Polish Migrants Make Up Largest Migrant Community In Northern Ireland
The number of Poles living in the UK has been high since the days when Britain was in the EU and many took the opportunity to travel to Britain to pursue new life and job opportunities. Even after Brexit, the numbers remain significant.
New Census data from Northern Ireland has shown that Poles are in fact the largest immigrant group in that part of the UK, which means the need for Polish translation services could eclipse that for any other group.
The number of Poles living in Northern Ireland was 22,300 on Census Day, which was the largest number born in any nation other than the UK or Republic of Ireland and also higher than the combined total of residents born in Scotland and Wales.
When the Republic of Ireland is discounted, the total number of EU-born citizens was 67,500, which means Poland made up a third of the tally spread across 26 countries.
Although many Poles are entirely fluent in English and can manage even to deal with complex documentation without interpretation, not all can and may need translation help with this.
However, as the Irish Times reported, the children of Polish families growing up and being schooled in Northern Ireland may be more likely to grow up as translators, as ten Polish Saturday schools have been established to help ensure they are familiar with Polish language and customs as well as speaking English.
Ewa Kołakowska, a parent, volunteer and board member at the Belfast Polish Saturday School, said: “They learn about Poland and about our traditions, our culture and our language”, adding that it is “touching” when they sing Christmas Carols in Polish or the national anthem on Independence Day.
The UK Census has been split three ways, with one set of statistics for England and Wales, one for Northern Ireland and one for Scotland. The latter survey was delayed by a year, meaning no results are out yet.
Figures for England and Wales showed 593,000 people identified as Polish, unchanged from 2011. In both Censuses this was the most numerous non-British identity.