A third of key workers with Polish nationality plan to return to Poland from the United Kingdom or are uncertain whether to stay, a study by British scientists at the universities of Middlesex, Glasgow, and Sheffield claims.
The respondents to the survey work in sectors such as health and social care, transport, education and childcare, communal services, and the production of goods.
The study found most of the respondents had concerns regarding their employment — 28 percent believe they have been discriminated against in their workplace; Polish health and social care workers said they were not treated on an equal basis compared to migrants from other countries.
The Polish-British alliance is the new pillar of European security
The Polish-British axis may be credible to the United States and help rebuild the European security system, writes editor-in-chief of Gazeta PolskaTomasz Sakiewicz
A sense of belonging and the feeling of being welcome in the U.K. drastically decreased since the pandemic. Many key Polish employees said they felt discriminated against and unwanted in workplaces and their communities, pointed out one of the authors Dr Kasia Narkowicz of Middlesex University.
She said that they started to decide to leave Britain since Brexit, when they realized that their position in in the country started to become less stable. The data shows that there are broader problems regarding the economic, financial status, or the lack of a sense of belonging in Great Britain.
“It started during Brexit, COVID-19 only enhanced those difficulties, but the economic crisis and what is happening now will only exacerbate this situation,” said Narkowicz.
Over half of the respondents (55 percent) stated that their mental health significantly worsened during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the financial situation of 40.2 percent of the respondents became worse.
The lost generation: 773,000 Poles apply to stay in UK
While Britain and the EU are still negotiating the post-Brexit agreement, hundreds of thousands of Poles have filed for permanent residence in the UK
Narkowicz said that the study is not representative of all Poles employed in Britain, as it was conducted among people of certain professions. Most of them do not have jobs requiring high professional qualifications, meaning their professional status is less stable.
She also admitted that it is hard to quantify how many of those persons who declare that they will leave the country will actually do it.
“It is impossible to determine how many of the respondents who are thinking about leaving will in fact depart, but it seems that the reasons cited by them are permanent factors. However, much depends on the economic situation in Poland and the job market,” she explained.
In 2016 and 2017, during the Brexit referendum and after it, around 1 million Polish citizens lived in Great Britain and currently it is believed that this number is at around 700,000.