Poland changes the attitude to migrant workers: what will change for Ukrainians

The poles will have to compromise to ease social tensions, but not to lose the workforce.

In 2020, Poland intends to develop a new migration strategy that can directly relate to Ukrainian labour migrants in the country, reports the Chronicle.info with reference for Today.

About the need to change the status quo in the labor market of Poland said long ago. How to change Polish policy in respect of migrant workers? What surprises await Ukrainians working in the EU?

If we remember history, the policy of “open borders”, which, in fact, made possible the mass migration of citizens of Ukraine to the West, was recommended to the member countries of the EU strategy “Europe-2020”. This document was adopted shortly after the 2008 crisis and was aimed to solve the problem crisis economic development of EU. One of the obstacles preventing EU countries actively develop and meet the growing social demands of the society, was named the problem of shortage of manpower. To solve it, and had migrant workers.

In most developed countries of the EU borders were opened mainly for migrant workers from the EU. Why was formed an outflow of personnel from the less developed European countries. In particular, the poles, the Czechs, the Balts began to leave EN masse to work in Germany, UK, etc. In turn, the States are deprived of the already scarce labor, had open borders for citizens of countries outside the EU. In particular, for Ukrainian citizens.

Today, when the term of the strategy “Europe-2020” is about to expire, the EU concluded: the liberal immigration policy was justified and beneficial. However, in some countries this has led to increased social tensions. In particular, in the same Poland, which in recent years solves the problem of the shortage of personnel mainly at the expense of the Ukrainians, many are unhappy with the massive influx of migrant workers. Because of them, they say, employers are in no hurry to raise salaries, which require poles. In addition, in the neighboring country no less than in Ukraine, concerned about the return of poles who went to work. Plus in Poland, too, there is unemployment, though low, at 5%.

“What will be the changes in the migration policy of Poland and whether they do, in fact, it is difficult to say – while there is no specific information. What is clear for sure, Poland is interested in the adjustment of internal labour market and employment in the first place its citizens. According to official data, in Poland there are 850 thousand unemployed. At the same time, working there from 800 thousand to 1 million labour migrants from Ukraine”, – describes the situation Director of the logistic company “ZAMMLER POLSKA Sp.z o.o” Oleg Rakov.

Officials of the Polish state: without migrant workers Poland will not be able to implement their plans of economic development. Because the poles are very reluctant to accept low-paid jobs, which, as a rule, take of migrant workers from other countries. And the attitude to work among local residents and migrant workers are different.

“In practice, employers are often more willing to take on the job of Ukrainians. Tell you the example of our business. We opened the representation of our Ukrainian company in Poland in 2014. Then 90% of the staff were poles. Now we have 98% of Ukrainians, most of them temporary work permits, which we are constantly updating (I must say that the poles are always very carefully approach the issue of work permits, whether for seasonal or long-term). As employers, we are interested in our workers, because the Ukrainians are well known for their hard work, and often manifested a willingness to work overtime, if only the work was done. While the poles have a clear understanding of their working time: the working day from 8 to 16 or 17 hours, weekend with the family. You need to stay longer – negotiate and pay higher rates,” – says Oleg Rakov.

In the coming years, the demand of Polish labor migrants will only grow. According to some estimates, in 2030, Poland will need 4 million additional workers. Last year, the public was presented a new draft migration strategy, and it proposed to significantly expand the list of the countries from which Poland will be able to take migrant workers (Belarus, Vietnam, India, etc.). This document caused a lot of criticism, which is probably why the work on the strategy is still.

Thus, in an effort to calm the population, the Polish government systematically increases minimum wage and introduces a new tax and social security preferences for their citizens. So, from January 1, the minimum salary in Poland has increased significantly: from 2250 to 2600 PLN (15%), or up to 17 zlotys per hour. And by 2024, it is expected to reach 4000 PLN. However, the poles are still dissatisfied: in comparison with more developed EU countries the price of labour in Poland is still at a low level, so young people and people of working age continue to go to other countries to work.

Poles are convenient for those who work in excess of

Recently the rate of inflow of Ukrainians in Poland are reduced. They are not reduced, but the percentage increase in the number of migrants was much less. If in the years 2014-2016, according to the Polish experts, it was dozens of percent a year, now – only 3-4%.

One of the reasons – strengthening our hryvnia. “The Ukrainian hryvnia strengthened against the zloty by 9.2% in 2018 and by a further 18.6 per cent in 2019. Thus, from the point of view of Ukrainians, wages fell by almost 30 percent” – counted website money.pl.

In early 2020 , the hryvnia began to take positions. This fact, combined with the increase in the minimum wage in Poland would revitalize the flow of “guest workers” in Poland. But after a few weeks its borders to labor migrants from EU countries open Germany where the minimum wage is more than in Poland. Therefore, the Polish experts expect that out of 900 thousand Ukrainian workers, in Poland about 400 thousand can move to Germany. And now they say that to lure new jobs to Poland will have is that with the help of different social “buns”.

Ukrainian experts believe that, in any case, even after the emergence of new migration strategy, the poles will have to call themselves Ukrainians.

“The Polish market is in dire need of Ukrainian workers with low by European standards, payroll expectations and willingness to work in excess of on the undesirable from the point of view of the poles, the works. And today, the deficit of 1 million workers (according to some estimates – up to 2 million) poles close to no one, except with the help of our fellow citizens. Do not forget that in March this year, Germany liberalizare conditions for migrant workers – though mostly in the service sector and aged care. Given the significant difference in salaries (the average is above 2.5 times), part of the Ukrainian labour migrants from the Polish market pereorientirovanija in German. After all, there is Polish there is a similar shortage of workers – about 1.2 million people”, – says HR-Director EDS-Engineering Valentina Beam.

Ukraine will also have to raise wages

Our country, despite the acute shortage of staff, caused as a natural demographic situation and labor migration is not open borders for foreign labour. So, to keep people of working age she will be able the only way: raising wages to the European level.

“Of course, the Ukrainians are going to Poland for better jobs. For example, now in our company in Poland, the minimum wage of an office worker – 1000 EUR (gross) minimum wage of the driver – 1500 euros (gross). That is, wages much higher than in Ukraine on similar positions. And as long as that happens, the flow of migrants from Ukraine to Poland will not stop and the situation will not change significantly neither on the Polish nor the Ukrainian labor market”, – predicts Oleg Rakov.

Valentine Bundle says about the prospects of wage growth in Ukraine. However, believes that the economy benefits it will bring.

“With regard to the labor market of Ukraine, the classic response will be: employers will be forced once again to raise wages in an effort to keep qualified professionals in the country. But without an increase in the level of labour productivity it will not allow the business to grow at the pace that would allow to increase GDP and simultaneously reduce our backlog from the countries of Western Europe,” she says.

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