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Germany losing favour among Polish migrant workers: ministry


Poles are turning their noses up at farm jobs in neighbouring Germany
in favour of better-paid work in countries including Britain and
Spain, the Polish labour ministry said Monday.

Germany has long been a favoured destination for seasonal farm
labourers from Poland, but the number working there last year fell by
15 percent to 270,000, the ministry said.

The decrease came after several successive annual rises, from 263,000
in 2001 to 315,000 in 2005.

Poles appear to have been turned off by comparatively low wages in
Germany, where they make between four to six euros (5.35 - eight
dollars) an hour.

In contrast, they can command the equivalent of eight euros (10.70
dollars) an hour as farm workers in Britain, where many are also
seeking even better paid opportunities in the hospitality and
construction sectors.

Around one million Poles, out of a total population of 38.2 million,
have gone west to look for work since the European Union's "big bang"
expansion brought in 10 new, mostly ex-communist member states in

Germany was among the existing EU members which maintained labour
restrictions for workers from new member states, and is expected to
keep them in place until 2011.

Britain in contrast, threw open its labour markets immediately to
citizens of new member states, and an estimated 600,000 Poles have
headed there since 2004.

Last year alone, 160,000 people from Poland, which has the highest
rate of unemployment in the 27-nation EU, applied for work permits in
Britain. In 2005, the figure was 130,000, according to the Polish
labour ministry.

Poles have also taken advantage of greater flexibility in other EU
member states, including Finland, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain,
which eased their restrictions in 2006.

In Spain, for example, the number of Polish workers jumped by 20.0
percent in the second half of 2006, from 40,000 to 48,000.

Re: Germany losing favour among Polish migrant workers: ministry

A good thing for Germany maybe?