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Great Britain attracts Eastern Europeans


Beginning May 2004 447,000 of Eastern Europeans from new EU member countries rushed to Great Britain for earnings. As authorities think, their quantity can reach 600,000.

Immigrants from Eastern Europe have worked in Great Britain in the so called “black market”, mainly in construction, British authorities claim.

The number of Eastern Europeans that set out for Great Britain in search of better wages approaches half a million people due to illegally working builders, notes Tony McNulty, Minister of State.

62% of guest workers from Eastern Europe are Poles.

According to the information of the government, the influx of immigrants allows to fill in gaps in the country labour market, especially in the spheres of administrative management, commerce and service. The last one is particularly striking, because cafes and restaurants hire more and more Polish waiters.

Extra work for social security agencies

The last report of Home Office shows that officially registered immigrants brought to Great Britain 36,000 members of their families. Legal workers pay taxes, but handle public funds of the social security common. At the moment the British have already granted 27,000 applications for benefits for children.

Besides, expenses of self-government increase. However, taking into account that the average age of immigrants is not less than 30 years old, authorities think that their tax contribution is more significant than expenses for medical aid, education, etc. To tell the truth, the appropriate statistics have not been published yet.

The government of Great Britain assumed that the influx of immigrants from new EU member countries would make 15,000 people a year.

Now rates of foreign work force growth do not prove retardation, since from March to June of this year more than 50,000 Eastern Europeans registered in Britain.

Parliamentary opposition in Poland even prepares a bill to return emigrated Poles home.

When eight countries of Eastern Europe joined the European Union on May 1, 2004, Great Britain was one of the three EU veterans that made their labour markets available without any limitations.


McNulty points out that next year more than half a million Eastern Europeans who came to Great Britain will also accept immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, countries that are going to join the European Union. 

Alistair Darling, President of the Board of Trade, made it clear that with the next EU enlargement the government can impose restrictions and give up open door policy.

The government has not made an official decision yet how to react to Romania and Bulgaria joining the EU, but the opposition demands limitations taking into consideration unprecedented amount of immigrants.

Drift of labour force into Great Britain

• For two years 447,000 people from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia officially came to work.
• 62% of them are Poles.
• For two years 5110 Estonians officially went to Great Britain to work.
• 82% belong to age group of 18-34.
• 56% earn their living at factories.
• Most guest workers from Eastern Europe are located in England.

Source: Home Office of Great Britain

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