The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Life  % width posts: 66

Foreigners in Poland - the identities of our native or the host country


poland_
31 Jan 2013  #1
As foreigners living in foreign lands, we are often asked to choose between national identities of our native and host country, despite the various terminologies of identification being skewed, if not altogether faulty. On the one hand, there is 'immigrant', implying, almost de facto, a desire for integration as the key determinant for success in a host country. On the other, there is the romanticized and somewhat passé term 'émigré' or 'Expatriate', an evocation of whitened knuckles, gripping an increasingly fossilized sense of 'home'. either way, we lose.
jon357 63 | 14,122
31 Jan 2013  #2
I sometimes find myself asking the same question. I don't think it's conscious ignorance that nothing is done - more that immigration was never really thought about.

Of foreign-born people who have made their home in Poland, there seem to be several distinct groups of people - nationality is only part of that, economic circumstances and outlook are a bigegr factor. Some have assimilated more than others. How would you categorise them? I would say that there are traditional expats, who don't really assimilate, foreign-born spouses who assimilate to one degree or another, but what about the others
Radders 3 | 47
31 Jan 2013  #3
Good post. Yes, it's usually conjugated "I'm an expat, you're a foreign worker, he's an immigrant". My exposure to Poland is limited to about a month each year in aggregate, so I haven't yet experienced life as a resident expat - it's just 4 hours from Krakow to opening my front door in London.

However, an old Polish hand here who has spent 25 years - through the fall of the wall - TEFL in Poland briefed me kindly and one thing he said has stuck. Poles, he said, had been betrayed so many times by so many other peoples, had spent so much of their history reliant on themselves in the face of hostile foreign occupation and intrusive domestic surveillance that true trust rarely extended beyond their immediate family. As a consequence it was impossible to form the sort of deep friendships with Poles we know here because there would always be some restraint, some mistrust on their part. Now, I have to take his word on this - I haven't the experience to know the truth of it either way.

However, since the collective attitude of officialdom reflects the popular view, I'm not surprised to find a lack of appreciation apparent if this is true. It's not the sort of 'manana' frustration one encounters in the Club Med nations but a sort of inbuilt reluctance to make things easy for foreigners. And if so, there's little a Polish government can do about it.
OP poland_
31 Jan 2013  #4
I don't think it's conscious ignorance that nothing is done - more that immigration was never really thought about.

Is it correct to consciously accept the excuse why things are not being changed. Poland's modern structural changes began in 1989 which is 24 years ago, European entry was in 2004 which was 8 years ago, the UK had to deal with a wave of new EU workers since 2004, these workers are provide government documentation in their own languages, the Uk is making every effort for its foreign workforce to assimilate. I believe it is not a priority for the Polish government, in order for Poland to gain a fair share of future transient business as well as new business, the Polish government in my opinion have to make more of an show effort, just like the UK is now doing with the high net-worth french. Warsaw will never have the same allure as London for quality of life to the rich and famous, although it can attract entrepreneurs with its pool of highly educated workforce especially within IT and Biotech. This would be looking to the future and not the current ' here and now ' policy.

nationality is only part of that, economic circumstances and outlook are a bigegr factor. Some have assimilated more than others. How would you categorise them?

I would catergorise in one of the two ways those that are wealthy and those who are not, outside of the Russian/Ukrainian community there are no real communities in Poland. If you are poor in Poland and you are a foreigner you assimilate with local Poles of equal means and vis a vis. I see it as a plain money divide, in a recent article I was reading about Polish expectations number one, was to live in a neighborhood with the rich and famous. The Polish saying' My neighbor is,so I am'

Radders, firstly good luck with the new post in Krakow it's one of Poland's finest cities. Your colleague is 100% correct, if you search Polish forum you will find many threads which will debate Polish history and trust to death. This thread is more about foreigners in Poland and the value which the Polish government puts on them. Let us take your situation as an example, you work mon-friday in Poland as I understand. So legally a person working more than 180 days in Poland is liable to Polish tax, so a person like yourself who works here and pays tax in Poland is only inputting in the form of tax and expertise, you draw very little from Poland.
zetigrek
31 Jan 2013  #5
No offence but you came to Poland because of your spouses (mostly) or other private reasons, not because Poland wouldn't make it without you.

