Poland’s ambassador to the UK has written to Poles urging them to “seriously consider returning to their homeland” after Brexit.
In a letter to the 800,000 Polish people who currently live in the UK, Arkady Rzegocki – who has represented Warsaw in the UK since 2016 – said Poland “regrets” the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
“I also encourage you to seriously consider the possibility of returning to your homeland,” Rzegocki said.
“The rapidly growing economy of our country creates more and more opportunities for citizens for development and good living conditions in the country.
“Soon, Great Britain, which has been home to thousands of Poles for generations, will most likely cease to be a member of the European Union - which we regret, but we also see this process as an opportunity to strengthen the bond between our two countries.”
Meanwhile, Rzegocki also shared his worries about the settled-status application process, writing that just 27% of Poles living in the UK have applied for settled status and branding the figure “alarmingly low”.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Wednesday, the ambassador said: “Of course, we are concerned about this process a little bit, because there’s 42% of people [EU citizens] who have received pre-settled status.
“It means that there are quite a lot of people who have had a problem with receiving settled status.”
Even people who have lived in the UK five or 10 years have had problems, he added.
Meanwhile, Poland and the Polish economy are growing, and living standards in the country are improving, Rzegocki said.
“I think it is a very good opportunity to come back to Poland. I think you can achieve your goals in both Britain and Poland.”
When questioned on how many Poles may choose to go back, Rzegocki said: “It is difficult to predict. Last year 116,000 left the country. There are still about a million here but you can see there is a discussion being had.
“We are doing the best to keep our relationship as close as possible, as there is a long friendship between our countries.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly suggested that Rzegocki said 42% of EU citizens had had problems applying for settled status due to an error by our agency. We are happy to correct the mistake.