A report in today’s Times says that Poles are now leaving Britain faster than they are arriving – according to 3rd quarter data from the migrant workers’ register and more recent informal if informed assessments.
The reasons: the tightening UK economy; the weakening pound (and strong zloty); and a surge in the Polish economy, which has pushed up wages there.
Poles represent two-thirds of all work registrations in the UK from the Eastern European EU accession states. There’s a telling quote in the report from a Polish painter who has been working in the UK:
“Two years ago I could make five times the amount of money here than I could in Poland. Now the wages are about the same and the living costs in the UK are much higher. There is a lot of work in Poland, probably more than in the UK. It’s a good time to go back. The feeling is: why be away from your family and your home-land for no reason?”
This is in line with some EBRD research I blogged about – and may cause the ONS to revise their population forecasts, which are heavily influenced by migration predictions.