When someone writes that set up a buisness hence employ people, the question is if you hadn't set it up would a Pole do it? I don't get this claiming vein. I wish you all feel welcome and well in Poland, but don't put the things as if Poles should owe you thanks for coming to Poland.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
31 Jan 2013  #6
we would do well to think of one question, what has Poland done to assimilate her new generation of émigré’s, expatriates or immigrants.

Nothing. It's not "Poland's" job to do that, all the lefty stuff with "making them feel welcome" and so on don't work well, there are plenty of examples around Europe. Besides, immigrants in Poland like Ukrainians, Armenians or even Vietnamise tend to integrate faster than "expats", a good example that the more difficult it is, the more effort people make.

This new wave is building business-creating jobs, providing education and contributing under difficult circumstances in Poland.

You people have serious issues, 99.9% of you came here because it was convenient for you, for one reason or another, not because you wanted to "help Poland" or any other crap, really you guys should get out more instead of living in your little world of "exapts", can you imagine a Polish person running a business in the UK (there are probably a few thousand) saying how much British owe them because they are building business there ? Get your head out of your butt because people reading it are laughing at you.
zetigrek
31 Jan 2013  #7
European entry was in 2004 which was 8 years ago, the UK had to deal with a wave of new EU workers since 2004, these workers are provide government documentation in their own languages, the Uk is making every effort for its foreign workforce to assimilate.

it's beyond Polish understanding why they do that, really. Seems like cultural difference.

Your colleague is 100% correct, if you search Polish forum you will find many threads which will debate Polish history and trust to death

Poles are mistrustful and suspicious but the statement that it's an effect of history is ridiculous. You have distorted view of it first of all, secondly many Poles know little history.

If you are curious what an ordinary Pole think of you, expats, they think that you came here because you saw good business opportunities/chances not that you came here to do charity.

As for why goverment doesn't think of you... well you're still a decimal fraction of Polish population.
jon357 63 | 14,122
31 Jan 2013  #8
Yes, it's usually conjugated "I'm an expat, you're a foreign worker, he's an immigrant"

Spot on. I feel though that those categories are too sweeping and the boundaries are blurred. There are very few true expats in PL now.

Is it correct to consciously accept the excuse why things are not being changed

It's quite wrong, especially since Poland isn't some sort of backwater like Macedonia or Moldova.

I would catergorise in one of the two ways those that are wealthy and those who are not

Most things come down to money in th end. Language ability - especially the ability to join in a conversation as an equal has a lot to do with it too.

I used to know a lady, originally from the Czech Republic with a Polish husband and who'd lived in PL for years who got very irritated when one jerk from her workplace used to pointedly call her gosciu.
AmerTchr 4 | 201
31 Jan 2013  #9
No offence but you came to Poland because of your spouses (mostly) or other private reasons, not because Poland wouldn't make it without you.

You owe them/us nothing more than you should owe a Polish businessperson for opening a business.
Radders 3 | 47
31 Jan 2013  #10
it's beyond Polish understanding why they do that, really. Seems like cultural difference.

The Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency produces a handy booklet in English titled 'Poland - a place to live and work'. Some of the funniest bits are in the 'Cultural Differences' section;

- It is important to know that in Poland building relationships is the key to successful cooperation. It is good to maintain direct eye contact during a conversation. Polish people are very sensitive to body language.

- Kissing and hugging are a bad idea, unless your partner is a very good friend.

- Polish negotiators tend to be reserved and taciturn. Periods of silence during negotiations are not unusual. Do not try to fill the silence with unnecessary talk

- The more you converse with your business partner the more physical he or she may become. Therefore, just enjoy it if typical business standoffishness eventually transforms

- Appointments: Be punctual. If you are going to be late, send a text or call the other person to let them know.

