Poland opens visa processing center in Cebu, needs more Filipino skilled workers

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Cebu City (CNN Philippines, June 1) — Filipino skilled workers are in demand in Poland as the country reels from manpower shortage due to an aging population and the war in Ukraine.

Polish Vice Consul Tomasz Danel on Thursday said there is high demand for construction workers, welders, pipe fitters, as well as drivers in his country.

Danel graced the opening of a visa application center at the Cebu Business Park in Cebu City — the first outside of the Polish Embassy in Manila — which will make it easier for those located in Visayas and Mindanao to apply for a visa to the European country. The newly-opened visa processing center can initially process at least 10 applications per day.

"We see the growing number of applicants for work. Poland is becoming more and more popular among Filipinos as a destination for work and the number is growing every year," Danel said. "Last year, the government has issued over 2,000 work permits which is an increase of almost 100 percent compared to the previous years."

In the first five months of 2023, Danel said they saw a doubling in the number of Filipinos applying for work permit.

"We see the highest number of skilled workers like construction workers, welders, pipe fitters. Another category are drivers. They are really, really needed in Poland and in Europe and we are seeing the growing numbers of those applications," the official said.

One challenge he sees is the language barrier since English is not widely spoken in Poland. They are, however, conducting trainings for workers to solve this problem.

The Polish Embassy will soon look into the possibility of hiring healthcare workers but this needs more time as it requires a government-to-government agreement.

"We used to have many Ukrainians working in Poland because it is easy for them to cross border for work. Now they had to return back home so there are a lot of vacancies right now," Danel explained.

Some 15,000 to 20,000 Filipinos now work in Poland.