1 in 4 Poles in Britain plans to stay for life

A survey showed that 23 per cent of immigrants said they would never go back to Poland. 17 January 2008. One in every four Poles in Britain is planning to remain for life, a survey has revealed. It followed an admission from Britain’s consul in Warsaw that the current record levels of migration – which have seen more than 700,000 Poles arrive in only three years – may continue.

The survey, headed by Warsaw University migration specialist Krystyna Iglicka and carried out by the Polish Centre for International Relations, questioned almost 700 Poles living in the UK.

Krystyna Iglicka said: "I am not optimistic about Poles coming back. Looking at earlier emigrations it’s usually been not the emigrants themselves, but their children that have returned."

Some 23 per cent of respondents said they would never go back to Poland and a further 32 per cent said that if they ever went back it would not be for another five to ten years. Based on estimates from the Home Office’s worker registration scheme, that would mean more than 160,000 Poles and their families staying for good.The report also found the majority of Poles were not over-qualified for the jobs they are taking in the UK, amid reports of graduates working in factories or stacking shelves.

Some 65 per cent of respondents said they were working in jobs matching their qualifications. The survey also suggested the majority of Poles in Britain were not well integrated in local communities, despite planning to stay in the country for the long term.

Paul Fox, Consul General for the British Embassy in Poland, said Britain ‘didn’t know where it was going’ with immigration

The survey’s author said: "Not one of the people who took part in the survey voted in local elections in Britain." They said they had not voted because their economic situation was too difficult, they had too much work or did not speak English well enough.

Polish immigrants were also reluctant to make friends outside their own Polish communities. Only 59 per cent of women and 48 per cent of men said they had close contacts with British people outside work.

Mr Fox said the post-EU enlargement immigration in the UK was "one of the largest immigrations Britain has ever seen, in such a short time".

He said it was a "miracle" that since May 2004 Britain had absorbed so many new immigrants without more strain and friction.

The length of time a migrant intends to stay is crucial to Government planning. Ministers insist that migrants make a positive contribution to the economy while working.
But critics say this picture changes if the migrants retire here with four out of five becoming a net drain on the country’s finances.

The amount a worker needs to earn to make a positive contribution over the course of their life is £27,000 a year.

This is the equivalent of paying £7,600 a year in income tax and other taxation and would cover the costs of healthcare and other public services into retirement.

Only 20 per cent of migrants fall into this category, according to Migrationwatch UK which made the calculations.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are clear on the benefits to the UK on migration from Eastern Europe to the UK since 2004, and we know migration contributed about £6 billion to our economy in 2006.

"But we have to ensure that migration is in the best interests of the UK, including our communities, which is why we have set up the Migration Impacts Forum to inform the Government on the wider impacts of migration."