Poland starts campaign to bring back plumbers

The Polish president has launched an advertising campaign to lure home an estimated two million young people who have emigrated abroad.

Focusing mainly on Britain where an estimated 600 000 Poles work, President Lech Kaczynski said he wants to attract as many of his compatriots as possible.

He said: “We must convince the majority of people that their place is in Poland ... the young people who are abroad will be encouraged to return because there are also opportunities for them here.”

Families are being urged to put gentle pressure on offspring and siblings to make the journey back home, while schools have been asked to make space for children born to Polish parents working abroad.

The Labour Minister, Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, said she wants to establish job agencies abroad offering positions in Poland and will send representatives to tell people about opportunities at home.

Since Poland, with a population of 38-million, joined the European Union in 2004, it has lost large parts of its workforce, mainly to Britain and Ireland.

There is now a shortage of doctors, carers, builders and engineers. The shortage has led to widespread strikes as those who have stayed have insisted their low wages have to rise, as well as to a huge rise in costs for building projects, putting strain on plans to improve the country’s poor motorway system.

Earlier this year, even the president complained that he could not find a decorator.
But with unemployment at 15%—and 25% for under-25s—many are sceptical that there are enough jobs for returnees.

A recent study in Britain showed that 60% were keen to return, but that they were hesitant about doing so.

“It is from this 60% that we must concentrate on winning back as many people as possible,” Kaczynski said. His campaign is seen as timed to help the election campaign of the Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is his twin brother, and will appeal to the current revival in patriotism.

Parties are trying to win votes by promising to relax regulations for those trying to set up companies in Poland with their foreign capital, as well as scrapping tax on overseas earnings.

Eighty percent of the Poles who have left are aged between 18 and 32. Often highly qualified, they are seen as vital to the growth of Poland’s economy.—Guardian Unlimited Â

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