I know that the word Great Migration is reserved for the migration of Chinese peasants to cities and taking jobs in export oriented indutries and services at a rate of 1 to 1.5 mln per month! See HSBC research note for details. In this context the fact that some 600,000 plus Eastern Europeans moved to UK and took jobs there may seem a miniscule event on the global scene. But it did have a major positive effect on UK economy (helping to increase potential output and reducing inflation pressures) and in many Central Easter European countries there are labor shortages in some markets (construction workers, welders etc.).

S.Drinkwater et al. have a very interesting paper that looks at the recent wave of migrants to the UK after the May 2004 EU enlargement. Unlike migrants from developed countries which take mostly managerial jobs, EU8 migrants are employed in routine jobs and that average earnings are just under 6 pounds per hour, marginally above to UK minimum wage set to 4.50 in May 2004 and increased to 5.05 in June 2006.

Poles account for 62 percent of EU8 migrants in the UK, and among all migrants 82% are in the 18-34 age bracket. Paper states that particularly in the case of Poles the type of job and wage compared with level of education indicates very poor return on human capital.

This is a very early stage of the Great Poles Migration to UK and Ireland, and the recent Financial Times article was correct to indicate, that sooner rather than later some of those migrants will have established successful companies. Poles are among the most entrepeneurial people in the world (simply communism was not a good environment to breed great companies) so I expect that in next few years people having routine jobs will move up the professional ladder and many of them will create successfull companies. It is up to Poland and other EU10 countries to create right policies to use this intellectual capital created abroad for the benefit of the home country. Some suggestions what should be done are in my book (part 1, available in Polish on this blog).