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Germany awaits Polish invasion as EU free movement immigration rules start 1 May | Immigration Matters

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Like 26 million other hard-working Germans, Stephan Walter feels he has done more than his bit for the cause of European integration, the Telegraph reports.

An electrician aged 23, some five per cent of his €10-an-hour wage already goes on a special “solidarity tax” to fund reunification with Germany’s economically backward East. And for the next four years, another chunk will help bankroll his government’s generous €89 billion bail-out of Greece, its spendthrift partner on the southern side of the Eurozone.

Now, though, he is bracing himself for another serious drain on his earning power – not, this time, from “Osties” or feckless Greeks, but from industrious, hardworking Poles.

Under European Union rules that come into force on Sunday, May 1, Germany will open its doors fully to jobseekers from Poland and other Eastern European nations for the first time, paving the way for a flood of cut-price carpenters, plumbers and other budget labour of the kind that swept Britain in 2004.

However, with German trade unions predicting that up to a million Poles may arrive in the first year alone, not everyone feels like welcoming the new arrivals from the other side of the River Oder.

Free movement of labour is all very well,” said Mr Walter, who lives in Bielefeld in North Rhine-Westphalia, once the heartland of the coal and steel plants that forged Germany’s post-war recovery.

“But there is nothing in this great EU to stop us all being shafted from a tidal wave of under-cutters. We are stoking the fires of social unrest if we just allow anyone in who is able to work.

“I have just gone back to school to get more qualifications but I will be returning to work after my studies. I know all about Poles willing to do what I did for three and four euros and hour, and it won’t be any different when there are thousands more from countries like Poland.”

The pending influx is the result of working rights extended to citizens from the Eastern European states that joined the EU in 2004, including also the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Baltic nations.

While Britain, which was short of labour at the time, allowed such workers in straight away, Germany, France and Italy negotiated individual moratoria, citing concerns about unemployment. Now Germany’s moratorium is expiring – just as the global recession and last summer’s Eurozone crash mean severe cuts in health, social service and welfare budgets in Europe’s biggest economy.

That has fuelled a German swing against immigration in general, and a growing sense that a people which has long supported the EU project no longer gets a fair deal.

As in Britain, the “Polnische Klempner” or Polish plumber is held up as an example of the low-wage bogeymen that Germans now fear coming to steal work from them.

Industrious, helpful and willing to turn out at the kind of unsocial hours many Germans are reluctant to, they are also cheap – ready to accept hourly payment of three, four and five Euros instead of the 10, 20 and 30 Euros that qualified tradesmen earn.

“It is human nature to hunt bargains – I would be the same,” conceded Mr Walter. “But I think this moratorium should have been in place for another five years, at least until Germany gets back on its feet. There will be too much of a temptation to go ‘on the black’ as they save tax and people save money.”

Officially, there are more than enough jobs to go around. A relative bounce-back in the economy has pushed unemployment down to just 7.9 per cent, and already there are labour shortages within Germany’s ageing population that the Poles aim to plug.

Kamil Rakoczy, an adviser on migration for Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, said there were vacancies for 36,000 engineers and 20,000 IT specialists, as well as jobs in construction, nursing and elderly care. Although the Polish economy is growing fast itself, its thriving metropolitan areas lack the capacity to absorb more people, and the average monthly corporate wage of 3,400 zlotys (£770) is still only a third of that in Germany.

“Germany survived the crisis, and the demand for labour is there,” said Professor Krystyna Iglicka, a migration expert from Warsaw’s Centre for International Relations. “The Germans are ageing and they need fresh blood and young and dynamic people.”

Among them will be Andrzej Rokowski, 41, from the northern city of Szczecin. A cook by profession, he is prepared to turn his hand to anything to bring in money for his wife and child.

“May 1 is an important day for me,” he said. “In Poland there is no chance for a man to make a living wage, as the money is just too little. In Poland I can make around £225 a month, while in Germany I can earn four times that. My family don’t want to go so they will stay here, and I’ll send the money home.”

The Cologne Institute for Economic Research predicts a maximum of 800,000 immigrants will come to Germany in the next two years, a number that may not have that much visible impact given that some three million immigrants arrived between 1991 and 2000.

Nonetheless, many Germans fear a repeat of what happened in Britain, where official predictions of no more than 40,000 newcomers proved to be well short of the estimated million that eventually came.

Annelie Buntenbach, a board member from the Confederation of German Trade Unions, recently warned that net migration to Germany from Poland and other new EU states could hit five million once all restrictions were completely lifted in coming years.

And Frank Bsirske, head of trade union Verdi, said he feared pressure on wages. “I fear a downwards spiral, in which companies which employ labour from Eastern and Central Europe push out those who pay better wages and offer more social working conditions.”

Such concerns come at a sensitive moment for Mrs Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union coalition, which is already fraying at the edges over anxieties about immigration and the integration of Muslims into society.

The touchpaper to that debate was lit in August last year with the publication of an inflammatory – but best-selling – book by Thilo Sarrazin, a senior central bank official, claiming that Germany was being made “dumber” by Muslim immigrants who made little effort to learn German, and whose only effort to integrate was into the benefits system.

There was also rare criticism of Mrs Merkel from a senior member of her own centre-right party, Erika Steinbach, who warned that the CDU was seen as too left-wing on immigration, and that a charismatic politician could easily peel off voters to a new hard-right party.

Another renegade ex-CDU member, Rene Stadtkewitz, has already announced the creation of a right-wing Freedom Party similar to that of Geert Wilders in Holland.

Success for such a party would mark a decisive break with Germany’s post war-liberal consensus, in which memories of Nazism have often inhibited frank discussion on nationalist issues.

