Polish Labor-Shortage Concern Eases as Ukrainians Take Up Slack

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The number of foreigners registered in Poland has more than quintupled in the past five years, easing the tension on a labor market grappling with a record shortage of workers.

Two thirds of the more than 600,000 foreigners who are paying contributions to Social Security Office (ZUS) hail from Ukraine, a three-fold increase from half a decade ago, according to end-March data. The number has grown each year, defying concerns that Ukrainians would pass through Poland for richer euro-area countries after the European Union eased the process for them to gain entry.

“Some people predicted there would be more issues on the labor market, including additional pay increases,” central bank Governor Adam Glapinski said Wednesday. “It turned out that companies managed to boost employment, as there are no barriers in either the inflow of local workers, nor workers from Ukraine.”

Polish Labor-Shortage Concern Eases as Ukrainians Take Up Slack

Unemployment is at a near record-low of 3.8% in Poland, according to EU methodology, with economic growth hovering around 5% since 2017.

With more than 2 million Poles having left to work abroad after EU entry in 2004, every fifth Polish company now employs Ukrainians, recruiting agency Personnel Service said. It predicted the number of Ukrainian workers registered by the Social Security Office until will increase by 30% by end-2019. Currently, about 1.5 million Ukrainians work in the country of 38 million people.

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