In a sign of how far Poland’s radical turn toward mass immigration has come, even under what many have described as a conservative government, the TLDR Youtube channel is now singing the praises of Poland’s mass immigration policy.
For most conservatives, Poland has been historically seen as one of the most anti-immigration countries in Europe, notable for its previously strong stance in 2016, along with fellow Visegrad countries of Hungary, Czechia, and Slovakia, against migrant quotas and illegal immigration. However, under the Polish conservative government, led by Law and Justice (PiS), the country has veered sharpl towards a liberal legal immigration policy recently, massively increasing visas to immigrants from Third World countries.
Poland’s PiS is now following in the footsteps of other conservative parties in Europe, taking a radically pro-immigration stance so long as that immigration is legal, which has been seen in Great Britain and more recently, Italy. Left-wing media outlets are taking note, with TLDR News releasing a video this month detailing Poland’s sharp turn on immigration:
“If you only listen to their rhetoric, you might assume that Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party really doesn’t like immigration. They’re perhaps the most vocal opponents of the EU’s new migrant relocation scheme. They worry that Muslims immigrating into Poland threaten Christianity, and they literally built a fence on the border with Belarus to prevent migrants from coming into the EU. However, contrary to the rhetoric, Poland actually reliably issues the most residency visas in the EU. And earlier this week, the government announced plans to simplify immigration laws from 18 mostly Muslim majority countries in order to take in 400,000 immigrants annually.”
The video goes on to detail Poland’s history with emigration in the 1990s and 2000s, which led to a dramatic outflow of Poland’s population, including its young people, even as it accepted very little immigration. The result was that “Poland was one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in Europe, and the smallest immigrant populations that did live in Poland was mostly Ukrainian and Belarusian, with an even smaller Vietnamese diaspora.”
Under PiS, however, Poland’s demographics are shifting faster toward a multicultural society, just as other Western countries previously experienced, sometimes already decades ago, despite the party previously warning about multiculturalism and Islam many times in the past.
The TLDR News host points out the contradictions seen from the ruling party, stating: “Since coming to power, Law and Justice has continued to talk a tough game on immigration. Earlier this month, for example, the Polish Prime Minister (Mateusz Morawiecki) said that Poland does not acknowledge the EU’s new migrant relocation scheme, which would require member states to pay 22,000 euros for every migrant they refuse from their EU allocated quota. However, Law and Justice has continued to allow lots of immigrants into Poland. Even before the massive influx of Ukrainians earlier this year, Poland reliably issued the most residence permits in the entire EU. Those mostly went to Ukrainians and Belarusians, but a significant fraction went to Indians, Turks, and Central Asians.”
The swift about-face has created a certain degree of cognitive dissonance for conservatives, just as the same process is playing out with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. In many cases, conservatives are actually better positioned to dramatically increase immigration numbers than the left. While continuing to employ harsh rhetoric around illegal immigration, they are able to leverage that rhetoric to build trust from their voter base, while at the same time pushing for a dramatic increase in legal immigration.
Poland’s liberal immigration policy is now well advertised on social media, and a variety of nascent immigration-based businesses have even created ads encouraging foreigners to obtain visas.
Poland’s push for a more open doors immigration policy is facing a certain degree of blowback from the Polish public and may be driving voters toward the right-wing Confederation Party, which has steadily risen in the polls and has been sitting at 16 percent as of late, making the party a likely kingmaker after upcoming elections this autumn. The party has routinely lambasted Poland’s ruling party for its liberal immigration party, but remarkably, even Poland’s left-liberal opposition has sensed political opportunity and begun slamming PiS for its immigration policies
TLDR News indicates that “Law and Justice spends a lot of time warning about the perils of immigration from Muslim-majority countries. One minister actually claimed the EU was, “imposing Islam on Poland” and another MP said that “Poland wouldn’t take in a single Muslim,” but they’re now asking for 400,000 immigrants from mostly Muslim majority countries. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how this combination of anti-immigrant rhetoric and liberal immigration policies affect Law and Justice’s electoral chances at Poland’s next election due later this year.”
Donald Tusk, the leader of Poland’s opposition Civic Platform, is also sensing opportunity. He said this month that the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and its leader Jarosław Kaczyński were guilty of policies leading to migrants being brought in from countries such as Saudi Arabia, India, Iran, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Nigeria. He added that the ruling conservatives had last year imported 130,000 migrants from such countries, which is 50 times more than in 2015 when Tusk was last in power.
Polish government plans to accept up to 400,000 immigrants a year
The initiative claims it is responding to the needs of the labor market
In 2022, Poland issued nearly 365,500 work permits to foreign nationals, with over 136,000 permits granted to individuals from Muslim-majority countries, primarily from Central Asia, according to government data. In addition, even before the start of the conflict in Ukraine, Poland issued a record number of work permits and employment declarations issued to foreign workers in 2021, with nearly 3 million such documents granted to foreign nationals, representing a 30 percent increase from the previous year.