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The Warsaw Voice » Business » October 27, 2011
From the Business Editor
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Poland Attractive to Foreign Workers
October 27, 2011   
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For several years Poland has been one of the most attractive investment destinations in Europe. This is confirmed by different league tables ranking countries in terms of investment appeal as well as by data on the inflow of foreign direct investment.

But investors are not the only foreigners showing an interest in Poland. Every year a growing number of foreign workers seek employment in Poland. Last year, about 37,000 foreigners received permits to work in this country; over a third of these were permits for skilled workers. Surveys by Poland’s CBOS polling center show that one in seven respondents knows someone who employs a foreigner.

Workers from beyond Poland’s eastern border are increasingly popular with employers in this country. The increased number of applications for work permits is due to the relatively strong performance of the Polish economy, coupled with the encouraging outlook in labor-intensive industries, the liberalization of Poland’s labor law and a limited supply of labor on the Polish market. It is estimated that this year the number of applications for work permits in Poland will be 60 percent higher than in 2010.

Statistics for the first half of this year show that workers from abroad are in demand as never before. According to data from employment offices, companies received more than 163,000 applications for jobs, an increase of about 40 percent over the same period a year earlier.

Citizens from five Eastern European countries, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia and Russia, top the list among those applying for work in Poland. Ukrainian workers currently account for more than 90 percent of all legally employed foreigners. In terms of individual industries, agriculture is the most popular. Construction is also doing well in this area, chiefly thanks to road builders carrying out infrastructure projects related to the Euro 2012 soccer tournament.

Over the past two years, the number of work permits issued to foreigners in Poland has more than doubled. To an extent, the overall growth has been due to the growing awareness of employers and employees of the consequences of illegal employment. This explains why many foreigners long working in Poland are now making efforts to put their papers in order.

The strong interest among foreigners in working in Poland is a new trend. Until recently, it was mostly Polish workers who looked for jobs abroad. Several million people, mostly young, have left the country to work in Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway and many other countries during the last two decades. Some of them have already returned due to the crisis in the euro area. But sociological research shows that there is still no shortage of young Poles eager to work abroad.
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