Polish Workers Not Racing Back to the UK
Contrary to recent reports in the media , Europe Solutions can’t find any evidence of a large return of Polish workers to the UK. In fact according to the Office for National Statistics, Polish migrants in the UK dropped by 30% to June 2010 compared to the previous year. However, WRS applications are increasing from other A8 nationalities e.g. Latvia and Lithuania; they now comprise 50% of all applications, a sharp rise. Overall, total WRS applications are down 12% year on year.
It’s now a level playing field across the EU for contract workers. Marc van Ling, Director of Europe Solutions, states, ‘We’re getting applicants from Poland for jobs in the UK but when wages are calculated into zloty many skilled workers decide to stay put or accept offers in the euro zone. There are enough applications for unskilled jobs but skilled workers e.g. welders and engineers are in demand all over the EU so we have widened our talent pool to the Baltic States as well. Many clients are coming back to us as they’re seeing business pick up, but they want to pay rates they were paying two years ago. This is no longer achievable with the current labour pool.’
According to the HR Magazine Oct 2010, ‘Employers are seeking to expand their temporary agency workforce in the short and medium terms.’ Polish and other skilled European workers continue to look abroad for contracts that are lucrative and justify the relocation. UK employers can still utilise EU workers’ skills for contract work as their mobility and flexibility makes them an effective choice for new contract wins and temporary increases in orders.