The governments of Poland and the Ukraine have signed an agreement on legalising most of the Ukrainian seasonal workers that migrate into Poland every year.
As the leading Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita reports, the two governments signed, during the 8th Polish-Ukrainian summit meeting, an agreement that will allow 200,000 Ukrainians every year to work in Poland for a limited time. “The agreement will replicate the agreement that Poland had with Germany, and which has been tested for years,” Marek Liszewski from the economy and labour section of the Polish Ministry of Economy told Rzeczpospolita. Under this agreement, Poles can work as seasonal labourers in Poland’s neighbouring state to the West, for the accession treaties do not allow for full labour force mobility. Many Poles work in agriculture, housekeeping and social services – in the same kind of jobs that are in Poland increasingly being done by Ukrainians. The latest estimates show that 250,000 Ukrainians are working in Poland illegally.
Poland and the Ukraine, who were for a long time hostile towards each other, have become much more friendly since the ‘Orange Revolution’ in the Ukraine, which brought President Viktor Yushchenko to power and was openly supported by Poland. At the summit, treaties on important industry co-operation between the two countries were concluded. On 27 June 2005, Mr. Yushchenko met NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to discuss the country’s possible accession to NATO, which Poland is already a member of. Poland also supports Ukraine’s bid to join the EU.