Prior to Poland joining the European Union (EU) on 1 May 2004, the EU 15 and the accession countries agreed a transitional system, which would allow the 'old' Member States to continue to restrict access to their labour markets for accession country workers for up to five years. While twelve of the EU 15 initially left their restrictions in place, the United Kingdom (UK), along with Ireland and Sweden, granted immediate access to their labour markets. At the same time, the UK introduced legislation requiring accession country workers to register with the Worker Registration Scheme and amended the Habitual Residence Test to add a new right to reside requirement for non-contributory means-tested benefits. This paper looks at the position and profile of Polish workers and their families within the UK labour market during the period 2004 - 2008; examines entitlement to social security benefits for Polish workers in the context of evolving UK and EU social security regulations; and concludes that a just migration policy must include migrants in the solidarities that underpin the tax and public service system.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.