Polish 2013 emigration close to record high
PR dla Zagranicy
Over two million left Poland to work or study abroad in 2013, close to record numbers leaving the country in 2007.
According to data released by the Central Statistical office (GUS) 2.2 million Poles lived for more than three months abroad last year, higher than the previous year and only marginally below the record 2.3 million noted in 2007.
Although Poland’s population is theoretically 38.4 million, if Poles not living in the country are factored in then according to the EU's Eurostat statistical service, the population is now just 36.5 million and is expected to fall further in future due to a low birth rate.
The United Kingdom remains the principle destination for recent Polish emigrants, with almost 650,000 living there in 2013, while Germany is now the second most popular country with 560,000 Poles.
The wave of migration began in 2004, following EU ascension, and was helped by the expiration of restrictions on Polish migration in 2011.
Experts believe that the migrants are unlikely to return.
Dr. Marcin Galent, emigration researcher at the Institute of European Studies, says that most emigrants “grow roots abroad, as indicated for example by data on Polish children born in the UK. They might eventually come back to the country for retirement.”
High unemployment and lower standards of living in Poland are often given as the main reasons for the migration.
However, Professor Maciej Duszczyk of the Centre of Migration Research has told the Rzeczpospolita daily that “one of the main factors influencing the scale of Polish emigration is the negative perception of the effectiveness of the state, meaning the trust of citizens towards institutions, bureaucracy, the health service, courts.”
Historically, this is the second largest wave of Polish emigration. The largest wave was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when 3.5 million Poles left due to poverty. (sl/pg)