Third of Polish workers still here after 5 years

© Hollandse Hoogte
In 2011, 63 thousand Polish people migrated to the Netherlands to start working here. Of this group, 20 thousand were still in the country after five years of whom 39 percent had registered with a Dutch municipality. Those who were registered as residents were earning higher wages on average, were more likely to have a permanent contract and less likely to be officially unemployed than those who were not registered. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of data from its Social Statistics database (SSB).
Poland has been a member of the European Union since 2004. On 1 May 2007, free movement of workers was introduced. Since then, labour migrants from Poland have settled in the Netherlands. Many Poles have found work through temporary employment agencies. This is often in the agricultural sector, under temporary employment contracts and at relatively low wages. A part of the Polish community stayed in the Netherlands for a short time, while some settled here and registered with a municipality. To obtain an idea of the patterns of arrival and departure, CBS followed Polish people who first arrived in the Netherlands as workers in 2011. Data on their employment and income were obtained from the SSB.

One-third stayed on

In 2011, 63 thousand Polish people migrated to the Netherlands to start working here. After the first year, 26.8 thousand Poles departed again. Of the 35.9 thousand who stayed on, 5.7 thousand (16 percent) registered with a municipality. In subsequent years, part of the original group left, another part stayed on. Small groups of departing labour migrants returned to the Netherlands later on. In 2015, 43.1 thousand Polish people were no longer living in the Netherlands, 19.7 thousand (31 percent of the total in 2011) were still here, of whom 7.6 thousand (39 percent) were registered with a municipality.

More women

Who are these longer-term residents? The majority were women: 35 percent of the group of 2011, versus 30 percent who were men. They were mainly in the middle age categories, as relatively many young and old Polish people left the country. Among the Poles still living in the Netherlands in 2015, more women (48 percent) than men (32 percent) had registered with a municipality. In addition, fewer young and older Poles were registered.

16 to 24 years28.732
26 to 34 years32.739.1
36 to 44 years30.641.3
46 to 54 years24.531.7
56 to 64 years17.220.7


Among those who settled, 11 percent had permanent employment in 2015, 58 percent were employed on a flexible basis, and 31 percent were not employed. Among the latter group, 13 percent were receiving an unemployment WW) benefit, 1 percent were on income support, and 4 percent were on a sickness benefit. As for the other Polish people without employment, no income source was known.
Those who settled and had who had registered, had a relatively favourable position in the labour market. They were more likely to have a job than those who had not registered. They also had a relatively high income.