Warsaw, Poland – The number of foreigners living in Poland has reached an all-time high of 423,000 at the beginning of 2020, according to figures released last week by the Polish Office for Foreigners (UdSC).
Among the 423,000 foreigners with valid residence permits, more than half of them come from neighbouring Ukraine (214,700), by far the largest foreign-born community in Poland for the past few years. The massive wave of immigration from Ukraine has, in fact, made Poland the largest provider of first residence permits in the EU – a reality that stands in sharp contrast with the current government’s anti-immigration rhetoric.
Other sizable expat minorities in Poland include citizens from Belarus (25,600), Germany (21,300), Russia (12,500), Vietnam (12,100) and India (9,900), according to UdSC data. Italians have also settled in great numbers in Poland (8,500), followed by Chinese (8,500), Brits (6,300) and Spanish citizens (5,900).
Over 240,000 of the foreigners are staying in Poland on a temporary residence permit, compared to nearly 80,000 with permanent residency.
The number of foreigners has increased by more than 50,000 compared to the same period last year. The biggest hikes came from Ukrainians (+35,700 year-on-year), Belorussians (+5,500), Georgians (+2,700), Indians and Moldavians (+1,100 each).
Although the number of foreigners living in Poland has been multiplied by five over the past decade, they still account for a minuscule minority of roughly 1.1% of the total population.
By way of comparison, foreign-born nationals account for more than 5% of the population in neighbouring Czech Republic.