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Interfax:Poland expects to ease access for foreign seasonal workers as of May

Interfax:Poland expects to ease access for foreign seasonal workers as of May

17.4.2007 17:52

WARSAW. APRIL 17. INTERFAX C.NTRAL EUROPE - Poland's Labor Ministry expects to introduce new regulations easing the rules for seasonal employment of non-EU nationals - including Ukrainians, Belarussians and Russians - as of May, deputy director at the ministry's migration department, Janusz Grzyb, told Interfax Central Europe Tuesday.

"We expect the regulation to come into force at the beginning of May," Grzyb said. "We are asking other ministries for opinions and expect to finish [working on the draft regulation] in April."

According to the present draft, published on the Labor Ministry website, foreign nationals who plan to take on work for less than three months will simply have to present a Polish employer's declaration of willingness to employ the person at the border crossing. The planned regulation targets primarily citizens of Poland's eastern neighbors - that is Russia, Ukraine and Belarus - but will also apply to other nationals from countries outside the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA).

"The draft is targeted primarily at the citizens of the countries neighboring Poland," Grzyb said. "When it comes to countries further away, we are thinking about organizing regular trips."

The draft was largely inspired by Polish entrepreneurs operating in the agriculture and construction sectors, which have noted a significant shortage of skilled workers.

"Signals are coming from the agriculture and building sectors that the [labor] shortfalls are approaching the scale of hundreds of thousands," Grzyb said.

Although Poland's unemployment rate, at 14.4%, remains the highest in the EU, outward migration of skilled workers and high structural unemployment have led to labor shortages in segments of the market, according to Polish Confederation of Private Employers (PKPP) expert Henryk Michalowicz.

"Poland's problems are structural unemployment and low level vocational training," Michalowicz said. "The qualifications of Polish workers do not meet market expectations, therefore the new arrivals will not be a threat."

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