- When you are invited to an informal social event at a Polish home, you should arrive a quarter of an hour after the appointed time.

Riiight. So keep eye contact, even though the sensitive Poles may interpret this body language as domineering and aggressive. Stick to a firm handshake and above all don't talk too much as conversation makes them horny and they will get physical. Be on time unless it's more proper to be exactly late.

And lots of 'don'ts' like don't rest your ankle on your knee (I thought that was arabs?) don't clink glasses, wear old shiny suits that have been pressed rather than ostentatious new clothes, come in teams of one middle-aged man and one woman, so long as her jewellery is elegant but modest.

You couldn't make it up.
zetigrek
31 Jan 2013  #11
You owe them/us nothing more than you should owe a Polish businessperson for opening a business.

business owners care for themselves (read: their profit). I see no reason why anyone should feel they are more special than any other citizen.

Some of the funniest bits are in the 'Cultural Differences' section;

What's funny about them?

And lots of 'don'ts' like don't rest your ankle on your knee (I thought that was arabs?) don't clink glasses, wear old shiny suits that have been pressed rather than ostentatious new clothes, come in teams of one middle-aged man and one woman, so long as her jewellery is elegant but modest. You couldn't make it up.

For you it's obvious but maybe it's not so obvious for people from other countries.

Be on time unless it's more proper to be exactly late.

On informal occassions being late 15 minutes is ok for the host as they have more time for preparations.

Riiight. So keep eye contact, even though the sensitive Poles may interpret this body language as domineering and aggressive.

It's not about staring into someone's eyes without any break. Just to keep an eye contact at some pace. If you don't keep eye contact you might be judged as being either dishonest or shy.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
31 Jan 2013  #12
However, since the collective attitude of officialdom reflects the popular view, I'm not surprised to find a lack of appreciation apparent if this is true. It's not the sort of 'manana' frustration one encounters in the Club Med nations but a sort of inbuilt reluctance to make things easy for foreigners. And if so, there's little a Polish government can do about it.

that's a very good point
OP poland_
31 Jan 2013  #13
Poland wouldn't make it without you.

No one is suggesting Poland would not succeed without its foreign investors, although FDI has moved things along much swifter.

When someone writes that set up a buisness hence employ people, the question is if you hadn't set it up would a Pole do it?

Most likely not as the Jobs created in Poland have been because of my involvement with companies I am an investor in. So the jobs and tax revenue in Poland have been created only due to my being here. Although I would agree this is not the norm.

but don't put the things as if Poles should owe you thanks for coming to Poland.

In my opinion Poland could do more to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to this country.

Besides, immigrants in Poland like Ukrainians, Armenians or even Vietnamise tend to integrate faster than "expats"

There are communties of Ukrainians and Vietnamese living in Warsaw, I have never heard of communities of ' Expatriates' in Warsaw, this would suggest the Expats are assimilating into the Polish community.

There are very few true expats in PL now.

Exactly Jon, most of the Expats are now in the woodwork.

It's quite wrong, especially since Poland isn't some sort of backwater like Macedonia or Moldova.

Its a fully fledged member of the EU, also the benefactor of some of the highest EU subsidies in the entire EU.

especially the ability to join in a conversation as an equal has a lot to do with it too.

Good quote - Jon.

business owners care for themselves (read: their profit). I see no reason why anyone should feel they are more special than any other citizen.

That would suggest you are not a PO supporter, Po is a supporter of business.

You owe them/us nothing more than you should owe a Polish businessperson for opening a business.

Very good point.

Zetigrek, do you believe foreigners are taking jobs from Poles?

This was the question.

While we debate the relevance of one national culture over another, we would do well to think of one question, what has Poland done to assimilate her new generation of émigré’s, expatriates or immigrants. This new wave is building business-creating jobs, providing education and contributing under difficult circumstances in Poland.What can the Polish government do to make foreign workers feel more appreciated?

