The Polish plumber, who haunted many debates about the 2004 enlargement, has apparently decided to go back home… Image made available under Creative Commons licence by Consulat de la Boirie
Following EU enlargement in 2004, the UK opened its employment market to citizens of the newly joined member states. Despite initial government reassurances that there would no influx of migration, Central and Eastern Europeans were soon arriving in their hundreds of thousands. The government insists that the new migrants have had a net positive impact on the British economy, however socially their arrival has been greeted with mixed emotions. Interestingly, the European origin of these new immigrants has blurred traditional lines of debate about migration in Britain and has had a significant impact on politics and on perceptions of the European Union.