The majority of Polish migrants arriving in Britain plan to stay permanently, research has revealed.
The finding undermines official suggestions that many Eastern Europeans in the UK are short-term visitors with no intention of remaining. A study found more than half those arriving to work want to stay for at least four years - and many plan to remain indefinitely. The long-term nature of Eastern European immigration was underlined by the finding that four out of ten recent arrivals have brought family members over with them. The survey, carried out at British ports and stations by a Warsaw-based market research firm, indicated that more than 300,000 Poles could stay permanently.
This contrasts sharply with the figure of 13,000 migrants predicted by the Home Office when Poland and seven other countries joined the European Union in April 2004. Whitehall and local authorities have been unprepared for the scale of the migration - and its impact on public services such as schools and the Health Service. Rising migrant numbers are also piling the pressure on social housing - where the allocation of subsidized homes to recent arrivals has provoked tension among existing residents - and on the commercial housing market.
ARC Market and Opinion, which surveyed 1,389 Poles at bus stations and airports, found that only 45% planned to go home within four years. Of that figure, 45% said they planned to stay at least five years in Britain before returning, and 10% said they would settle in Britain for good. But Piotr Juszczyk, the analyst who ran the study, said those who stay for five years are unlikely ever to go home. “Immigrants who have established themselves are less inclined to leave and the longer they stay, the less likely is that they will ever return,” he said. “Five years is the usual limit.” “There is a very populous and tight-knit Polish community in Britain now, as it is natural for immigrants to stick together.” “According to our data, over 40% of the Poles who recently moved to Britain for work have already brought one or more members of their families to live with them in their new homes.”
The study found that the average Pole in Britain earns £1,500 ($3000) a month after tax and deductions - several times the pay for similar work in Polish cities. Juszczyk said: “There is no way to establish the exact number of migrants, but it is clear the trend is still going strong.” “Poles working in Britain earn much more than they would in Poland, where in some parts it is difficult to get well-paid jobs.”
Polish ministers have begun to complain of shortages of labor. Around 1.5 million workers are thought to have left Poland since it joined the EU, and 600,000 are believed to be in Britain. Sir Andrew Green, of the MigrationWatch pressure group, said: "This looks like strong evidence that at least half the huge number of Polish immigrants who have arrived in the last couple of years intend to stay for five years or more. It also suggests that they are bringing dependants with them. “All this has to be factored in to the supply of schools, hospitals and housing.” Robert Whelan, of the Civitas think-tank, added: “This report records only what people say at the port of entry.” “Once they have been here for a year or two and got used to the standard of living, which is much higher than in Poland, many of those who say they will go are likely to stay.” A spokesman for the Home Office said: “Poland is part of the European Union and as such Poles have freedom of movement across the member states.” “There are legitimate concerns about managing the effects of migration and we are listening to those concerns.” “That is why we have established limits and quotas on immigration from the two newest EU countries, Romania and Bulgaria.” (dailymail.co.uk)