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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Poland on the move
Polish plumber
Crossing Continents
Thursday, 6 July, 1102 BST
Monday 10 July, 2030 BST
On Radio 4 and online

"There was a huge baby boom in Poland in the 80s and so today every second newcomer onto the labour market in Europe is from Poland, " said the Mayor of Wroclaw.

Poland joined the EU on 1 May 2004.

After the champagne and celebration fireworks had fizzled out, thousands of skilled and unskilled workers began the long journey across the EU's borders to find work - Poland's doctors, dentists, builders, plumbers, and IT specialists were on the move.

Nearly 400,000 Poles are now in the UK painting our flats, driving our buses, looking after our health and filling our teeth. If they are over here then who is doing those jobs back home?

For BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents, Tim Whewell travelled against the flow to see what impact the exodus was having on the Poland these migrants have left behind.

He talked to those packing their bags; those who did not want to lose another generation of patriots, and a government which was sleepwalking into a health care crisis.

Presenter: Tim Whewell
Producer: Leonida Krushelnycky
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles
Editor: Maria Balinska

Crossing Continents


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