Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

Poland facing labor shortage amid growing Ukrainian exodus to Germany

Poland was first port of call for most Ukrainians fleeing war with Russia, but 18 months on, many are moving west

Jo Harper  | 26.10.2023 - Update : 27.10.2023
Poland facing labor shortage amid growing Ukrainian exodus to Germany Ukrainians hold flags during a ceremony renaming the street where the Russian consulate is located to Free Ukraine Square in Krakow, Poland on July 12, 2022.


Poland is in the midst of a shortage of workers as increasing numbers of Ukrainians leave for work in other EU countries, such as Germany, according to migration platform EWL. 

The biggest shortage is among manual workers, with 92,800 vacancies in September, the Poland-based platform noted in its latest report on migration trends.

"Poland, as a border country, naturally became the first stop for refugee migration. However, over time, the picture of migration has changed significantly," says Andrzej Korkus, president of the EWL's management board.

Since August 2022, 350,000 Ukrainians have left Poland, according to research by the EWL and the Center for Eastern European Studies of the University of Warsaw.

Germany has overtaken Poland in terms of the number of Ukrainian refugees it hosts. As recently as August last year, over 1.3 million people benefited from temporary protection in Poland, while the figure was only 680,000 in Germany.

"It is currently difficult to fill the gaps in job offers, despite the fact that Ukrainians traditionally go abroad in September to earn money and return home for the New Year holidays. The high production season started a month ago and there are many job offers to choose from," said Mariana Semeniuk, recruitment director of the EWL in an interview with Obozrewatel.

A key reason for the shortage of workers is the ban on Ukrainian men traveling abroad and the simplified access of Ukrainian citizens to the labor market in other EU countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands, said Semeniuk.

Most job offers in Poland are in logistics due to the upcoming Christmas holidays, with vacancies in packing and sorting goods, as well as in the electronics, food, and processing industries. The minimum salary is about €5 ($5.27) per hour, well below wages in Germany.

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