Log in to gain access to the full content version

Select your language



Breaking Barriers: How Poles in the UK Can Overcome Challenges and Find Support

From Discrimination to Integration: A Guide to Available Resources and Communities Helping Poles Build a Better Future in the UK

Based on conversations with social support providers and observations, it's evident that Poles living in the United Kingdom face a range of challenges, which can vary depending on their individual experiences:

1. Discrimination and Xenophobia: Poles experience discrimination and xenophobia, both in the workplace and in everyday life. This can include negative stereotypes, offensive comments, and even physical aggression. Following the Brexit referendum, many Poles reported an increase in hate speech and xenophobia-motivated attacks.

2. Language Barrier: Although many Poles in the UK speak English, the language barrier can still be a problem, especially for newly arrived immigrants or those who are not confident in using English. This can hinder access to services, obtaining employment at the appropriate level of qualifications, or full participation in social life.


3. Workplace Challenges: Poles often encounter difficulties in finding jobs that match their qualifications. Many work below their competency level or in uncertain employment conditions. Discrimination in the workplace and unequal treatment are also issues they face.

4. Legal Uncertainty and Immigration Status: Brexit has introduced significant uncertainty among Poles regarding their future status in the UK. Changes in immigration law and the need to apply for settled status were sources of stress and uncertainty for many.


5. Social Isolation and Lack of Support: Some Poles may feel isolated due to limited social networks, difficulties in making new acquaintances, or lack of access to Polish-language support services. Isolation can be particularly challenging for the elderly and those experiencing health problems.

6. Access to Health Services: Although Poles theoretically have the same right to access the NHS as British citizens, language barriers, lack of understanding of the healthcare system, and fear of discrimination can make it difficult to use healthcare services.


7. Education and Child Development: Polish parents may encounter difficulties related to the UK education system, including providing adequate language support for their children and understanding their rights and available resources.

These problems highlight the need for support and understanding from British society and institutions to enable Poles and other immigrant groups to fully and equally participate in the country's life.

To counter the challenges faced by Poles in the UK, there are several remedial possibilities and sources of support. Here are some ways to deal with the mentioned problems:

If you are happy with our work and you DO actually want to send a little thanks our way, click the 'Subscribe' button and support us with a little £2 a month - it would be hugely appreciated and help us to keep growing Wyspa TV channel.

Login now


  1. Discrimination and Xenophobia
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): Many organizations, such as the Polish Association, offer legal support and advice for those experiencing discrimination or violence.
  • Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS): Provides advice and support to individuals who have experienced discrimination.
  1. Language Barrier
  • Language Courses: Local educational centres and community organizations often offer free or low-cost English courses.
  • Translation and Interpretation Services: Access to oral and written translators can help in communication with institutions.
  1. Workplace Challenges
  • Polish Professional Organizations: Networking and professional support offered by Polish professional associations in the UK.
  • Jobcentre Plus and Employment Agencies: Provide assistance in finding jobs, career advice, and information about training.
  1. Legal Uncertainty and Immigration Status
  • Citizens Advice: Offers free legal advice, including on immigration matters.
  • Polish Consulates and Embassy: Can provide current information and support on legal status issues.
  1. Social Isolation and Lack of Support
  • Polish Community Centers and Churches: Places where Poles can connect, participate in cultural events, and receive emotional support.
  • Social Media Groups: Forums and groups for Poles in the UK, where they can share experiences and get advice.
  1. Access to Health Services
  • NHS 111: A health advice phone service, also available in Polish.
  • Charitable Organizations: Such as Mind, offer support in mental health areas.
  1. Education and Child Development
  • Polish Saturday Schools: Offer additional classes in Polish language and history for children of Polish immigrants.
  • Local Education Authority (LEA): Can provide language and educational support for children who do not speak English fluently.

Remember, in case of any difficulties, it's crucial to seek help and utilize available resources. Many organizations and institutions in the UK are ready to support Poles and assist them in integration and problem-solving.

Editor: Maria Anna Furman

Subscribe to mailing list