Poland was the undisputed economic champion of the last decade. Not only did it double its GDP while every other nation in Europe faltered, it was the only western country to avoid a recession after the economic crisis of 2009.
However, there is a huge problem on the horizon: its population has begun to nosedive.
Since joining the EU in 2004, many Poles have migrated to other European countries putting a huge dent in population growth. Meanwhile, immigrants from neighboring countries including Ukraine provides only a small trickle of new residents, which doesn't offset the drain. At the same time the average number of children Polish couples are producing is almost half the amount of the U.K. and U.S.
Poland’s population in the post-communist era has hung around the 38 to 38.5 million range. But by 2050 it could fall to 33 million and more than a third will be retirement age.
The relatively low cost of doing business in Poland had attracted many multi-national corporations to expand and in fact move massive amounts of their operations there. Unfortunately, it is becoming harder for companies to fill employment position due to the shrinking population and skilled workforce.
While there have been many reforms in Poland since 1989, the one thing stifling settlement of foreigners has been the amount of red tape to become a legal resident.
The government is starting to realize the problems concerning negative population growth and they have liberalized the regulations for short-term employment visas allowing migrants to work in agriculture, and other sectors that rely on low-wage, casual workers. But, that scheme is not a permanent solution.
The conflict in Ukraine has increased the volume immigrants, but most of them are not paying taxes or contributing to pension plans, and like the illegals here in the USA are sending the bulk of what they earn back home rather than helping local economies.
Accepting foreign immigrants can present problems as witnessed in Germany, France and England. The best fix is for Poles to procreate at a more rapid pace. In a country that is almost entirely Catholic, you would expect it to be a relatively easy task.
The low birth rate is akin to Poles cutting off their nose to spite their face. Looking in the mirror 30 years from now - they'll realize how ugly a situation it has become.