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Eastern immigrants to fill labour gap in Poland?

The government plans to include incentives for Ukrainians, Belarusians and Vietnamese citizens to apply for employment in Poland to fill labour gap.

Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that encouraging, for example, Ukrainians to come to Poland to work is an important pillar of demographic policy and necessary to mitigate the effects of adverse demographic trends.

He said that this is an issue of “fundamental importance for geopolitical reasons”, but also for the current labour market environment.

Why encourage immigrants to seek employment in Poland? The answer to this question lies in demographic forecasts prepared by the Central Statistical Office (GUS). By 2060, the working age population will diminish by 6.7 million compared with 2015. And if the retirement age is lowered, the decrease will amount to as many as eight million people.

Experts argue that the government “500+” programme may only alleviate the problem, rather than eliminate it. Admittedly, apart from reducing household poverty, it is also meant to increase the birth rate, but even if the latter goal is reached, it won’t be enough to reverse the negative trends any time soon. Children born in the near future will only enter the labour market in the mid-2030s.

In the short term, child benefits may even have a negative impact on the labour market, argue analysts at the Centre for Economic Analysis (CenEA). In a recent report, they forecast that in the next few years, as many as 235,000 people may give up their jobs as a result of child benefits they receive.

Groups likely to do so will mostly include women, people with lower or secondary education, and those living in rural areas and towns with populations of less than 100,000. According to Michał Myck, the CenEA director, an inflow of immigrants might mitigate the impacts of such a labour drain.

“People likely to give up employment over the 500+ scheme are mostly in rather low paid jobs. For them, the child benefit will account for a sizeable part of income and so it will significantly influence their decisions. These are exactly the kinds of jobs often taken up in Poland by immigrants from the East,” says Myck.

He points to CenEA studies showing that people likely to quit work will include those for whom employment is largely connected with their financial situation and for whom this “financial urge” will recede after the payment of child benefits.

“If in such circumstances new workers didn’t enter the labour market, it would add pressure to raise wages in jobs that are low paid today,” Myck says. (rg)

Source: Dziennik Gazeta Prawna,

Author: The Migration Bureau

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