Published: 05.01.2022
Author:Anatoliy Zymnin
Anatoliy Zymnin
05.01.2022
EWL in Media | News

Polish Radio: Foreign workers thrive in Poland amid pandemic: experts [AUDIO]

The coronavirus pandemic has had little impact on Poland’s foreign labour force, experts say.

In some sectors the demand for employees from abroad increased in 2021 as the country’s job market rebounded from the depths of the COVID-19 crisis.

Michał Owczarek looks back on another pandemic year in an interview with Rafał Mróz of the EWL employment agency.

Click on the audio player above to listen.

Transcript:

Expert:

The situation in this matter is much calmer now than it was in 2020. Everybody got used to all pandemic issues. We have vaccinations, so right now the situation is much better for employees, for agencies and for employees from Eastern Europe as well.

Reporter:

Can we get down to some numbers? How many foreign workers worked in early 2020 in Poland and how many of them returned to their homes after the outbreak of the pandemic? And how many then returned to Poland?

Expert:

Unfortunately, we do not have precise data, but we know for sure, ZUS – Polish social insurance agency is giving us this number – that the number of people from Eastern Europe increased 35% in June 2020 and June 2021, so we observed that there are far more people from these countries. They are still interested in this direction and we assume that it will only be better, that the number of these people will increase.

Reporter:

Are the foreign workers entitled to any Covid-19 tests and how can they actually cope with the virus if they got infected?

Expert:

They can cope with the virus the same way as Polish people, so they have all services Polish people get. Of course, there are some   implemented by the Polish government. So, people need to go for 14 days of quarantine, it is pretty difficult to enter Poland, but after this first period they can work easily without any problems.

Reporter:

Who is suffering more from the pandemic as far as the labour market is concerned, Polish employers or foreign employees? I mean, who wants who more?

Expert:

I think that they want each other the same way. So, people from Eastern Europe and not only from Eastern Europe, but from abroad, are willing to work in Poland. And the needs are huge, so Polish employers are looking for workforce all the time. And right now, even, the number of needs is increasing because the automotive sector has huge needs so they need each other the same way

Reporter:

Since 2020, have there been any new bills, new laws that would keep foreign workers in Poland because Poland might be getting less and less competitive compared to neighbouring countries. Any new laws to bring more foreign workers to Poland?

Expert:

The first good decision of the Polish government in this area was the extension of visas till the end of the pandemic situation. It was in 2020. Right now, we are waiting only for the signature of the Polish president and this law will extend permission for work for people up to 24 months, from 6. So, it will give a boost for this sector for sure. There will be more interested people from Ukraine and other Eastern countries in moving to Poland, so this is a huge change. There is also another decision which changed a little bit the law according to the medical staff, and what we can see right now is more and more nurses, doctors in Polish hospitals and it also was a change according to the pandemic situation, which had a huge positive impact on the situation in Poland in this area.

Reporter:

And when do you expect this bill to be actually signed into law?

Expert:

Immediately, it came to the Polish parliament and right now it’s only days, maximum two, three weeks maybe, to have it in force.

Reporter:

What are the main obstacles, problems for foreign workers to actually come to Poland and start working?

Expert:

They need a statement and Polish agencies gave it for maximum six months, so it causes a lot of trouble in agencies, a lot of procedures. So right now, with the extension from 6 to 24 months, it means that there will be less administration procedures and that the whole flow will be much faster and employees will be able to stay in Poland for 24 months without any additional decision. So, it means a huge change for them. They don’t have to go back to their countries to get a visa again and then to try to get the next statement for the next period of time. So, it’s a huge change

Reporter:

Have you got any predictions for the coming year about some trends on the Polish labour market? Any problems that can be expected? For example, in the UK they experienced a shortage of lorry drivers and then a bit of shortages on the shop shelves.

Expert:

The UK did everything they could to move these people out of the UK. That’s why they have huge problems right now. The situation in Poland is completely different. We are doing more to attract more people to come here, as I said before about the medical staff. So, I’m sure that we will not have as big trouble as the UK had with, for example, lorry drivers. The trend will be the same, so we will have more and more interested employers in moving people from other countries because of the reason of inefficient number of Polish employees. We are moving people from four continent. We are looking for new markets, for new countries right now. We are opening also our branches in Romania, Czech Republic, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands because migration is our future right now and more and more countries will be interested in changing the law to make it easier for people from other countries to move to their countries and to work, to stay.

 

Source: Polish Radio

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