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Old 9th Jun 2004, 6:26   #1
m.
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Default Polish immigrants, immigration/emigration generally

Hey. Before I went to the States, even when I registered here in November last year, UK was just one country where Poles emigrate but now, suddenly, it seems like this is the country. I had never felt awkward thinking about Polish immigrants in England, in fact if things had turned out a different way, who knows, I might be one. Some of my acquaintances worked in England some time ago. Still, the last wave of immigration after May 1 seems different. I've been reading articles in online editions of Polish newspapers and the picture I've got is pretty dire. According to one article, in 2003, 300 thousand Poles entered England (data of Visiting Britain) and about 25 % stayed (estimation); but after May it's 130 buses (about 6500 persons) weekly (according to the Victoria Green Line because there are no official statistics.) The people who arrive are often completely unprepared, in terms of money and language skills. I've got mixed feeling towards all this – of course I sympathize and I think the Polish government and media are to blame for the situation, for spreading all the propaganda, but also, for God's sake how some people can be so naïve. UK was always considered as attractive but difficult destination… Oddly, the most optimistic opinions are those I've read on forums of Poles living in London – they say that the fittest will stay, the rest will go back to Poland, and that the rush should abate quickly. They also say that the newspapers completely don't balance opinions, first they practically pushed people to this decision by writing about jobs waiting for Polish workers, now in search for sensation they write about the most pathetic cases ignoring positive examples of many people who made a conscious choice and were able to work things out.

I tried to google for a British perspective, but strangely I didn't come across anything worth mentioning. Do you have any thoughts and feel like sharing? Sorry for being more serious than usual but I have mixed feelings and insufficient information. I'd never thought that I would try to start a discussion about immigration/emigration with the things so close home. I was hoping that we'd talk about some related problems by the way of Namesake, but somehow I had never got round to writing this post, then I wanted to post something about immigrants in US, but never did…
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Old 9th Jun 2004, 18:35   #2
rick green
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Why would the Polish press encourage people to flee the country? And why to Engalnd in particular? Were the press officials misinformed, or have they ulterior motives?
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Old 9th Jun 2004, 19:21   #3
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Default Re: Polish immigrants, immigration/emigration generally

Quote:
Originally Posted by m.
I've been reading articles in online editions of Polish newspapers and the picture I've got is pretty dire. According to one article, in 2003, 300 thousand Poles entered England (data of Visiting Britain) and about 25 % stayed (estimation); but after May it's 130 buses (about 6500 persons) weekly (according to the Victoria Green Line because there are no official statistics.)
Sigh. The figures are so ludicrously huge they are almost certainly bogus. An independent report from researchers at University College London, commissioned by the Home Office last year, estimated that 5,000-13,000 migrant workers might be expected to come to Britain from the 10 new EC member states in the first year. What axe are these online editions trying to grind by publishing such scare stories?
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Old 9th Jun 2004, 20:19   #4
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We had similar scare stories when Spain joined the EU. Are we over-run with Spanish immigrants? No. In fact, I'm willing to bet there's a net movement in the opposite direction now.

Immigration is a big issue in Britain at the moment, and our own press is always on the look-out for scare stories about how we are going to flooded by immigrants from one country or another. I am highly sceptical that it will happen.

On another note, there has been a resident Polish populatin in Britain for many years now, many coming here as refugees during and after WWII. There is (or was) a Polish Club in my home town of Lincoln, and I believe Polish airmen flew from airfields in the county during WWII.
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Old 9th Jun 2004, 20:30   #5
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Yep. And there were only about 60,000 Polish-born people residing in the UK in 2001 according to census figures. If there were now an additional 300,000 I think we would have noticed it somehow.
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Old 9th Jun 2004, 21:04   #6
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Oh, that clears it up then. Scare stories--should have known.
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Old 9th Jun 2004, 23:26   #7
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Besides, they were all supposedly coming here as builders, weren't they? A sort of reverse Boys From The Blackstuff?

Well, have you tried finding a builder recently? Just as much of a nightmare as before.
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Old 10th Jun 2004, 7:00   #8
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You know, this is quite surreal. In most countries it's tabloids saying all kind of things about other nations, but this information I have from the main Polish daily, really. If you say it’s not happening, at least on the large scale, then what can I say, I’m really glad.

Quote:
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Why would the Polish press encourage people to flee the country? And why to Engalnd in particular?
In short, the opportunity of legal work in 'old' EU countries has been for Poland one of the main advantages of joining the EU in May this year. Some of the countries introduced transition period but UK didn't. The unemployment rate in Poland is about 20 % (I’m not fixated on numbers, just this one seems to stay the same for ages…), so finding a job is a problem and newspapers at one point really wrote about 500, 000 jobs available in UK. Yes, I meant five zeroes. I know, this is all absurd and that's why I felt so strange writing my first post... I should quit newspapers, really.
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Old 10th Jun 2004, 8:31   #9
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I don't suppose we'll know for sure until around this time next year when figures come out, but it does seem unlikely.
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Old 10th Jun 2004, 10:41   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m.
I should quit newspapers, really.
Couldn't agree more. It's been nearly a year since I read a tabloid (and way longer since I bought one of the bloody things). A waste of trees.
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