Ukrainian migrants Poland

Ukrainian Migrants

in Poland



harvest blueberry we are off (2)
allow trailer (2) fill the gap
permit average pay/paid/paid
earn miss (2) it pains my heart
wage heart (2) leave/left/left (2)
pain ten times speak/spoke/spoken
join boom (2) would rather
fill almost all construction
gap colony (2) household
prefer dream (2) send/sent/sent
ton quarters rest of Europe
field (2) not least work for us
for now substitute eat/ate/eaten



Video: Ukrainian Migrants in Poland



In Bialausi in northeastern Poland, we’re off to the blueberry harvest.

The trailer is full. Everyone is from Ukraine, and almost all of the are women. Seven hundred Ukrainians work here at harvest time.

Farm Boss: “Off you go; two at at time please.”

About one million Ukrainians work in Poland, like Tanya. She has a permit that allows her to work in the EU country.

Tanya, Ukrainian Harvest Worker: “There are jobs in Ukraine, but they just don’t pay. It’s much better in Poland.”

They’re paid by the box of blueberries. Tanya earns on average, fifty euros (50€) a day. Average wages in Ukraine are only about two-hundred euros (200€) a month for the same work.

Almost all those I spoke to have left children at home. Natalia has two daughters, ten and six years old.

Natalia, Ukrainian Harvest Worker: “I miss them a lot. They’re still little and it pains my heart. But what should I do?

Journalist: “How much more do you earn here?”

Natalia, Ukrainian Harvest Worker: “Ten times as much!”

Journalist: “TEN times as much?”

The Polish economy has been booming for years. Poland needs workers, not least because two-million Poles have left the country since it jointed the EU.

Ukrainians fill the gaps in construction, in households and in the fields.

Helena Wilczewska, Farmer: “It’s the Ukrainians who work here — our people prefer to go to Germany or Britain.”

Poland is one of the main exporting countries for blueberries. Thanks to the Ukrainian workers, about eighty (80) tons a day are sent to the rest of Europe.

In the evening, the harvest workers’ quarters are in a small Ukrainian colony.

Tanya and four friends live in this room. They work ten-hours a day, six days a week. They’re like a substitute family and cook and eat together every evening.

Tanya, Ukrainian Harvest Worker: “In ten years, we might earn more in Ukraine . . . then maybe the Pole will come and work for us.”

They’d rather be living and working in Ukraine. But for now, they can only dream of the kind of economic boom that their Polish neighbors are experiencing.

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1. All the blueberry harvesters on the Polish farm are local (Polish) men. True or false?

2. Are Ukrainians rare in Poland? Are there few Ukrainians in Poland?

3. The harvesters are paid exactly $5.50 an hour. Is this right or wrong? How are they paid, and how much do they earn on average per day?

4. Most of the harvesters are teenagers or students working during the summer. Is this correct or incorrect?

5. Why do the Ukrainians come and work in Poland?

6. Why don’t Poles harvest crops, do construction and household work?

7. Do Ukrainians love living and working in Poland? Do they believe this is a permanent situation?


A. Blueberries are a popular snack in my country. Yes or no? Where do they come from?

B. There are many immigrants or migrant workers in my city and country. True of false? If yes, where do they come from?

C. Have many people from your country emigrated to other countries? Do you know anyone who has moved abroad? If yes, which countries?

D. What can you say about the labor market in your city or country? Is there enough, not enough or too many job seekers? Is there high or low unemployment?

E. Do migrants move back to their homelands?

F. What might happen in the future?

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