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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
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Tim Whewell and the family of a man who left for the UK
Tim Whewell met the family of one man who left for the UK

Since Poland joined the EU in 2004, thousands of skilled and unskilled workers have made the journey across its borders to find work.

For BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents, Tim Whewell travelled against the flow to examine the impact this exodus has had on the Poland they have left behind.

We asked for your comments on our programme and the issues that it raised. A selection of your views are below.

I do like the Poles that I have come across, they are honest, kind and hard working. I was recently invited out to eat and the food was excellant. The chef was a Russian woman. I certainly feel positive about the experience that I had. They will bring warmth to the country one hopes!
Linda McDermott, Luton

I just listened to your Poland piece. I liked it but your sign-off "free markets create winners and losers", well that is not the truism it seems to be. Many economists would disagree.
David Mccairley, Paris

We moved to the UK in 2005 and are not willing to go back to Poland. I worked as a manager for a big multinational company in Poland but was made redundant in May 2004. I could not find a job for more then a year.

If more people leave the country there will not be enough tax payers to support pension schemes
My partner and I sent our CVs to UK agencies and the response was overwhelming. Now I am working as a bank manager for quite a big company in Hampshire and my partner has found an excellent dental opportunity. We are considering buying property quite soon and we would like to open our own business.

Life is much easier and there is more freedom in the UK. We do not want to go back to the Catholic republic.

I think the Polish government is not trying to create new jobs and opportunities. We have already started to save money for our retired parents because if more people leave the country there will not be enough tax payers to support pension schemes, unless an influx of Russians and Ukrainians covers the shortages.

I am very worried about the situation. I am from Blackpool and we are being overwhelmed with Poles. Some of my friends are unable to find work in the town because they are unskilled, one is a fish fryer and the other a labourer, and there are no jobs for them.

My wife wanted a part time job as the children have started nursery but it's impossible to get one. Poles share their housing costs and a lot of them just come to Blackpool for the season, live cheap and then leave.

The Polish aren't idiots, they will get wise and demand more money. Why is the government letting so many in and no-one is moaning except Poland itself?
Steve, Blackpool

I am British, born in London 40 years ago, of Polish parents who fought for their own country's freedom and Britain's. They and thousands of other Poles like them settled here because they were given the opportunity to live freely (eventually) and work.

The Poles are filling the jobs that the great British underclass do not want to do
Tadek Legionista, London
Not for them the benefits system; not for them whingeing about their human rights. They worked hard, paid their taxes, saved their money, bought property and educated their children.

These children are now fully integrated members of British society. I have just returned from my second tour of military duty in Iraq in three years.

Not all the Poles who are now arriving in the UK will stay. Those who will are looking for the same opportunities as were offered to my parents.

The immigrant Poles are not taking jobs away from British folk. The Poles are filling the jobs that the great British underclass do not want to do, as they prefer to live on state benefits in their local authority houses, breeding unemployable children to perpetuate the cycle.
Tadek Legionista, London

We employ five Poles here and they are the best thing for our business. We need car and site cleaners, jobs which native UK people turn their noses up at - not so the Poles. They are amazed by the amount of money they earn in a month - far more than they could in Poland. For us this has been a win-win situation
L Gemmell, Chichester

I am Polish and emigrated to the UK in May 2005.

The reasons behind the exodus are not purely pecuniary. More often than not it's the sheer ideological backwardness of the country, its lack of tolerance, racism and so on, and the country's fixation with Roman Catholicism.

I and six other Poles employed by the agency do not even think of going back to Poland
Mariusz Przybytek, Hove
The opinions and policies represented by people such as Mr Giertych, Polish Minister of Education, are the epitome of intolerance and backwardness I'm talking about.

Back in Poland I had a nice well-paid job. I was a lecturer at two universities, but the fact that my opinions go against the grain of the ultra-clerical conservatism of those in power made me leave.

I did an 11-month-long stunt as a Tesco night-shift worker and now am employed in a job agency specialising in bringing in other Polish people to work in the UK.

I and six other Poles employed by the agency do not even think of going back to Poland.
Mariusz Przybytek, Hove

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

Crossing Continents


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