More foreigners working in Poland despite pandemic

The number of foreigners working in Poland is on the rise with about 800,000 of them now legally employed in the country, up by 127,000 on the pre-pandemic era.

Despite the growing numbers the government wants to streamline regulations to attract even more foreigners, the Rzeczpospolita newspaper reported.

Most of the foreigners are Ukrainians coming to Poland for short periods of time under simplified procedures, the paper wrote on Thursday.

The number of foreigners registered with the mandatory social insurance system, ZUS, reached 797,000 at the end of May 2021, which is 127,000 more than before the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is worth noting that at the same time the total number of people registered with the Polish social insurance system increased by 124,000," the daily wrote. "This shows that the growth reflects the increase in the number of employed foreigners.

"Meanwhile, the number of mandatory health insurance payers rose by 110,000 as of end-May and reached 2.82 million," the daily added.

Despite this an increasing number of sectors in the Polish economy are suffering from a lack of workers, said Iwona Michalek, a deputy development and labour minister.

"They include construction, trade and hospitality, and we don't have enough lorry drivers," Michalek commented for the paper.

"That's why the ministry has started working on new regulations on employing foreigners," she continued, adding that the government will reform labour offices and streamline procedures to speed up the issuing of work permits for foreigners.

Encouraging more foreigners to come to Poland could also help the country prop up its ailing pension and healthcare systems, which face severe demographic problems.

Projections show deaths will outnumber births in the coming decades in Poland and the country will have an aging and declining population.