Ukrainian workforce will leave Poland?
Economic experts are quite certain: 2019 will be a tough year for the business owners relying on foreign staff. Germany is opening its labour market to workers from outside the European Union, which is likely to result in a large outflux of Ukrainian workers who currently live in Poland, as German companies in general offer more attractive employment terms and wages. Polish economy relies heavily on workers from Eastern Europe. 81 percent of work permits issued by Polish authorities go to Ukrainians. Entrepreneurs should brace themselves for trouble.
Today, there are over 440 thousand Ukrainian citizens working in Poland. Work Service, a big Polish employment agency predicts that as much as 60 percent of them will choose Germany as their next destination. Even though wages in Poland are rising, they still cannot compare with the renumeration Germany is offering. Grant Thornton estimates that it will take another 50 years before German and Polish salaries will be on a par. According to Eurostat, the average monthly salary in Poland is 982 euro, while in Germany it is 3900 euro.
Experts warn that the outflow of workforce will translate into lower economic development and curbed investment. Half a million people leaving Poland may result in 1.6 percentage point lower GDP growth, according to the opinion of Entrepreneurs and Employers’ Association. The association calls for a new, unified migration policy for Polish labour market and simplified procedure for employing Ukrainians.
What may come as a surprise, it not only the country to the west of Poland that is chosen as destination by workers from Eastern Europe. Polish businesses also have to compete with their Slovak and Czech counterparts. Czech Republic and Slovakia have recently laxed their work permit requirements. Ukrainians in Czech Republic may stay and work there for two years. In comparison, a Ukrainian citizen may legally work in Poland only for 6 consecutive months.