Million foreigner workers help Polish economy - minister

The labour minister has said that the million foreigners now working in Poland were filling labour shortages and do not take jobs away from Poles.

Marlena Malag was responding to information released on Tuesday, by the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS). It wrote on Twitter that the number of foreigners registered for social insurance in Poland now stood at over a million.

"At the end of the first half of 2022, social insurance contributions were paid by more than 1.011 million foreigners, of which 729,000 were Ukrainian citizens," ZUS tweeted.

Ukrainian war refugees, Malag said, were among the foreigners working, and that State Labour Inspectorate investigations had shown that employment of foreigners was in line with the Labour Code.

"It's a supplement and can be a positive stimulus for the Polish economy, primarily in view of strategic investments, or the huge funds that have reached local governments to carry out various tasks that will rebuild Poland after the pandemic," Malag said in reference to the number of foreigners. "Workers are needed, foreigners complement the labour market, rather than taking work away from Poles."

Malag also said government policy had managed to keep unemployment down.

Last week the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy reported that the registered unemployed rate stood at 4.9 percent at end-June, 0.2 percentage points lower than in May. According to the ministry's data, 819,700 people were registered unemployed at Poland's labour offices in June.

Malag said that "record low unemployment" was the result of state intervention during the Covid-19 pandemic and the "hundreds of billions of zloties that went to save jobs."

"We protected the labour market and this is the result of that," she said, adding that the current unemployment rate is the lowest for 32 years. "We are also a leader in Europe. We are the country with the second lowest unemployment."