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SWPS University - Main page

The Impact of Migration on Poland

The Impact of Migration on Poland

Since the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, migration between Poland and other European countries has significantly increased. Migration affects not only the receiving countries, but also the sending countries. A new book, The Impact of Migration on Poland: EU Mobility and Social Change, by Associate Professor Izabela Grabowska, et al., provides a wide-ranging analysis of how Poland, as a sending country, has changed, and continues to change, since its accession to the EU. 

Unusual Take on Migration

How has the international mobility of Polish citizens intertwined with other influences to shape society, culture, politics and economics in contemporary Poland.

The Impact of Migration on Poland offers a new approach for understanding how migration affects sending countries, and provides a wide-ranging analysis of how Poland has changed, and continues to change, since EU accession in 2004. The authors explore an array of social trends and their causes before using in-depth interview data to illustrate how migration contributes to those causes. They address fundamental questions about whether and how Polish society is becoming more equal and more cosmopolitan, arguing that for particular segments of society migration does make a difference, and can be seen as both leveler and eye-opener. While the book focuses mainly on stayers in Poland, and their multiple contacts with Poles in other countries, Chapter 9 analyses ‘Polish society abroad’, a more accurate concept than ‘community’ in countries like the UK, and Chapter 10 considers impacts of immigration to Poland.

The book is written in a lively and accessible style, and will be important reading for anyone interested in the influence of migration on society, as well as students and scholars researching EU mobility, migration theory and methodology, and issues facing contemporary Europe.

Main Topics of the Book

The book is a compilation of articles focusing on varoius issues related to the impact that migration has had on Poland, not only as a sending, but also as a receiving country.

Chapter 1, by Anne White is an introduction to topic "How are countries affected by migration".

Chapter 2 "provides an overview of Polish social change and migration trends necessary to understand the rest of the book […]. It is written in layperson’s language and, if read with chapter 1, will give a good idea of [the researchers'] evidence and arguments.”

Chapter 3, by Anne White and Izabela Grabowska, "discusses existing research on the impact of migration on sending countries, especially in CEE; refines further the concept of social remittances; and explains how an inside-out approach can reveal the mechanisms of how migration relates to social change.”

Chapter 4, by Izabela Grabowska, "shows how social remittances work in practice. Professor Grabowska agrues that workplaces are particularly important sites for diffusing social remittances; that in one significant respect, acquisition of skills and competences abroad, it is possible to find data on the extent to which Polish society is changing thanks to migration; and that qualitative research in specific locations in Poland can illuminate the features of those individual return migrants who make a difference.”

Chapter 5, by Paweł Kaczmarczyk, "investigates labour market impacts of post-2004 migration from Poland. He argues that migration effects – to a large extent unexpectedly – are small or negligible in the short and medium term, on the national level.[…] However, the long-term impacts of contemporary Polish mobility might be substantial for the geographical distribution of the Polish population, as many working-age people from areas with limited job opportunities settle abroad. This raises questions about the transnational family ties which will continue to bind extended families across national borders.”

Chapter 6, by Krystyna Slany, "considers such family relations, showing how the continuing high value placed on family life by Poles in Poland is not undermined by Poles living abroad and how, in fact, transnational families maintain a strong sense of solidarity; how slow progress towards more sharing of roles within households in Poland is mirrored, and to a limited extent anticipated, among families abroad, especially in countries with strong gender equality programmes, such as Norway; and how female circular migrants add to the share of independently minded and self-confident women in conservative rural areas.”

Chapters 7 and 8, by Anne White, "considers how different aspects of livelihoods, lifestyles, culture, and identity are changing in Poland and how migration contributes to such changes in different localities.”

Chapter 9, also written by Anne White, “puts forward the concept of ‘polish society abroad’ and argues that social change among Poles abroad is an intrinsic part of social change in Poland.

Chapter 10 deals with the issue of Poland suddenly becoming a receiving country or ‘a country of immigration’, due to considerable immigration from Ukraine to Poland.

Chapter 11 "briefly reviews how [the researchers] use the inside-out approach to create a more ‘transnational’ method for understanding social change in Poland.”

migrantionpoland 400Published by UCLPRESS. Open access PDF avaliable here.


258 grabowska lusinska

About the Author

Izabela Grabowska, Associate Professor – sociologist and economist, specializing in research on employment market, the school-to-work transition as well as development and migration with a focus on skill transfer. Her research interests also include career development of globally mobile individuals, and social remittances.

International Research Coordinator at the Centre of Migration Research, at the University of Warsaw. Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors and a member of the Executive Board at IMISCOE Research Network (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion). She collaborates with Ernst & Young Business School in Bologna, consulting on Public Employment Services, such as EURES, the European job mobility portal. She advises District Employment Offices in Poland on the assessment of employment practices and the design of career paths for the unemployed. A national expert at the European Commission for the new European Qualifications Framework (EQF) with respect to the European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO).

At SWPS University, she teaches at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She also is Head of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program and Head of Youth Research Center.