Now, stuck between hosting existing immigrants whom they feel do not work enough, and new ones whom they fear may work too hard altogether, many Germans believe the comfortable years of the post-war era are over.

“What will happen when 10,000 Polish women turn up with their mops and their buckets and offer to undercut my wages?” asked Rita Seewall, 50, a domestic cleaner in Berlin.

“I do not expect loyalty from the people who pay me. They will say: ‘These are the new terms Rita, take them or leave them.’ Why does Germany always seem to look after others instead of taking care of its own?” Source: The Telegraph.

The UK has seen millions of Eastern European workers migrate here for better job prospects since the EU expansion in 2004 when the so called A8 members were admitted into the European Union.

In 2007 Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU, but with work restrictions in the UK and other European countries.

UK employers are all too often totally unaware that despite the fact that they are EU members, when it comes to employment Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not have the same rights as other Europeans and other A8 Accession countries.

There is an estimated half a million Romanians alone in the UK, many of whom are working as self employed contractors, which is allowed, whilst others study and work on a yellow coloured registration certificate commonly known as ‘Yellow Card’.

After 12 months of continuous legal work they can apply for residence under a so called ‘Blue Card’ registration.

See article:

UK Border Agency launch new website

The newly revised UK Border Agency website has a better look and feel and navigation seems faster, but previously published links to specific pages of the site may no longer exist.

For instance, the link for European Workers is now:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/applying/

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/

The UK Border Agency and Home Office website contains a vast amount of information which can be difficult to wade your way through the guidance and Immigration Rules.

The navigation section for European workers from Bulgaria and Romania also appears to have been simplified although finding specific information is still a challenge.

Confusion remains over the need for Bulgarians and Romanians applying for BR1 Yellow Cards as students to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover. 

The BR1 Form in Section 9 states:

‘If sections 4 (Students) and 5 (Self-sufficient) have been completed: evidence of ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ cover in the UK and funds to show you are economically self-sufficient, e.g. a bank statement.’

In other words, the paragraph means you need comprehensive sickness insurance only if you are applying under both ‘student’ and ‘self sufficient’ sections.

Nevertheless, student applicants are being asked to take out private medical insurance policies and are being refused if they fail to supply the correct cover.

What is the correct insurance cover?

One insurance company manager told Immigration Matters that he has been trying to get clarification on the exact requirements from the UK Border Agency for several weeks.

Active Quote offers an easy to use online quotation and application system, but also has telephone support from advisers who are on hand to answer questions.

To obtain a quotation for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance visit the Active Quote website 

See article:

 

UK Border Agency launch new website

The newly revised UK Border Agency website has a better look and feel and navigation seems faster, but previously published links to specific pages of the site may no longer exist.

For instance, the link for European Workers is now:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/applying/

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/

The UK Border Agency and Home Office website contains a vast amount of information which can be difficult to wade your way through the guidance and Immigration Rules.

The navigation section for European workers from Bulgaria and Romania also appears to have been simplified although finding specific information is still a challenge.

Confusion remains over the need for Bulgarians and Romanians applying for BR1 Yellow Cards as students to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover. 

The BR1 Form in Section 9 states:

‘If sections 4 (Students) and 5 (Self-sufficient) have been completed: evidence of ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ cover in the UK and funds to show you are economically self-sufficient, e.g. a bank statement.’

In other words, the paragraph means you need comprehensive sickness insurance only if you are applying under both ‘student’ and ‘self sufficient’ sections.

Nevertheless, student applicants are being asked to take out private medical insurance policies and are being refused if they fail to supply the correct cover.

What is the correct insurance cover?

One insurance company manager told Immigration Matters that he has been trying to get clarification on the exact requirements from the UK Border Agency for several weeks.

Active Quote offers an easy to use online quotation and application system, but also has telephone support from advisers who are on hand to answer questions.

To obtain a quotation for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance visit the Active Quote website

See also:

Free Movement of EU nationals explained

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

EU migration policies are ‘mad’ says Lord Digby Jones

HOW TO FIND APPLICATION FORMS FOR A ‘YELLOW’ OR ‘BLUE’ CARD REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE ON THE UK BORDER AGENCY WEBSITE

Switzerland joins Euro block on Bulgarian and Romanian Workers

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:  

info@immigrationmatters.co.uk or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk 

Bulgarians and Romanians – Still Confused?

Bison UK Immigration Advisers are running free presentations for Employers, Romanians and Bulgarians the week of 11-22 April 2011, Monday to Friday, from 11am-12noon and 3-4pm. No need to book, just turn up. Venue: Bison Management UK, 16 Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. WD6 1DL. Nearest Train Station: Elstree and Borehamwood Station; Buses from Edgware underground station: 107 and 292.

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7 Responses to “Germany awaits Polish invasion as EU free movement immigration rules start 1 May”
Read them below or add one

  1. […] The last EU members to keep restrictions – Germany and Austria – have lifted them on 1 May. […]

  2. […] Germany only fully opened its doors to neighbouring Poland and other Eastern Bloc ‘A8’ nations last week under European Union rules that came into force on Sunday, 1 May 2011. […]

  3. […] Germany awaits Polish invasion as EU free movement immigration rules start 1 May […]

  4. The UK allowed Polish and other A8 citizens Free Movement of Labour from 2004. Germany, France and Italy opted out.
    Romanians and Bulgarians are still subject to work restrictions in the UK at present.

    http://www.immigrationmatters.co.uk/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=7575

  5. Miroslaw says :

    All this writing is for nothing. I have no comments only you should count how many poles work and how many people from pakistan and other countries not working only taking benefits and be honest and put this numbers that all could read them.

  6. LETS SHARE THE BURDEN WITH EUROPE

  7. […] Germany waits for invasion by Poland as EU free movement immigration rules start 1 May […]

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