Polish ambassador tells Poles in Britain to 'seriously consider coming home' after Brexit
- Arkady Rzegocki has asked 800,000 Poles in UK to 'consider' returning home
- In a letter, the ambassador said Poland 'regrets' Britain's departure from the EU
- Rzegocki said only 27 per cent of Poles in the UK had applied for a settled status
The Polish ambassador to the UK has written to Poles in Britain encouraging them to 'seriously consider returning to their homeland' post-Brexit.
In a letter to the 800,000 Poles who currently live in the UK, Arkady Rzegocki said Poland 'regrets' Britain's departure from the European Union, which is due to take place on October 31.
He said: 'I also encourage you to seriously consider the possibility of returning to your homeland.
'The rapidly growing economy of our country creates more and more opportunities for citizens for development and good living conditions in the country.
The Polish ambassador to the UK Arkady Rzegocki (pictured) has written to Poles in Britain asking them to 'seriously consider' returning to their homeland
'Soon, Great Britain, which has been home to thousands of Poles for generations, will most likely cease to be a member of the European Union - which we regret, but we also see this process as an opportunity to strengthen the bond between our two countries.'
Rzegocki - who has represented Warsaw in the UK since 2016 - also said only 27 per cent of Poles living in the UK have submitted an application for settled status, claiming this was an 'alarmingly low level'.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Wednesday, Rzegocki said this process is 'straightforward' but he already has 'concerns'.
He said: 'There's 42 per cent of people [EU citizens] who have received pre-settled status.
'Many people do not realise they have to register as they have lived here for many years. Even if they have resident status, they still have to register.
'There are quite a lot of problems with people trying to receive settled status. People who have been here five or 10 years have also had problems.'
Rzegocki went on to claim now is a 'good opportunity' for nationals to return to Poland, as the economy and living standards are both improving.
He said: 'Poland and the Polish economy is growing, life standards are improving - they are much different compared to five to ten years ago.
'I think it is a very good opportunity to come back to Poland. I think you can achieve your goals in both Britain and Poland.'
In a letter to the 800,000 Poles who currently live in the UK (pictured) Rzegocki said Poland 'regrets' Britain's departure from the EU
The ambassador (pictured in Harlow, Essex in 2016) added now is a 'good opportunity' for nationals to return to Poland
He added: 'On one hand there is still a lot of time to apply, on the other hand because of Brexit it is better to achieve settled status soon.'
When questioned on how many Poles may choose to go back, Rzegocki said: 'It is difficult to predict. Last year 116,000 left the country. There are still about a million here but you can see there is a discussion being had.
'We are doing the best to keep our relationship as close as possible as there is a long friendship between our countries.'
Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins has been questioned on the Government's EU Settled Status Scheme following accusations made by Poland's ambassador to the UK that Poles who have lived in the UK for ten years are only being offered pre-settled status.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Ms Atkins said: 'The Government want to make the process as easy as possible.
'These people are our friends, our neighbours, we want to make this as easy as possible.'
Ms Atkins said the Government have finalised 1.1 million applications already, with another 300,000 applications currently live.
She continued: 'The system was designed with the EU. We absolutely appreciate that there will be some people who don't have documentation to prove they are part of our country, but we have invested in advertising campaigns to ensure people can be assisted.'
EU citizens and their families still have until at least December 2020 to apply to the EU settlement scheme.