Number of work permits for foreigners up 30 times since 2004

Most of the immigrants from the East find employment in Poland's construction industry. Artur Reszko/PAP

Over 400,000 work permits were issued for foreigners in Poland in 2020, 10 times more than in 2010 and 30 times more than in 2004, when Poland joined the European Union, research has found.

At the same time, the number of work permits granted to foreigners in Poland in 2020 fell by 9 percent, compared to 2019, from 444,000 to 406,000, according to research by the Gdańsk University of Technology.

Ukrainians constitute the largest group of all economic immigrants in Poland. In 2020, the number of employees from Ukraine who received work permits amounted to 295,000, which was 20 times more than in 2010.

The study also found that since 2004, the number of Uzbekistani workers has increased the most in Poland, from five to almost 6,000.

On the other hand, citizens of the Baltic countries are less willing to seek employment in Poland.

"While it is true that the overall number of permits issued decreased (in 2020) compared to the previous year, many more have been issued for some countries, for example for citizens of Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan," said the study.

Other minorities that received work permits were 27,000 Belarusians, 8,000 Georgians and 7,600 Moldovans.

The high number of Belarusians reflects the fact that Poland has recently become the first destination of choice for economic migration for Belarusians.

Most of the immigrants from the East find employment in Poland's construction industry. Many also work as warehouse workers, mechanics, beauticians, drivers and household helpers.

The situation is different in the case of Russians, who rarely become salaried workers, the research also shows. Most often they find work in the service sector, not as regular employees, but as management. Many also work as in the IT industry and as artists.