Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum

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Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum
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Poles in Britain

From the BBC

Almost every community in Scotland now has a Polish presence.

Hundreds of thousands of young, economically active Poles have left their country and headed west.

The reasons for this are well known. Poland has suffered from high unemployment and low wages. Countries like the UK offer better salaries and a job market struggling to fill a skills shortage.

But for the families left behind, separation from their loved ones is difficult.

In the city of Lodz, I met up with the Napiorkofski family as they gathered at home.

In the house were father Marek, mother Lilianna and daughter Marta. But someone was missing. Another daughter is making her living in the Highland capital of Inverness.

Janna is in her mid 20s and has a masters degree. Until last year she was working as a teacher in her home town, but despite her qualifications, she was poorly paid.

Now she works in an Inverness clothing store.

Janna said: "I worked with teenagers as a Polish teacher but I earned very little money, about £150 a month. Even in Poland those are very poor wages so I decided to go abroad to earn some money."

'Very, very sad'

Janna's family recognise the advantages of leaving Poland, but economics doesn't stop you missing your daughter.

Janna's mother said: "Despite the telephone or that we can see each other on the webcam it isn't the same as having close contact. Especially when I knew Janna was ill and I couldn't just go to see her and help. It's very, very sad."

Still at home in Lodz is Marta. She is also a teacher but has chosen to stay in Poland. As she flicks through a photo album of her high school she points to many of her former classmates who now live abroad.

Marta is planning a reunion and she has been told most of her friends will be there, even those living outside Poland have promised to come.

For her it will be an emotional occasion. It depresses her that so many young Poles have decided to live away from home.

Marta said: "They don't have any choice. It is sad because we should have a chance to live the way we want to live and that is impossible in Poland for many. I don't like it."

The experience of the Napiorkofski family has been repeated many thousands of times since Poland joined the European Union in 2004.

Re: Poles in Britain

This will undoubtedly change the face of Great Britain in years to come…

Re: Poles in Britain

Hopefully for the better.

Northern Europeans tend to assimilate very well after a generation.