The chairman of the Solidaritet trade union, Artur Kubik, believes that Poles leave Norway not only because of cultural differences and the high cost of living, but also because of their disappointment with the social paradise that this country seems to be. As Kubik points out, the decline in unemployment in Poland and the improvement in the quality of life thanks to family benefits also have an impact on the trips.
At the end of December, Norwegian television NRK drew attention to the return of Poles to their homeland, which was influenced by the increase in wages in Poland and the decrease in the value of the crown. The Norwegian construction and shipbuilding industry has been shown to be running out of workers.
The existence of this trend is confirmed in an interview with PAP by lawyer and sociologist Artur Kubik, head of a trade union in Norway associating several thousand Poles, Lithuanians, Slovaks, and Norwegians. “The decisions to leave Norway are not easy and people make them individually. However, in the last five years the return movement has been more noticeable, and it may also be influenced by the pandemic” – he emphasizes.
As he adds, “of course it is not that we are dealing with a massive departure from Norway”. “While a few years ago the migration balance was significantly in favor of Norway, recent years show that some people leave, others come to Norway and this balance practically reaches zero”.
Kubik draws attention to cultural differences that begin to matter after a longer stay in the country of the fjords.
“The Norwegian society is closed, although the Norwegians consider themselves social and outgoing. They are not Americans, Italians, this is rather the other end of the scale. You have to live here for a long time to establish closer relations, they are not always completely friendly as if it could be. spend “- he notes.
Another problem pointed out by Kubik are high prices in Norway. “When making a decision to leave, one takes into account the amount of earnings, and not always the cost of living, which has increased significantly in recent years,” he emphasizes.
“During the first period in exile, Poles import some products from Poland or Sweden (also cheaper) in order to live at the Norwegian level. For the last year and a half, due to covid restrictions, it is very difficult” – he adds.
According to Kubik, it is not without significance to reduce the difference in living standards between Norway and Poland. “In Poland, unemployment has dropped, infrastructure has improved a lot,” he believes.
In the opinion of the head of the association, incl. Polish workers in Norway, Poles are leaving the country of the fjords also due to disappointment with the welfare state that Norway is considered to be. In this respect, the situation in Poland improved due to family benefits.
“Poles leave Norway also through Barnevernet (Office for Children – PAP). They emigrate to improve the lives of their loved ones, not for a trivial or imaginary reason for losing their children. I know families who, due to Barnevernet, left Norway partially or entirely Some returned to Poland because they did not want to risk “- he emphasizes.
Many cases related to Barnevernet v. Norway are pending before the Human Rights Tribunal.
According to Kubik, the size of the Norwegian pension may be a disappointment, which “is not as high as many people think”. “In one of the cases, for 15 years of work in a shipyard in Poland and 15 years in Norway, the Norwegian benefit turned out to be slightly greater than those from ZUS” – he emphasizes.
The interventions undertaken by the trade union Solidariet in Norway also show that there is a problem with obtaining and maintaining the right to benefits. “We have an overwhelming impression that foreigners are quite often discriminated against. We had an unemployment benefit case in the case of two of our members: a Norwegian woman and a Pole, working as waiters in the same place. The application for a woman was processed within a few days, and a Pole waited several days. months “- he lists.
According to Kubik, another problem faced by Poles in Norway is also discrimination in the workplace. “We often intervene in situations where Norwegians have higher salaries, and Poles are expected to work more. And these are not isolated cases” – he says. .
“Many of our countrymen are ambitious people, but unfortunately there are situations + where their wings are cut, and among the members of Solidaritet there are also, for example, doctors, where it can be noticed that despite their experience, competences and knowledge, they do not get promoted as quickly as their Norwegian colleagues. Norway is not the United States. “
Daniel Zyśk (PAP)
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