Belarusian foreign workers surge into Poland, surpass Ukrainian numbers

Belarusians have overtaken Ukrainians as the fastest-growing group of foreign workers in Poland, according to the latest data from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS)

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
Ukrainian women working at a Ukrainian food bar that a private foundation has opened to offer jobs to refugees, in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) in Poland has released new data revealing a significant change in the demographics of foreign workers in the country. In 2023, the most notable decrease was seen among Russian and Georgian nationals, a trend somewhat expected due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. However, contrary to expectations, it was not Ukrainians who constituted the largest increase in foreign workers, but Belarusians.

As of the end of 2023, the total number of registered foreign nationals in Poland reached 1,127,744. This marked an increase of 64,483 individuals, or 6.1 percent, over the course of the year. However, the growth dynamics varied significantly depending on the country of origin.

In a notable twist, Belarusians, not Ukrainians, saw the largest increase in numbers last year. The Belarusian contingent grew by 21,300, a nearly 20 percent increase, surpassing the 13,400 increase in Ukrainian nationals, who came in second.

The top countries of origin for these workers are otherwise predominantly Asian. India claimed the third spot with an increase of 4,588; Colombia, representing South America, added 3,535 individuals; and Nepal contributed 3,481. The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation, saw 2,870 of its citizens register in 2023. Uzbekistan and Turkey, both Turkic nations, occupied the seventh and eighth positions with 2,026 and 1,784 new registrations, respectively.

Other Asian countries also featured prominently. The number of Bangladeshi nationals increased by 1,770, while Indonesians saw an increase of 1,759. The list continued with Azerbaijanis (+1,077), Vietnamese (+1,057), Turkmens (+1,038), Kazakhs (+782), Kyrgyz (+549), and Argentinians (+360). The first EU country on the list was Romania, with an increase of 280 registered nationals.

In terms of decreases, Georgians saw the largest reduction in numbers, with 1,166 fewer registered. Russians followed closely with a decrease of 1,017. There were also notable reductions in Slovak (-195) and Bulgarian (-109) nationals.

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