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No land for old men? Poland waives income tax for young people



A new law coming into force this week in Poland will lift income tax for around 2 million young workers.

Policemen under the age of 26 earning less than 85,528 Polish zlotys ($ 22,547) per year will be exempt from income tax of 18% from August 1st. The allowance is generous, considering that the average Polish salary is just under 60,000 zlotys ($ 15,700) per annum.

  Seasonal workers from Poland harvest white asparagus in Germany.
When Poland and seven other Central and Eastern European countries joined the European Union in 2004, their citizens were given the right to work without a work permit or visa throughout the block.

When Morawiecki stood up for the new law in parliament, he said that 1.7 million people have left Poland in the past 15 years. "It's like leaving the whole city of Warsaw … it's a huge loss," he said.

"It has to end, young people have to stay in Poland," Morawiecki added.

The exodus had a negative impact on the economy. "Over the last three (or) four years, we have realized that there is a shortage of workers and that we need them again," said Barbara Jancewicz, director of the Department of Migration Research Economics at the Center for Migration Research in Warsaw. [19659011] European Union takes legal action to protect Polish judges "src-mini =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180704100753-02-poland-judicial-reform-0703-warsaw-demo-small -169.jpg "src-xsmall =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180704100753-02-poland-judicial-reform-0703-warsaw-demo-medium-plus-169.jpg "src small = "http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180704100753-02-poland-judicial-reform-0703-warsaw-demo-large-169.jpg" src-medium = "// cdn. cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180704100753-02-poland-judicial-reform-0703-warsaw-demo-exlarge-169.jpg "src-large =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets /180704100753-02-poland-judicial-reform-0703-warsaw-demo-super-169.jpg "src-full16x9 =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180704100753-02-poland-judicial- reform-0703-warsaw-demo-full-169.jpg "src-mini1x1 =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180704100753-02-poland-judicial-reform-0703-warsaw-demo-small -11.jpg "data-demand-load =" not-loaded "data-eq-pts =" mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, m edium: 461, large: 781 "/>

Kinga Kitowska is one of those who have resigned. The 22-year-old business analyst came to London to study and stayed there after getting a job in finance.

Although she considers the government's offer generous, it is not enough to persuade her to return.

"To keep young people in the countryside, I do not think that's the way to go," she said. "It's about creating opportunities and opening sectors that are currently attractive to young people."

Even immigration experts are not convinced that the strategy will work.

"It's not all about money," said Heather Rolfe, head of the Employment and Social Policy Team at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a think tank in London.

"Investigations conducted on young Polish migrants in the UK have shown that young people often leave as a kind of transitional ritual to get away from their families and gain some independence," she said.

Kitowska agrees. The salary is important but has no priority. "I'm looking for opportunities in the short term rather than money," she said. The job she has in London does not really exist in Poland. Most financial jobs are in back offices, which are behind the scenes of non-customer companies. "They do not have that many reception options," she said.

Britain has been the most popular destination for Polish migrants since 2004, with almost 1 million now living in the British Isles. Despite the great economic progress that Poland has made in recent years, salaries in the UK are still considerably higher. "The tax relief of 18% is a lot, but it still does not close the (profit) gap between Poland and the UK," said Jancewicz.

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The tax exemption is only one of many welfare measures announced by the ruling Justice and Justice Party (PiS) before the European elections in May. A parliamentary election must also take place until November.

The government expects the social package, which includes new benefits for families with children and bonus pension payments, to cost 40 billion zlotys ($ 10 billion).

Reforms are investments in society and the economy. And although the law found overwhelming support in the PiS-dominated Polish parliament, it has also sparked some criticism.

Ryszard Petru, MP for the opposition Now! Party, the measure called "extremely fraudulent populism".

  The Polish government wants young people to stay in the country.

Petru said in parliament that the costly new law is likely to lead employers to lower wages and pay after-tax payrolls instead of improving young people the same ,

"And what happens when they turn 26? They're fired because they suddenly become more expensive," he added.

Rolfe said that the age limit will likely disqualify those who are already abroad and are considering returning to Poland. "The time people think about whether to stay or return to their homeland is a little later, when they decided to have children, in their late twenties and early thirties," she said.

However, the law could help persuade those who are thinking of going to stay.

"It is much more important for those who are still in Poland and have not yet emigrated because it promotes more stable employment and brings them some benefit … therefore they may be more vulnerable to stay in Poland." Jancewicz said.

  The CNN survey shows why immigration can not be solved.

Even if politics does not work as intended, the Polish people could reconsider their British future. The fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit referendum in 2016 has significantly reduced the attractiveness of work in the UK.

The atmosphere has also deteriorated. The Brexit debate focused on immigration, and police statistics showed that reported hate crimes against immigrants increased after the referendum. Statistics show that more Poles are leaving the UK than arriving.

The British government's Brexit policy and perceived British hostility towards migrants may prove more effective in returning Polish migrants to their homeland as tax relief.

Tara John of CNN contributed to this report.


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