The Polish plumber phenomenon has not materialized, says Brussels… That is, the feared invasion of workers from eastern European countries taking jobs from their European Union neighbours.
A European Commission report says since 2004 these new EU workers have helped meet demand in the older EU countries. They do not appear to have displaced local workers or hurt their wages.
Since 2004 enlargement, Poles and other new eastern members mostly chose the UK and Ireland, and made up 1-5 percent of the workforce. Bulgarians and Romanians mostly chose Spain and Italy.
The number of workers on the move and the countries they go to depend on where the right jobs are, and whose doors are open.
The commission believes that the study’s findings offer further encouragement for EU states to lift their remaining restrictions on worker circulation. It says this will limit the consequences of black-market labour. Germany intends to keep restricting access until 2011, although businesses complain there are not enough trained workers to go round.