Poland goes from emigration to immigration country

Poland must bring in migrants who will build Poland’s wealth and help the country develop, but this operation must be done sensibly

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Igor Janke
via: rp.pl

Quelling the crisis on the border, which will hopefully happen, does not close the issue of foreigners residing in Poland, which has turned from an emigration country into an immigration one. Instead of being a country where people leave in search of a better life, Poland has become a country where people come in search of better life.

The time has come to clearly explain how Poland wants to handle immigrants in the future.

The right-wing Polish government essentially has the most liberal migration policy in Europe. There are over 2 million foreigners in Poland and their number continues to grow. Poles accept not only Ukrainians and Belarusians. In 2019, Poland released 24,000 long-term visas for Nepalese, Indian and Bangladesh citizens. Every fourth residence permit in the EU for citizens from outside of the Union was processed in Poland in 2019. Although Poland still is not as attractive as Germany or the UK, it is accepting the most people.

When the Taliban took over power in Afghanistan, Poland accepted around 1,000 refugees. These were not migrants from a culturally close country, but there were no protests and the government did not lose support.

It is clear to anyone who understands the economy and Poland’s demographic problems that there is no other solution. Moreover, Polish society’s view on migrants has changed much in the last few years. Also, among those who vote for the right.

The reason for this is mostly the rise in the standard of living of Poles and shaking off the feeling of “a young migrant from a foreign country taking my job.”. For the last few years, Poles have become accustomed to foreigners living alongside them. There is no issue with them, and they often diligently carry out work which Poles are not so keen on doing.

Although Poles do not recognize them on the streets because they look just like them, they do recognize their accents and it has not aroused any negative emotions. The owners of construction, industrial and service companies know this the best. Without workers from the East, they would often be forced to shut down their businesses. This will not change in the upcoming years, and Poland will need foreigners even more.

If Poles want their economic boom to continue, then it will be crucial to gain more workers. It will be necessary for those people to settle in Poland, pay insurance, taxes, take out loans and blend into the Polish social-economic bloodstream.

Some experts believe that Poland should even begin a great offensive to attract foreign students to Polish universities, so that some of them will remain here and build a network throughout the world which will be used by future Polish entrepreneurs and scientists.

Poland must bring in migrants who will build Polish wealth and support the country’s development, but this must be done sensibly. This is a strategic issue with which many different governments will have to grapple with. It would be good to discuss this matter publicly and reach some sort of consensus.

Poland must clearly define its aims and build appropriate infrastructure. What is happening today is more of a spontaneous process, which, if not guided properly, may end in the same issues that we see in Germany, France or Scandinavia.

Poland must have the courage to say: we will accept migrants, but those that our economy needs, those who either come from cultural circles close to ours or will outright state (and be checked) that they will respect Polish law and values.

Yet, Poles must also be prepared for the arrival of persecuted refugees or ones from war-torn countries who simply have to be aided — both due to political and humanitarian reasons. Poland can no longer be the country which always refuses and does not want to share responsibility if it wants to have any influence over European affairs.

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