Emigration Triggers: International Migration of Polish Workers between 1994 and 2009
This paper analyzes the emigration propensity of Polish workers between 1994 and 2009. Particular attention is paid to a labour market situation of prospective temporary emigrants, the role of developments on host labour markets and the importance of an open-door policy. The Polish household survey data suggest that temporary emigrants are generally young, more frequently male than female, well educated but with less labour market experience, and have less family commitments than stayers. Other things equal, non-employed are twice that likely to emigrate as employed. The propensity to emigrate varies substantially among the employed. Farmers and employees employed on permanent contracts or in jobs with a high social prestige (managerial or specialist positions) are least probable to leave Poland. The highest propensity to emigrate is observed among temporarily employed or helping family members. The introduction of an open-door policy by majority of the European Economic Area countries after 2004 significantly facilitated emigration from Poland and increased the share of workers leaving to countries with the more liberal immigration regime. The open-door policy within the European Economic Areas amplifies responses of Polish workers to cyclical fluctuations in employment opportunities abroad. Similar changes in the unemployment rate (real wages) abroad lead to more pronounced reaction of temporary emigration or return migration flows, then before the European Union enlargement.
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