Cheap European Union. Indians in Poland
WARSAW, POLAND - Arun, a former student at a Warsaw university, dropped out after two semesters to start working illegally in a tomato company, parlaying a student visa into a job that paid less than the minimum wage.
Before arriving in Poland Arun had completed a degree in India and helped his parents run their business. But when he decided he wanted to earn more money in another country he decided to apply to study in Poland, joining thousands a wave of Indian students who see the country as a stepping stone into the European Union.
Two years back he decided to go abroad to earn some money and fulfill his dreams. Poland was the cheapest way and education purpose was the easiest way to do it.
“My first intention was to go abroad, no matter which country. I was rejected by the Canadian and New Zeland Embassies, then I tried Austria but all these countries required IELTS. At that moment I got to know about Poland. The living cost and education are very less comparing to other places. In addition to this from Poland I can travel to any Schengen country. Many of us later do it, move to Western Europe to make a better income,” Arun said.
During last two years the amount of Indian citizens in Poland almost has doubled. From 4062 applications in 2016 to 7944 applications in 2017. Today Indians are third largest ethnic group who appeal to legalize stay in Poland after representatives of neighbouring countries: Ukraine and Belarus.
In 2017 more than eight thousand Indians in Poland applied for a temporary residence permit. Document which allows foreigners to stay legally in Poland and to travel around the Schengen countries without visa for 90 days. But first, they have to come to Poland.
Since Poland joined European Union, around two million Poles left the country for Germany, UK, Holland, etc. Growing economy of Poland was faced with a lack of manpower. Help came from Ukraine. Nearly 1.5 million Ukrainians immigrated to Poland to study and work. Many of them settled down in polish cities and became part of society. According to the last statistics from 2017, the amount of desirous Ukrainians, who wanted to legalize stay in Poland decreased 30% comparing to the previous year. Today Poland needs new people to fill labour gap.
Foreigners who stay in Poland on a basis of polish visa and all kind of residence card can not work in any other country. They need to apply for German work permit if they want to work in Germany, otherwise they will work illegally. And many of them do it. There are lots of posts on Facebook groups for Indian expats where people offer job abroad.
Due to the large amount of immigrants applying for student visa in Poland, polish Embassy in New Delhi and Mumbai started to interview candidates to select them. Today the Polish Office for Foreigners tightened the regulations of getting temporary residence card. Many students who applied for a TRC based on study, get document for one year instead of three. There is also possibility to extend it later or to change it for a work permit.
Latest action of polish government is definitely good step to control foreigners in Poland. But making it more complicated also means making Poland less attracting for foreigners who are the only help to address the labour deficiency. Educational agencies and legalization companies charge big money for service. For them foreigners are good source of money but not for the government. Until Poland doesn’t find any solution, the country will be used as a temporary stop on the way to more rich countries.
“I have friends in Denmark, Austria, Spain, Switzerland. All of them arrived to Poland and then bought tickets abroad looking for a well-paid job. They work illegally there, no one checked their documents.”
“In Poland almost every Indian have student or tourist visa. We don’t have many agencies that help you to apply for a work, but if you find it, be ready to pay three times more for a service, that’s why everyone is interested to study.”
Arun paid 13.000 Euro to local educational consultant who helped him to get student visa. In the end of March Arun arrived in cold Warsaw. He stayed in a hostel, shared a room with a few more guys from India and Nepal.
Comparing to other countries the procedure of applying for study in Poland is easy. Local universities accept students without IELTS and TOEFL. As the result of non selectivity majority of Asians don’t speak English well. For private universities the most important factor is money which immigrants are ready to pay. Every foreigner who has polish student ID card can work legally in Poland. He doesn’t need to apply for work permit, there is also no working hours limit.
The representative of Indo-European Education Foundation – dr. Pradeep Kumar says: “Universities earn almost 50 thousands PLN per year. So students coming here supporting economic development in their target countries”.
Polish government also hopes that foreigners arriving will stay in Poland, study, work, get residence card and will pay taxes. This will help the economy to develop.
“I’m also looking for a job in another country. If I find it, I’ll go there. Abroad you can earn two or three times more doing the same kind of job as in Poland. I understand I will work illegally but I’m ready to take a risk,” added Arun.
Arun already asked around his friends from abroad about work for him. At this moment he didn’t get any response. He continues working in a legalization company in Warsaw, waiting for a good news from friends regarding job.