Poland's booming economy relies on workers from Ukraine & Belarus

© Maksim Blinov
The swift growth of the Polish economy has created a demand for workers, particularly cheap labor from the East. The gap is being filled by people from Belarus and Ukraine, many of whom used to work in Russia.

More and more ads saying "Job openings in Poland for different qualifications of workers. We invite both men and women," are appearing in Belarus.

Such job openings are usually for seasonal workers like truck drivers, mechanics, bricklayers, seamstresses, etc. Monthly wages vary from 2,000 to 7,000 Polish zloty ($500 to $1,800).

"Over the last three years the number of foreigners officially employed in Poland has doubled to 237,000. Sixty percent are from Ukraine, Belarusians are the second largest group of 11,000 and Russians are in the fourth place with 5,100," RT Russian quotes Poland's social services administration.

According to Polish labor experts, the number of Belarusian blue-collar workers in the country could be as much as seven times higher than the official figure, as Polish social services only count labor immigrants who have long-term employment contracts.

Before the crisis in the Russian economy, invoked by cheap oil and sanctions, many of these Belarusians worked in Russia. Estimates suggest that between 2005 and 2014, there were 400,000 to 800,000 Belarusian guest workers in Russia. But as oil revenues fell, job offers for blue-collar foreign workers also declined.

Poland is one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union with a population of 38 million. In the last 25 years its GDP per capita has grown from 32 percent to 60 percent of the Western European average. With annual GDP growth of 4.6 percent between 1991 and 2008, Poland was the only EU member to avoid recession during the global financial crisis and is now the eighth largest EU economy.