Polish job fair in London to lure back Poles discouraged by Brexit

Polish job fair in London to lure back Poles discouraged by Brexit

WARSAW, (Rahnuma): The Polish government is organizing on Sunday in London a job fair targeting Poles in Britain who feel their future is threatened by Brexit and are considering returning home.

“There are still many unknowns related to Brexit. Poles living in the UK can therefore feel worried about what their living and working conditions will look like,” Polish Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology Jadwiga Emilewicz said in an announcement of the job fair on the website of her ministry.

“Meanwhile, the situation on the Polish labor market is the best in years and the Polish economy is developing at the fastest pace in Europe. This is a good moment to consider returning to the home country. Our job fair can help in this decision,” Emilewicz said.

The job fair, taking place at the Queen Elisabeth II Center in London throughout Sunday, is hosted by the Polish Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology, the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy, and the Polish Investment and Trade Agency.

Tens of Polish companies and multinationals hiring in Poland are scheduled to take part, including Orange, Siemens, IBM, Budimex, Credit Suisse and Johnson & Johnson.

Their target are the approximately one million Polish people living in Britain, where Poles account for the largest group of foreign nationals and Polish is the second most widely spoken language after English.

“We are looking for over five hundred people, mainly with experience in rail telecommunications and the energy sector. In our opinion, the Polish workplace environment will be much friendlier and more stable for Polish people than the UK is,” Michal Wrzosek, spokesman for Budimex, one of the largest Polish construction companies, which is attending the fair, told Xinhua.

“All our workers have normal labor contracts and health insurance, and benefit additionally from trainings and bonuses. Talented and committed entry-level people can quickly advance,” said Wrzosek, whose company currently employs 5,000 people and cooperates with 15,000 contractors annually.

The unemployment rate is currently below 6 percent in Poland, having dropped to almost half since 2015, according to data from the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology. In the same period, the average wage increased by 700 Polish zloty (180 U.S. dollars).

Polish employers report struggling to find workers, especially for “blue collar” jobs in production, construction or hospitality. The Polish National Bank estimates that there are about 1.2 million Ukrainian workers currently in Poland, but even this is not enough to cover the labor shortage.

“In many professions, the labor market today belongs to the employee, who has an increasing impact on labor conditions,” Polish Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy Elzbieta Rafalska said in the announcement of the job fair.

“We attach great importance to supporting families. Thanks to such programs as 500+, Good Start, Large Family Card or Maluch+, the family has become the center of state social policy. All this means that the decision to return to Poland might be easier, even if I realize that the return after many years of emigration can come with uncertainty,” Rafalska said.

While evidence about how many Poles in the UK are returning or want to return on account of Brexit remains mostly anecdotal, a survey among UK-based Polish business owners conducted this year by Polish Business Link showed almost half of them were considering leaving because of Brexit.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has encouraged Poles to come back, citing low unemployment and high economic growth.

“More and more are coming back and I’m pleased about that because there is a low level of unemployment. Give us our people back,” Morawiecki told British broadcaster BBC in January.

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