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The number of workers from the East is growing. Ukrainians are no longer enough

We have already got used to the Ukrainian language during everyday shopping, using the services of builders and even in offices. Currently, there are about 2 million of them in Poland, so they constitute the largest group of foreigners. However, the question is whether this situation will last long? Western economies, initially reluctant, are now increasingly turning to workers from the east. They are looking for hundreds of thousands of construction or production workers. 

This may prove to be a serious problem for the Polish economy, as there are already a shortage of workers in many places. According to the Central Statistical Office, only at the end of 2017 there were 120,000 vacancies on the Polish labor market. Hence the growing interest of Polish employers and employment agencies in employees from Far Asia or the former USSR countries.

Exotic workers

Experts believe that the Polish labor market is going to undergo a revolution in the near future. The growing demand for employees from Ukraine in the West forces domestic companies to choose a different direction to look for employees, and so more and more often employees from the East and Asia are attracted. What directions are the most popular? Employees from Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova or Azerbaijan come to us more and more often. The popularity of the Polish direction among the inhabitants of the former Soviet Union results mainly from the distance and smaller cultural differences than in comparison with such countries as Germany, the Netherlands or France. The number of employees from far Asia is also growing. According to data from the Central Statistical Office of Poland, about 30,000 employees of Asian origin currently work in Poland. They mainly comeNepal (7,000 employees), India (4,500), and approx. the workers are from Bangladesh. As in the case of employees from Ukraine, mainly blue-collar workers come. The difference, however, is that many of them are highly skilled. Many welders who are hard to find in Poland come to us from Nepal. Employees from the east, however, are valued especially in the manufacturing industry, where their meticulousness, accuracy and manual skills attract attention.

Facilitated procedure for employing foreigners

Permanent employment agencies and employers press the state authorities to undertake changes in the regulations allowing foreigners to work in Poland. These procedures underwent some changes in early 2018, but are still confusing. In order for such an employee from the East to be able to legally start work, the company must submit declarations to the competent Poviat Labor Office of the declaration of entrusting work to a foreigner. Such a declaration includes, among others: employer’s data, data of the foreigner, period of work (start and end date), type of contract or the anticipated gross remuneration. The offices also require, inter alia, a declaration of good conduct or an identity document. After receiving the complete set of documents, the Labor Office issues a decision and enters the declaration of entrusting work to the declaration register.After receiving the declaration, the employer is obliged to send the original of such declaration to the future employee, thanks to which the employee can obtain a visa enabling legal entry and stay in Poland. If all details are completed, the Employer is also obliged to inform the PUP about signing or resignation from the contract by the foreigner.

As you can see, although the procedure has been simplified, it is still long and complicated. Subsequent changes to the regulations seem only a matter of time.

The influence of employees from the East on the Polish labor market

According to experts, by the end of 2018, there will be approximately 3 million workers from the East on the Polish labor market. Ukrainians are still dominant, but the number of Belarusians, Nepalese and Indians is growing – it is these nations that occupy next positions in terms of the number of employees in Poland. The willingness to employ foreigners results mainly from staff shortages and concerns not only low-qualified construction and production workers, but more and more often also highly-qualified staff. Especially in the IT industry, the number of employed Hindus, who are characterized by meticulousness and accuracy, is growing.  The number of medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, is also growing. The number of female and male students of Eastern and Asian descent at Polish universities is also increasing. Which industries are dominated by foreigners? According to surveys conducted by the Central Statistical Office, foreigners are most often employed in the construction and production industries. The vast majority of workers from the East perform work on the basis of a mandate contract or a specific work contract, and only one in four under an employment contract.

The number of eastern workers will continue to grow

The strategy of sourcing workers from Asia may prove to be the only option that will keep economic growth at an appropriate level. The tendency of Ukrainians to move further to the West is more and more visible. This can be a big problem for Polish companies, hence the growing interest in employees from Belarus, Georgia or more exotic destinations such as Nepal or India. Currently, the Polish government is even negotiating with the government of the Philippines to facilitate the visa process for local workers – encouraging them to come to Poland.