Many Polish migrant essential workers likely to leave UK, return home

A third of Polish essential workers plan to leave or are undecided about staying in the UK because of such factors as discrimination at work and feeling unwelcome following Brexit and Covid-19 epidemic, a survey carried out by UK academics has shown.

According to the study, unsafe working conditions, low pay and insecure jobs have also been given as the reason.

The research was carried out by academics from Middlesex University, the University of Glasgow and the University of Sheffield. 

They surveyed 1,105 Polish essential workers and interviewed 40 of the respondents who work in industries such as health and social care, transport, education and childcare, utility services and the production of goods.

A total of 28 percent believed they were discriminated against in the workplace, with Polish health and social care employees claiming they were treated unequally compared to other migrants.

More than half of the respondents (55 percent) stated that their mental wellbeing deteriorated either significantly (31 percent) or somewhat (24 percent) during the pandemic, while 40.2 percent of Polish migrant essential workers surveyed became financially worse off.

In 2016 and in early 2017, namely, before a Brexit referendum and immediately after, there were about one million Polish nationals living in the UK but the number is now thought to be closer to 700,000.