Your quote:

You people have serious issues, 99.9% of you came here because it was convenient for you, for one reason or another, not because you wanted to "help Poland" or any other crap, really you guys should get out more instead of living in your little world of "exapts", can you imagine a Polish person running a business in the UK (there are probably a few thousand) saying how much British owe them because they are building business there ? Get your head out of your butt because people reading it are laughing at you.

Grzegorz, if you decided to go and work in the next city, your first question would be whats in it for me.

I believe it is important for Poland to encourage more foreign business to Poland to create new jobs and bring in more tax revenues, so it is less reliant on EU subsides.
zetigrek
31 Jan 2013  #14
Zetigrek, do you believe foreigners are taking jobs from Poles?

I believe not all people who come here have good intentions. Some come here to make fast bucks regardless anything around them.

If you ask about proffessionals - there's limited space for them so for one educated foreigner one educated Pole will have less opportunities. Of course I don't argue that there are some people who have irreplaceble skills and experience and no other person on their position can be found.
Ironside 48 | 9,721
31 Jan 2013  #15
Oh we have a big shot here.

In my opinion Poland could do more to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to this country.

In my opinion Poland could do more to encourage local entrepreneurs for example make sure they will get paid for the job done.Unlike those contractors who actually build highways but money from the EU pocked by some fat cats with gov connections. Do you happen to know something about that?

I have never heard of communities of ' Expatriates' in Warsaw, this would suggest the Expats are assimilating into the Polish community.

there is other option, there are too few of them to form communities.

also the benefactor of some of the highest EU subsidies in the entire EU.

Still being discriminated as to agricultural benefits.
You make it sound as some kind of grace bestowed on Poland by the EU. If I'm reading you wrong I do apologize.

Po is a supporter of business.

You mean that support some few cronies of them to pocked money destined to pay for highways in Poland. I mean PO gov in Poland know exactly whom they given money to. When those thieves failed to fulfill their obligation what was/is stopping the PO's government from hunting them down and send them behind the bars where they belong?

Nah PO is not a business friendly but a swindle friendly.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
31 Jan 2013  #16
No one is suggesting Poland would not succeed without its foreign investors, although FDI has moved things along much swifter.

FDIs are not homogenic, there are some good and bad, altough those bad are mainly fault of naive/corrupted "Polish" authorities... they should never be allowed here... but I think we're talking about different things here... I've been working for quite a few foreign companies operating in Poland... most had 0 foreigners residing here... one had many but those were basically call center/processing kids with rare language skills, we couldn't find locally... it's not that foreign people living in Poland are crucial to FDIs coming here really...

Grzegorz, if you decided to go and work in the next city, your first question would be whats in it for me.

Of course. I check the opportunities and either I take it or not, I don't expect the other city to change itself to accommodate my special needs.

In my opinion Poland could do more to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to this country.

First of all "Poland" should stop ruining our own business, there are very few things Poles couldn't produce without foreigners, a fact that foreign companies play so huge role here is a matter of totally failed strategy on the government level, basically it's an example of pathology, not something which should be promoted even further. I know plenty of examples when Poles were running a successful business only to be ruined by subsidized "foreign investors" at some point. The logic you promote here is totally incorrect, Turkey is a great example of a country, which is becoming powerful largely thanks to NOT being allowed to the EU and not allowing "foreign investors" to rape their domestic market freely.

There are communties of Ukrainians and Vietnamese living in Warsaw, I have never heard of communities of ' Expatriates' in Warsaw, this would suggest the Expats are assimilating into the Polish community.

There are many cases, even on these forums, of quasi "expats", who don't know Polish even after living here for many many years.

That would suggest you are not a PO supporter, Po is a supporter of business.

Yes, their own :)))
OP poland_
31 Jan 2013  #17
Turkey is a great example of a country, which is becoming powerful largely thanks to NOT being allowed to the EU and not allowing "foreign investors" to rape their domestic market freely.

Turkey success is partially based upon it being the only Islamic democracy and secular. The fact Turkey is a part of NATO and has American troops on the ground also helps.
gumishu 11 | 5,012
31 Jan 2013  #18
the only Islamic democracy

Iran is a democracy for heaven's sake
AmerTchr 4 | 201
31 Jan 2013  #19
business owners care for themselves (read: their profit). I see no reason why anyone should feel they are more special than any other citizen.

