Narodowy Bank Polski


Publications about migration inflows and outflows

Migration flows are an important factor that influences Polish economy. Selected reports from the surveys carried out by the National Bank of Poland are presented below.

[2019-10-17] Information from surveys of immigrants in Bydgoszcz and Wrocław in 2018 and 2019

The report presents the results of the survey among immigrants from Ukraine carried out in two Polish cities: Wrocław and Bydgoszcz at the end of the year 2018 beginning of 2019. It provides, among others, information on the conditions for stabilizing the stay of immigrants in Poland.

Main conclusions:

  • The significant the pay gap between Ukrainian and Polish labour market remains as the main motive of migration, but much less significant than in 2014-2016 is the lack of work in Ukraine, which reflects the improving situation on the labour market of our neighbour.
  • Circular migration based on work in Poland and frequent, temporary returns to Ukraine is the main immigration strategy among employees from Ukraine. Such pattern of migration is very often not a choice but a compulsion related to the relative ease of obtaining visas for a short stay compared to long-stay visas.
  • Immigrants are increasingly interested in obtaining the right to stabilize their stay in Poland, as evidenced by their declarations and changes in the structure of visas held over time. At the same time, the difficulties in obtaining the long-stay visa is the most common problem that immigrants complain about.
  • The profile of people coming to Poland is changing rapidly compared to the early years of migration. Recently immigrants come much more often from central and eastern Ukraine and from medium and large cities. The decision to migrate is also made by younger persons without previous experiences with work in Poland. This is due to the attractiveness of the Polish labour market, but also to the growing importance of migration networks in Poland and the activity of employment agencies.
  • The share of people declaring plans to travel abroad in two years ranged from 15% in Wrocław to 27% in Bydgoszcz. Of those interested in further migration, around 60% declared that Germany would be the destination country. On the other hand, only slightly more than 10% of immigrants imagine that in five years they will live in a country other than Poland or Ukraine. The declared willingness to emigrate further decreases along with the length of stay in Poland. It is also influenced by the specificity of the region.
  • Compared to previous studies, the differences between hourly wages of Polish and Ukrainian employees are smaller. In 2018, the average hourly wages of immigrants were about 20% lower than Poles, of which around 8-12pp. could be explained by inferior qualifications and occupations in which immigrants work.
  • The frequency and volume of remittances depends on the situation of immigrants. The majority of immigrants (approx. 55%) transferred money to Ukraine.

[2019-07-25] Polish citizens working abroad in 2018. Report of the survey

This report presents selected results of questionnaire surveys of emigrants from Poland in Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Norway carried out in November and December 2018 for the needs of NBP.

The next round of the bi-annual survey of the Polish emigrants abroad provides the information about the labour force status of the Polish emigrants on the foreign labour markets, motivations influencing their stay abroad and remittances. In 2018 there are two special topics. The first is the perception of Great Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) by the Polish immigrants in this country. The second is the characteristics of the Polish emigrants in Norway – new country in the survey with recently fast growing number of Polish citizens. This edition of the report focuses among others on the following questions, important for the analysis of the recent trends in emigration of Polish citizens:

  1. What is the influence of the record low unemployment rate in Poland?
  2. What are the factors that influence plans of further stay abroad and the level of the remittances?
  3. What are the characteristic features and motivations of Polish emigrants in Norway?
  4. Has brexit referendum changed the situation and migration strategies of Polish citizens in the UK?
In a nutshell, the results of the survey indicate that the record low unemployment in Poland has reduced the outflow of new emigrants to major emigration countries such as Great Britain and Germany, although new, niche destinations such as Norway have emerged. The difference in net wages in Poland and abroad is still the most important motivation for emigration and stay. The median wages (middle wages) in all four countries are nominally around twice as high as in Poland, and modes (the most frequent wages) are 2.0-3.6 times higher than in Poland. Nevertheless, around 15% of migrants are determined to return to Poland in the future regardless of the level of remuneration. The economic upswing in the Polish economy has been also behind the significant reduction in the percentage of emigrants planning to remain abroad permanently. Instead, more immigrants plan to return to Poland in the future, but after 3 years or more.

In line with the length of emigration, the tendency to transfer money to Poland decreases, although this specificity varies between countries. The number of Polish citizens in Norway has recently increased. This emigration consist mainly of people in the prime-age, with secondary education, who relatively often transfer money to Poland and quite rarely use social benefits. Emigrants from Poland in the United Kingdom are on average the best educated group in comparison with emigrants in other countries covered by the survey. In addition, only 10% of respondents in the UK declared shortening their planned stay in this country due to the consequences of the brexit referendum. The vast majority of these emigrants (85%) fulfill the required conditions for staying in Britain after brexit but they need to complete a relatively simple administrative procedure.

Polish citizens working abroad in 2016. Report of the survey

This report presents selected results of questionnaire surveys of emigrants from Po-land in Great Britain, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands performed in November and December 2016 for the needs of NBP.

These surveys represent a unique source of information concerning the position of emigrants from Poland in foreign labour markets and their links with the country, including remittances to Poland. A special issue is the impact of Great Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) on emigrants’ life plans. In brief, the report responds to the following research questions significant in terms of current migration trends:

  1. Is temporary emigration turning into settlement emigration and what are the con-sequences?
  2. To what extent do differences in wages and the labour market situation between Poland and the countries of Western Europe influence decisions on emigration?
  3. How are the preferences of emigrants from Poland regarding remittances chang-ing?
  4. What are the consequences of the “Brexit” referendum in Great Britain?

Ukrainian citizens working in Poland – report from the survey conducted in 2017

Ukrainian citizens working in Poland – report from the survey conducted in 2015

Remittances from Polish citizens abroad – analysis based on the NBP survey among emigrants

Report from the survey among immigrants in Poland presented during the NBP seminar: „Methods of the measuring economic activity of immigrants in Poland. Chances and limitations”

Article: “Settlers and Guests – Determinants of the Plans of Return Migration from UK and Ireland to Poland in the Period 2007-2009”

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