- By Prerna MankadPrerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.
Earlier this month, Passport noted that Eastern European countries are facing a labor crunch that threatens to impede their rapid economic expansion. Companies in Poland, for instance, have been forced to look outside the country for skilled workers—even though Poland’s unemployment rate is 13 percent. And so, hosting the 2012 European football championships, a multi-billion dollar soccer event, is proving to be more of a burden than a blessing as the country struggles to find enough construction workers.
Well, Poland may just have found a solution: importing labor from India. Poland already hosts around 3,000 Indian workers, but could welcome hundreds of thousands more as a result of a recent agreement between the two countries to make Poland the “next hot destination for Indians.”
It’s a supply that’s much needed. Between 800,000 and 2 million Poles have left the country since it joined the European Union three years ago. India, for its part, will no doubt benefit as well through remittances sent back from workers in Poland, especially as demand for workers from countries in the Middle East starts to dry up. And as India’s IT competitiveness declines slightly, it can still take advantage of its main competitive advantage: abundant labor.
Margaret Slattery is assistant managing editor at Foreign Policy, working primarily on FP's print magazine. A Los Angeles native and recent graduate of Yale University, where she majored in English, she has written for The New Republic and has studied in Leon, Spain.| The List |