You don't quite get it. You owe them the same. If that means nothing [from you] then that's what it is. Nothing special about being an expat businessperson instead of a Polish businessperson.
jon357 63 | 14,122
31 Jan 2013  #20
Turkey success is partially based upon it being the only Islamic democracy and secular. The fact Turkey is a part of NATO and has American troops on the ground also helps.

Indeed. And almost double the population, a vast geographical footprint, one of the biggest cities in the world and a very different economy.
OP poland_
31 Jan 2013  #21
Iran is a democracy for heaven's sake

illiberal democracy, the politics of Iran take place in a framework of theocracy in a format of Syncretic politics.

Do you happen to know something about that?

This could be interesting for you to digest.

paiz.gov.pl/poland_in_figures/foreign_direct_investment
Bieganski 17 | 901
1 Feb 2013  #22
As foreigners living in foreign lands, we are often asked to choose between national identities of our native and host country...what has Poland done to assimilate her new generation of émigré’s, expatriates or immigrants...What can the Polish government do to make foreign workers feel more appreciated?

Well this is an odd thread since many of the foreigners who claim to be living in Poland come on here and say they are now more Polish and know more about Poland than the Poles who left.

Like in any country if Poland didn't want foreign workers then they wouldn't even be let in in the first place or would be promptly thrown out.

But it takes two to tango. Many posts on PF indicate foreigners, whatever their status, don't necessarily see Poland as a long term investment either. On the one hand there are those from other developed economies who say they will be working in Poland for just a couple of years with no indication they hope to stay forever. Some have said they want to leave Poland as soon as possible or are glad they already did. However, this can be put down to homesickness or those personality types who are so arrogant and have the unrealistic expectation that Poland needs to bend over backwards to make them feel like they never left their native countries.

On the other hand there are those, mainly from the developing world, who are seeking Polish partners or admission to Polish schools (almost always with enquiries about obtaining work visas) but give no indication either that they want to make Poland their permanent home. There are hardly any who say once they get to Poland they are eager to learn Polish, its culture and history. Usually you see posts about teaching English or what jobs can be had with minimal or no knowledge of Polish. Other PF posters have pointed out that such migrants only want to use Poland as a door mat to wipe their feet on before entering the rest of the EU.

So I don't see why Poland should go through any great effort to make such transient foreigners feel like they are part of the family. Such foreigners have already made up their minds that Poland is not their final destination. Therefore at most Poland's responsibility to them should be limited to ensuring that any rights they may have as foreigners while in Poland are acknowledged and enforced when needed.

For those foreigners who want and are legally able to make Poland their permanent home then yes the burden is squarely on them to integrate fully. If they feel marginalized then they only have themselves to blame and so it may have to be left to any children or grandchildren they may have to achieve integration should they be raised in Poland and decide to stay.

Social cohesion is achieved when people are assimilated and that means they can't have divided loyalties.
jon357 63 | 14,122
1 Feb 2013  #23
Social cohesion is achieved when people are assimilated and that means they can't have divided loyalties.

Like Poles in the UK, some assimilate fully, some don't assimilate at all and most are somewhere on the continuum. The degree to which one assimilates isn't always a matter of choice. There are Poles abroad who are limited in their interactions with the host population due to language difficulties and their are others who are fully functioning in the language of the country who have settled in if they re the sort of person who easily settles in somewhere. There are grandchildren of Poles who have kept some of the cultural identity of their forebears, and there are others who are not in any way whatsoever Polish.

It's exactly the same for people who have come to Poland. In Warsaw, the immigrant communities (particularly English, French and Vietnamese speaking) are large enough for one to live in a bit of a bubble, though not yet enough (except perhaps for the Vietnamese) to be isolate themselves completely. The second generation of course attend Polish schools and grow up with the language.

