Poland’s deputy prime minister predicts thousands of Poles living in Britain will leave after Brexit. The forecast comes amid rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the UK.
Mateusz Morawiecki estimates almost a quarter of all Polish citizens living in the UK will return to their home country when Britain leaves the EU.
He cited a growing economy and low levels of unemployment in Poland as draws for reverse migration.
Although the deputy PM did not mention anti-immigrant hate crime as a reason for Poles returning home, he did say it will pose “a question mark” in many Polish families in Britain.
Police are treating an attack on two Polish men by a gang of teenagers in Essex last Saturday as a hate crime.
Factory worker Arek Jozwik, 40, died from head injuries on Monday, while a 43-year-old man is being treated for suspected hand fractures and bruising to his stomach.
The pair were attacked in Harlow after leaving a pizza shop at around 11:30pm local time. Police have arrested six teenagers in connection with the incident.
Morawiecki is visiting Britain to meet with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox to discuss Polish-British economic ties.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, the deputy PM said: “I believe there will be many people coming back [after Brexit].
“I don’t know how many but apparently there are some 900,000 now in Great Britain. I think a couple of hundreds of thousands may come back over the next five-10 years.
“Poland has now a very low level of unemployment, a highly educated staff and businesses are growing as nowhere in Europe.”
Asked about Jozwik’s death, Morawiecki described it as a “very sad day, a sad event.”
“I hope it will never happen again, but yes, this will pose a question mark in many families, Polish families, in Great Britain.”
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło condemned hate crimes against Poles in the wake of Brexit as “despicable.”