Accepted Paper:

New Poles in London: work-related experiences and negotiation  
Bernadetta Siara (University of Westminster)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses the work situation of new Polish migrants to London; it points out how different policies and laws may impact directly and indirectly on their work-related experiences and how these subsequently lead to the creation of a new organisation representing their interests.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will discuss the situation of new Polish migrants to the United Kingdom within the context of their employment-related experiences. It will point out how different policies and laws may impact directly and indirectly on their experiences and how these subsequently lead to negotiation through the creation of a new organisation representing the interests of newest members of Diaspora.

This paper will argue that not only Poland's Accession to the European Union in May 2004, but also United Kingdom's "Five Years Immigration Strategy" enabled Poles and other Eastern Europeans free movement and provided them with an opportunity to take up employment in the UK. This led to the enormous influx of Poles to the UK and the immediate enlargement of Polish Diaspora existing in the UK since the II World War. Although, Polish migration in the UK is framed in terms of economic opportunities, as this paper will show, some Polish migrants may perceive it rather as an opportunity of furthering education, cultural or life experience.

Their work related experiences will be considered in relation to the UK employment law i.e. whether their employment rights are satisfied, and also in relation to the EU principle of equal treatment of member states' migrant workers. The discussion will include the impact of work-related experiences on Polish migrants' integration in the UK, and their future plans.

With all this increasing and changing Polish Diaspora in the UK and more problems occurring amongst Poles, a new community organisation called "Poland Street" appeared on the scene earlier this year. This organisation was set up with an intention to represent the newest wave of Polish migrants to the UK; a fight for rights of Poles in the UK, including employment-related rights, is one of its main goals. However, the organisation also focuses on the social and cultural integration of new Poles in the UK.

Panel IW04
Diaspora and migration