Poland Scraps Income Tax for Under-26s to Encourage Young to Stay Home, Emigrants to Return


Poland is abolishing income tax for millions of young people, in order to discourage “brain drain” and encourage young emigrants who have abandoned the country for other EU member-states under the Free Movement migration regime to come home.

Almost two million Poles have left their home country since 2004, leaving largely for the United Kingdom, followed by Germany, including almost 600,000 university graduates.

“It’s a gigantic loss. We have to draw the young people back,” said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who, like his Hungarian counterpart and ally Viktor Orbán, favours supporting more citizens to raise families and encouraging what is sometimes called “remigration” over importing large numbers of foreign nationals to resolve demographic and labour issues.

“Over the past 30 years Poland has asked too much of its young people and has not done enough to help them. Employers were not ready to raise salaries for their young workers, so we will do it through scrapping their income tax,” Morawiecki explained.

Starting immediately, Poles up to the age of 26 will pay no tax on earning up to 85,500 złoty (£18,200) a year — a very generous cap, well above average annual incomes in the country.

Asked by the BBC if fewer people Poles were migrating to the United Kingdom or even returning from the country since the Brexit vote in January, Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki indicated that “More and more are coming back, and I’m very happy with that”.

This stance by national populist-leaning governments in Central Europe which are broadly eurosceptic — although for now not in favour of leaving the bloc — often surprises left-liberal commentators in Western Europe, who take it for granted the Free Movement regime has been of benefit to the poorer Central and South-East European member-states which most migrants have come from.

In fact, the governments of countries like Poland and Hungary have all been clear that they wish to improve conditions at home so that their young people and skilled workers stay where they are and raise families, and that they do not view the Free Movement regime’s tendency to drain youth and talent from low-wage economies into relatively high-wage economies as a positive.

“I would hope that many, many Poles would come back to Poland. so give us our people back,” Morawiecko joked.

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