For myself, I settled down very easily, picked up the language effectively (I very rarely use any English at all in Poland) and assimilated naturally and almost completely. Though I choose to cook the food I like, read literature from home, not participate in some parts of Polish life (through choice) and retain my cultural identity even though it isn't apparent to a stranger what that identity is. With hugely growing mobility within the EU, this, I suspect, will become far more common.
OP poland_
1 Feb 2013  #24
Like in any country if Poland didn't want foreign workers then they wouldn't even be let in in the first place or would be promptly thrown out.

With hugely growing mobility within the EU, this, I suspect, will become far more common.

Poland is not like any country, it is a fully participating member of the EU, therefore the responsibility is on Poland to actively welcome all EU workers and business people with equal opportunity.
Peakus - | 25
1 Feb 2013  #25
When or if I start my business there I am only hireing poles. No offense intended I just think its the right thing to do.
OP poland_
1 Feb 2013  #26
Do you think you would get away with it in Austrailia?

I am only hiring Aussies and NO immigrants...

I believe not all people who come here have good intentions.

It has to be said from the beginning: Whatever you say about Poland, someone else will claim the opposite. And most likely, both opinions will be right.
ismellnonsense - | 118
1 Feb 2013  #27
When or if I start my business there I am only hireing poles. No offense intended I just think its the right thing to do.

your choice
meanwhile the rest of us will get on with hiring the best people
Bieganski 17 | 901
1 Feb 2013  #28
Poland is not like any country, it is a fully participating member of the EU, therefore the responsibility is on Poland to actively welcome all EU workers and business people with equal opportunity.

EU citizens are free to go to Poland to live and work. If they don't that is a personal decision. If foreign businesses don't invest then that is a business decision. However, Poland shouldn't be reduced to being one big greenfield project for foreign business and foreign workers to come in and exploit to the max while the sustainability of the long term needs and interests of native Poles are completely disregarded.

Equal opportunity is great PC talk but it in practice it is not realistic in a competitive market place. Workers and business people always want easy entry for themselves to the market place but don't think for a moment that they want the same for competitors. If politicians are passing laws which favor domestic interests over foreign interests it is because their constituents are demanding it. No domestic worker wants to be unemployed or have their wages or other benefits depressed because foreign workers are willing to work for less based on the incorrect calculation that it will be a short term sacrifice. No domestic business wants to be forced to close because a foreign competitor (often with heavy government subsidies from their homelands) comes in and strangles the local market while repatriating profits back overseas. And no government wants foreign workers or businesses coming in if they are a threat to sensitive security, political or economic interests even when such threats are not apparent to the wider public.

When countries have equal opportunity laws they create hindrances and distortions which don't always lead to the best candidates being hired or plans being implemented. Such laws say a person or business cannot be discriminated against but they never go on to say that mutual benefits will result for all. They don't do this because they can't. Look at countries like Australia, Britain, America, France and Germany. They are all hyper-sensitive regarding foreign labor and ensuring women and minorities are represented at all levels of society. Fine and so their societies do indeed look very different but are they better places to live in? Is there less aggression, less crime, less income inequality? No. But why is this? Because these societies are forever screaming about "rights" but are scared to death to talk about "responsibilities" which go along with rights. And when people are made to feel they are entitled but they do not have much of anything in common to the rest of society or don't feel a sense of care and duty to the majority around them then equal opportunity becomes an exercise in futility.

There is an assumption many have that all people are reasonable and egalitarian but this is simply not the case no matter what your background is. Ultimately everyone acts in their own self-interests. That's reality.
ismellnonsense - | 118
1 Feb 2013  #29
However, Poland shouldn't be reduced to being one big greenfield project for foreign business and foreign workers to come in and exploit to the max while the sustainability of the long term needs and interests of native Poles are completely disregarded.

given that the eu has directly subsidised many of the poorest members of polish society
they really shouldnt complain
Bieganski 17 | 901
1 Feb 2013  #30
It would make no sense to invest in Poland only for such investment to be used to benefit foreign business and foreign labor and not Poles.


Home / Life / Foreigners in Poland - the identities of our native or the host country
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.