Method for estimation of the number of persons (permanent residents of Poland) staying temporarily abroad in 2002-2008

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The estimation was made taking into account the data from the 2002 Population and Housing Census.According to the results of the last census about 786 thousand Polish residents were temporarily staying abroad for over 2 months in May 2002, of which over 625 thousand for at least 12 months. The data were used as the basis for estimation.

Stages in data estimation in the post-census period:

1. The data obtained from the 2002 Census were compared with:

- data obtained from the Economic Activity Survey (Badanie Aktywności Ekonomicznej Ludności – BAEL) in the second quarter of 2002 and

- the results of the survey on population absent in relation to a temporary stay abroad (survey on statistical forms D-W3) as of 31 December 2002.

and the degree of underestimation of the results obtained from the surveys was determined.

It should be stressed that the BAEL survey – to which Poland included questions concerning temporary stays abroad – shows the trend and main directions of migration, but its results may not be used straightforwardly. The survey does not fully reflect the phenomenon, as the sample of households covered by the survey is too low for surveying migration abroad; what is more, the survey does not cover all groups of migrants, such as: persons who have emigrated with whole families, persons who had been forming single-person household and lived separately before going abroad, etc.

The survey on population absent in relation to a temporary stay abroad (with the use of the D-W3 statistical form), carried out each year by the CSO, covers only the persons who formally reported – in their place of permanent residence or stay – their temporary stay abroad. Gminas are the source of information in that survey. The survey also does not reflect the degree of the phenomenon, but it depicts the trends and structure of emigration by country well.

2. Considering the data obtained from the BAEL and D-W3 surveys several years in a row, as well as the level of underestimating occurring in 2002, the number of people temporarily staying abroad was estimated as at the end of 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. It was also taken into account that certain groups of people were not covered by the BAEL survey, but were considered in the 2002 National Population Census. These groups were estimated separately. The number of people who left the country with their entire household was estimated, the distinction being made between one-person households, two-person households, and larger. It was assumed that the likelihood of departure was the highest for one-person households, and the lowest for households consisting of 3 members or more. The estimate was based on the structure of emigrant households (including those households where all members stayed abroad), obtained from the 2002 National Population Census, and the scale of departures of members of the households covered by the BAEL survey (where not all household members departed).

It is worth noting that parallel estimates based on the results obtained from the BAEL and D-W3 surveys indicated a similar scale of emigration (the results of both surveys indicating a similar emigration growth occurring in recent years).

3. Having analysed the directions of departures, it was revealed that the structure of emigration by country of temporary stay, obtained from the survey concerning the people absent from their country of origin due to temporary stay abroad (D-W3), was similar to the structure resulting from the 2002 National Population Census. Data on the countries of departure, obtained from the BAEL survey, were less accurate. Given the size of the sample, the number of the countries of departure covered by survey was too small.

4. Taking into account the structure obtained from the surveys on D-W3 forms in subsequent years (the structure changed a lot), the numbers of persons staying in particular countries was estimated.

5. As from 2007, the data from the BAEL and D–W3 survey concerned international departures for temporary stay for a period exceeding 3 months. The data analysis revealed that the criterion modification from 2 months to 3 months had not triggered considerable changes, and the results were used to produce the data as at the end of 2007, using the previously applied methods.

6. The obtained results were compared with data coming from other sources, such as various kinds of registers or statistics of the countries of stay and appropriate adjustments were made.

Of foreign data sources, there were used administrative sources, registers and statistics of the countries to which the greatest numbers of Poles emigrate.

The following were used in particular:

a) data on the number of persons registered in the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) administered by the United Kingdom Home Office,

b) data on the number of persons with an insurance number (National Insurance Number) in the United Kingdom – from the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) report,

c) information on the number of issued PPS numbers – Personal Public Service Numberin Ireland,

d) registers of foreigners who obtained resident permit in a given country,

e) counterpart statistics of Germany and other countries (taking into consideration sometimes not fully comparable definitions of a migrant).

There were also used data collected by the former Ministry of Economy and Labour and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (concerning mainly the number of work permits issued to the Poles in particular countries) and presented in subsequent reports.2,3

While analysing the above data, the specificity of particular data sources, i.e. data collection methodology, what groups of persons the data concern, etc., was taken into account.

Using the information obtained from the BAEL survey, concerning the cause of emigration (work-related purposes), and the length of stay abroad (up to one year, one year or longer), the migrations of Polish residents, as well as of people already with the status of residents of other countries, for job-related purposes, were separated from all emigrations. Information on the year of departure, derived from the PESEL register, was also used to determine the length of stay abroad. The data compiled was released to the National Bank of Poland to estimate the monetary transfers made from abroad to Poland by Polish emigrants.

With the various data sources – both administrative and statistical – providing very different kinds of information, establishing the actual volume of migration is very difficult. In particular countries, there are various registration systems of migration flows, while the systems do not cover all immigrants, and at the same time they cover those who have already left the country.

Analysing the data, one should take into account the complexity of the phenomenon, the difficulty of its observation and be careful not do duplicate data coming from different sources.

In the light of the above, the presented estimates should be treated as approximate.

In the subsequent estimates (as at the end of 2008), the results of the EU-SILC survey was used to a larger extent than so far. It seems that this source may be of value, given that the comparison of the emigration growth occurring in 2006 and in 2005 with the results of the EU-SILC survey produced a favourable outcome, the growth scale being very similar.

Development: Z ofia Kostrzewa – Consultant

Acceptance: Lucyna Nowak – Director of Department

[1] For 2002-2006 – above 2 months, for 2007 – above 3 months.
[2] Information on the employment of Polish citizens in other EU/EEA Member States and EU/EEA citizens in Poland; Report of the former Ministry of Economy and Labour, October 2005
[3] Information on the employment of Polish citizens in other European Economic Areas countries and Switzerland and citizens of EEA countries in Poland; Report of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, October 2006, April 2007, October 2007, April 2008.