Friday, July 18 - Polish workers will get welcome packs to understand British life

PUBLISHED: 20:00 18 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:19 10 June 2010

A NEW welcome pack for Polish migrant workers arriving in Exmouth has been produced to help them make the most of their time in the county.

A NEW 'welcome pack' for Polish migrant workers arriving in Devon has been produced to help them make the most of their time in the county.

The pack covers a wide range of information on useful subjects such as housing, employment, medical services, driving, education, religion and emergency services.

The pack also contains tips on dealing with the British way of life including:

* "'How are you?' is not really a question, but part of the greeting. Don't respond with the details of your health. Better to answer with a brief 'ok', 'fine, thank you' or at the worst 'so-so'."

* As in many parts of the world, talking about the weather is a good way of starting a conversation. It is a useful way of agreeing with someone first, especially if you then need to talk about a more difficult subject.

* You may notice that the English tend to say 'Please', 'Sorry' and 'Thank you' A lot. Use them where you can, and just to be on the safe side, smile.

* Getting together for a cup of tea or coffee (also known as 'having a cuppa') is almost a ritual in England. It also provides an opportunity to overcome shyness and make everyone feel more comfortable. You may be asked whether you want your drink weak or strong, white (with milk) or black (without).

Produced in both Polish and English, the pack has been put together by the Devon Migrant Worker Task Group, established by the Devon Strategic Partnership with the financial support of Devon County Council and involving representatives of migrant workers, a wide range of agencies from the statutory and voluntary sectors, employers and community groups.

The pack is aimed at Polish people who may be planning to stay in Devon in the longer term or are just intending to work in Devon for a short while before returning home.

Sally Foxhall, Chair of the Devon Strategic Partnership, said: "It has been suggested that without migrant labour, London would grind to a halt.

"In Devon, in areas such as the hotel and catering industry, shop work, nursing homes, cleaning and agriculture, in many instances migrant workers form the backbone of the workforce.

"We are doing all we can to make migrant workers feel welcome and valued in our communities, and to help them make the most of their time in Devon."

Executive member for regeneration, strategic planning and regional affairs, Councillor Humphrey Temperley, said: "In some sectors - for example meat processing plants and the dairy industry - employees favour a high proportion of migrant workers.

"We want them to feel a part of life in Devon and will do all we can to help."

The packs will be distributed throughout Devon by Task Group partner organisations, coordinated by the Community Council of Devon (contact info@devonrcc.org.uk).

Over the two years between April 2005 and March 2007 5,360 Polish people applied for National Insurance Numbers in Devon - by far the biggest group of migrant workers.

The Institute for Public Policy Research's (IPPR) 'Paying their way' study in 2005 found that the per capita revenue to the Government generated by immigrants in 2003/04 was higher than that for the UK born. The study went on to show that Government expenditure per capita on immigrants was lower than for the UK born.

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