Richard North, 07/08/2004  

Following the accession of ten new member states to the EU, Ireland is reporting a dramatic increase in immigrants from those states. Some 23,000 people have sought employment since May, when the countries joined – nearly ten times more than the number given work permits in the first four months of the year.

Almost 11,000 have come from Poland, nearly 5,000 from Lithuania and over 2,000 each from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The majority of Poles are working in the services sector or in "manual jobs" such as on building sites and in meat factories. Irish employers seem well pleased, and are reported to have a high regard for Polish workers.

On the other hand, the chairman of the Czech Doctors' Trade Union (LKO), is getting worried about the number of his members that have sought work in the “old” EU. Out of 33,000, some 2,000 have departed to pastures new. Most are working in Britain and Germany, where some can increase their salaries ten-fold.

However, not all the doctors intend to immigrate. Many commute, taking advantage of low cost airlines in order to enjoy the high salaries where they work while benefiting from the low living costs in the Czech Republic. Not silly these Czechs.

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