It is impossible to know how many British people are currently living permanently in Poland at present, given that as fellow European Union citizens, they are not obliged to register. However, registering your stay in Poland is no straight-forward affair, and it is often necessary to have all your documentation translated into Polish and be prepared to spend a lot of time in a queue, to be asked lots of seemingly irrelevant questions and to spend most of your day doing it. Many British people who have moved to live and work in Poland permanently have done so for a multitude of reasons. Some have moved with their Polish spouses back to Poland to set up family homes. Others have taken advantage of the good business opportunities which have presented themselves since Poland joined the European Union in 2004. The demand for English language tuition by native speakers in both language schools and privately means that many British people have also been able to set themselves up as TEFL/ESL teachers in Polish towns and cities.
In cities such as Krakow and Warsaw, the British expat community is well-established, with a international schools employing teachers and businesses employing English-speakers in fields such as translation, HR and recruitment. However, it is often difficult for British people to find jobs in Poland unless they have an excellent command of Polish or are working for a large international company where their native command of English is sufficient. Therefore the professions in which the British minority are employed in Poland are quite limited. Nevertheless, some British people have set up businesses in Poland, taking advantage of the highly educated and skilled workforce, low labour costs and lower taxes. Given that many Brits either work self-employed or for an international company, often they will not necessarily have to deal with the bureaucracy of Polish employment or contract law.
Those Brits who have married a Polish partner often will have a better chance of integrating into the Polish way of life as they are able to join in family traditions, which are at the heart of Polish culture. There are many differences between British and Polish culture, which can make those living in Poland always feel foreign, no matter how much one understands the language or culture of the country. One of the major differences between life in Britain and Poland is the attitude to family. In Poland, it is not unusual for several generations to be living under the same roof. Sharing a house with your grandparents is not unusual and most Poles would not even consider placing them in a nursing home. For a British person, this can be quite claustrophobic as we are generally used to having our own space, away from the in-laws. The older generation of Poles are still quite conservative and family values are very strong, with a powerful Catholic undercurrent still dominating the social milieu. Although this may be welcomed by some, in general British people are a lot less religious and more liberal that their Polish counterparts and this is a potential cause of friction as we British may not want our children to be baptised along with all the other Polish children or to go to church every week come rain or shine.