It is five years since EU enlargement brought a wave of Poles and other eastern European migrant workers to a Britain that was booming. But the recession has not resulted in a mass exodus.
In a conference room in a west London hotel, around 40-50 Poles have come to see a presentation by the mayor of Bydgoszcz, a town in central Poland.
I never really bought into the spin that the Polish and others were going home, unless it was their original intention to do so anyway.
Those with the decent jobs, such as the aviation engineer, Marcel Gierlach, quoted in the article probably has no reason to go back. As an aviation engineer, he's probably on more a lot money than the average migrant worker. Those at the bottom of the social-heap hang onto their jobs or just claim benefits if the work dries up, leaving those that can't get anything from the system to subsist until a job turns up.
I can't see the exodus happening very soon. Despite all the government promises little has changed since we joined EU in terms of employment, so no wonder that few poles are moving back. And there's also plenty of articles in Polish immigration press about people who have returned to Poland just to move back to UK in few weeks/months due to lack of perspectives.
Very few of my friends have actually returned - most of us are staying - at least for now. :) The other thing is - I hear Polish language everywhere and from my experience - even now - there's plenty of low paid/low skilled positions who only immigrants are willing to take. Therefore I'd say - yes, less people may be coming in, but few people will be leaving...
So no need to worry about lack of supplies of Polish beer and food in stores... ;)