities and people with low qualifications. It offers free courses and professional training, career advice, support in finding a job in Pomerania Province, relocation and certification allowance, psychological and legal advice, training scholarships, travel reimbursements and more.
How can EURES support employers in hiring returning Polish mobile workers?
EURES can help employers in various ways, for instance by organising dedicated online job fairs or by making employers aware of the potential of returning mobile workers. For example, in May 2019 the Polish government decided to do something that had never been done before – a job fair in London for Polish people considering returning to Poland. The event was well received, and we had around 1,000 visitors and 30 exhibitors – large Polish companies, international businesses operating in Poland and national institutions.
Are there any other initiatives in Poland to support returning mobile workers?
Yes, for example, the National Agency for Academic Exchange has launched the programme Polish Returns to encourage the return of Polish scientists from abroad. The aim of the initiative is to allow prominent Polish scientists to return and take up employment in Polish higher education institutions, scientific institutes and research centres.
There is also an information portal, whose aim is to support and facilitate the return of mobile workers to Poland. The service allows people to ask questions about the formalities related to returning to Poland, such as enrolling their children in Polish schools, tax deductions, health insurance and registration of foreign civil status documents. The portal also offers psychological advice to prepare people and their families for their return.
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- Publication date
- 11 December 2020
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- Business / EntrepreneurshipEURES best practiceLabour market news / mobility newsNews/reports/statisticsRecruiting trendsSuccess stories
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