Polish business calls for residence permits to Ukrainian immigrants


Polish border police escorts detainees. Credits: Polish Border Guard

28 Jan. — The Entrepreneurs and Employers Association (ZPP) of Poland issued a statement and called for the granting of residence permits to all Ukrainians working in the country. In the opinion of the organisation’s analysts, it is necessary to take such measures in light of Poland’s difficult demographic situation.

The ZPP’s statement includes three main recommendations:

1. It is imperative to legalize the presence of all Ukrainians on Polish territory by way of automatically issuing them residence permits;

2. The decision must be taken immediately and be submitted in the form of a bill like the one which in 1982 helped Ronald Reagan legalize the stay of all Polish citizens living in the USA.

3. The bill should also address the Vietnamese and Belarusians, two nations distinguished by their strong work ethic and peaceful assimilation.

In its recommendations, the ZPP draws on data from the Central Statistical Office of Poland – according to one of its predictions the population of Poland will decrease from 38 million to 34 million by 2050 – as well as the results of its own research. “If we want to maintain the current rate of development, then under the current demographic trend 5 million immigrants must be taken in by 2050,” the statement says.

In the opinion of the association’s representatives, in these conditions Ukrainians compare favourably with the remaining ethnic groups since it is not necessary to “teach them Polish, build them a house, or [provide] benefits.” It is noted that Ukrainians are hard-working and easily assimilable immigrants who are thus natural candidates for legalization in Poland.

According to the ZPP’s information, there are currently about 650 thousand Ukrainian citizens working legally in the country (however, according to the estimate of the Ukrainian ambassador to Ukraine, Andriy Deshchytsia, there are 1 million ). At the same time, the number of Ukrainian illegals could be upwards of 270 thousand. Their legalization, the Polish businessmen are convinced, can bring several billion zloty annually to the state budget, at practically no expense.

The association is sure that Polish society will accept the legalization of such a large number of Ukrainians without any problem. A special study conducted by the company Maison in January 2016 at the request of the ZPP, attests to this. According to the survey, 52% of Poles feel positively about issuing residence permits to Ukrainians in Poland. 28% are against it. 33% of those asked think that Poland must accept immigrants from Ukraine first and foremost.

However, the ZPP does not conceal its political motivations in its recommendations. “I have bad news for the factory of trolls in St. Petersburg and their Polish useful idiots. Despite great effort, they have failed to embroil Poles and Ukrainians in quarrels for the glory of the dilapidated Russian empire,” ZPP President Cezary Kaźmierczak stated at a press conference.

The ZPP  initiative could have serious consequences primarily for public security. In the opinion of Cezary Markiewicz, a consultant on border cooperation and business, “if residence permits are handed out to all Ukrainians indiscriminately, there is the risk of legalizing not only the proverbial nannies and cleaning ladies but also members of ethnic criminal gangs, of which there are many among Ukrainian illegals. There is also the risk that some of those receiving residence permits will be openly anti-Polish figures.” In conversation with Europe Insight, the expert emphasized that in general the ZPP initiative is “timely and definitely needed” but that its implementation requires “balance and flexibility”.

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