Note the idea that it makes good sense that workers can nomadically move from country-to-country for work and return, maybe, if the home country's economy gets better.
There is no discussion of:
- Costs to home country : 1) affect on families , 2) social effects of large numbers of split families.
- Effects on emigrated-to countries 1) lower wages for it's own citizens 2) opportunities for citizens decreased.
- Cost of short term workers for medical/educational/social services. Frequently off-the-books so the cost is borne by local citizens. So how much cheaper is the worker? To employer, MUCH cheaper, but to the overall society there is significant additional cost.
- Race-to-the bottom - where does the process end when there is always some country with cheaper skills. What happens if Phillipine workers replace the Polish workers because they are cheaper? What will the Polish worker do ?
- Social unrest caused by nomadic worker model all over the world. This is an untenable model for the long-term.
Strong Economy and Labor Shortages Are Luring Polish Immigrants Back Home
WARSAW — For a long time, Germany has been good to Katarzyna, a 28-year-old Polish woman who works in a pharmacy in Frankfurt during the day and cleans houses in the evenings.
In six years, she has earned enough money to buy a sporty Audi and an apartment in Poland, while still having enough cash to travel widely in Europe. Millions of other Poles made similar moves from their home country, especially in the four years since Poland joined the European Union. But now a strong economy in Poland, and an increasingly acute labor shortage, are beckoning migrants like Katarzyna back. She is moving to Warsaw in July.
“All I wanted to do was earn good money fast,” said Katarzyna, who asked that her last name not be used because she is often paid off the books. “Now that everyone has emigrated from Poland, maybe I can do it there.” (loyalty to the new country is as strong as the economic advantage and lasts as long. No indication that numbers of 'migrants' want to stay long-term)
Although the reverse migration is still only a trickle, it is likely to create opportunities and challenges for the Polish government. The return should help ease the labor shortage, especially in crucial sectors like construction and building trades. But Polish officials also worry about there being enough quality jobs if the trickle becomes a rush.
In addition, migrants sent 40 billion zlotys, or about $18 billion, home in 2007, and the infusion of money would surely increase if more Poles returned permanently with their accumulated savings. Beyond that, there could be an intangible benefit from the influx of people with firsthand knowledge of the advanced economies west of Poland. (they already say that most migrants have worked manual jobs , gaining nothing about 'advanced economies')
“They bring back skills, but in a tricky sense,” said Rafal Antczak, a professor of economics at Warsaw University. “Many of these people have been doing very simple jobs, working in hotels or restaurants. But they bring back experience — life experience.”
So far this decade, about two million Poles have left their home country. Working as bartenders in Britain, builders in Ireland, cleaners in Germany and in other often menial jobs, young Poles, many from the country’s impoverished east, earned euros and pounds that they sent back to Poland or squirreled away.
Meanwhile, the Polish economy, racing to catch up with Western living standards, has driven unemployment down sharply in the past few years. And the zloty has risen against the pound and the euro, dampening the appeal of working abroad.
Driven by economic necessity, the Polish government is beginning a major effort to pave the way for migrants to return. It has sponsored advertising campaigns abroad and set up Internet-based job banks.
“Four years ago the debate was on the advantages of migration and what the government could do to make it possible for Poles to work all over Europe,” said Justyna Frelak, a migration specialist at the Institute for Public Affairs in Warsaw. “Now we are talking about the costs of migration, for family, for children, for Poles abroad, and about the labor shortages that result.”
(Just like Mexico the Polish gov't encouraged people to leave.)
Since 2006, unemployment in Poland has dropped to about 8 percent from about 14 percent, and the economy has grown at a steady clip — 6.5 percent in 2007.
With billions in European Union money pouring into the country, largely earmarked for infrastructure projects, desperation defines the state of building companies looking for help.
J. W. Construction — itself founded by a Pole who returned from the United States — brought in laborers from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, China, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Mexico in the past few years. Now, its executives hope that Polish plumbers, electricians and carpenters will return as housing bubbles pop in Britain, Ireland and Spain, reducing work opportunities.
“There is a growing expectation that people are going to start coming back,” said Jerzy Zdrzalka, the company’s chief executive. “It is linked to the stagnation of the construction industry in Western Europe.”
(Poland cannot grow as an 'island' in a sea of European economic stagnation)
The pioneers of reverse migration are not yet visible in statistics. But across Europe, the possibility of returning to Poland is now the talk of the diaspora, a group knit together by low-cost airlines, cheap cellphones and the Internet.
Sporting turquoise earrings and a matching clunky necklace, and just back from a Bon Jovi concert, Katarzyna can hardly be distinguished from the average 20something West European.
Working in Frankfurt, she grew accustomed to earning more than the average wage back home in Bialystok, in eastern Poland.
She hopes the German and English she picked up abroad will help her get a job in retailing or banking, which she studied before leaving Poland.
She added that the strong zloty had helped tip the balance in favor of returning, a common sentiment among Poles who are returning or thinking about it. Questions remain, however, about how the new qualifications of returnees will mesh with the needs of the Polish economy.
Responding to the challenge of post-communist restructuring, the government authorized the creation of private universities in the 1990s that, it is widely believed, conferred many degrees of questionable integrity. This generation of graduates became the one that emigrated heavily after 2004, often forsaking professional work for manual labor.
('degrees of questionable integrity' ... this same underreported phenomenon has happened all over the world, particularly in the Far East Asian countries)
“The economy does not need people trained in banking who worked in a London pub,” said Krystyna Iglicka, a migration specialist at the Center for International Relations in Warsaw.
So reverse migration will probably be much more gradual than the sudden outflow from Poland. Word will quickly spread if life back home does not live up to expectations.
“It will not be a sudden process,” said Jerzy Dusynski, the Polish deputy minister of science and education. “But if we can create the opportunities for them, they will come back.”
Marcin Zochowski, 28, worked for a year in Scotland as a carpet layer and sometime carpenter before heading home to Warsaw. Thanks to flights on Wizz Air, one of Europe’s many low-cost airlines, Mr. Zochowski expects to work occasionally in Britain or Ireland, but also in Poland, seeking to maximize his earnings as well as his time with his wife and 19-month-old daughter.
Because he works in construction, he sees ample opportunities, not least because all of Europe, not only Poland, appeals to him.
“I will travel back and forth for work, but it will depend on what I find,” Mr. Zochowski said. “I have a family, so it makes sense to work a month and then come back.”