When Anna Pas graduated from college last year, she figured her employment options were limited. "There weren't that many offers for someone in Poland with a philosophy degree," she explains. So Pas moved to Ireland and within a few months found herself launching, editing and co-owning Polski Express, a Polish-language fortnightly glossy magazine published in Ireland. It has been a whirlwind year. "I can't imagine this would be happening in Poland," gushes Pas, 25.
A lot of her compatriots feel the same way. While Poles have immigrated mainly to several European spots since the country joined the E.U. in 2004, nowhere have they been more prominent than in Ireland. According to Irish officials, more than 150,000 Poles have flocked there in just two years. They now make up the country's largest nonnative population and at least 5% of the workforce. Many go for low-skill jobs in pubs or retail shops, but others arrive with skills in fields like construction and plumbing, which are crucial to feeding the country's appetite for houses and offices.
Publishers are exploiting that natural market. The weekly Polska Gazeta began publishing in 2005. This year the Evening Herald, one of Ireland's oldest newspapers, began publishing on Fridays an eight-page pullout supplement called Polski Herald. In July, Pas and her partners launched a tabloid, Zycie w Irlandii.
For Ireland's information-hungry immigrants, the publications serve a vital need, with advice on applying for government benefits, employment law and finances. Readership is not huge; Polska Gazeta claims 7,000, and Polski Express gives away its 5,000 copies in places like supermarkets and Polish pubs. But Pas is proud of some of her paper's scoops, including an exposé on the exaggeration of figures for Dublin's homeless Polish population by some authorities and media. "Our readers want to know about what is going on in the Polish community here," says Pas. "The Irish papers are all about who was killed where and when and details from celebrities' lives."
There's no shortage of advertisers trying to reach the Polish market. Banks, mobile-phone providers and companies like Western Union all seem to grasp the appeal of immigrant readers, many of whom are upwardly mobile and ready to show it with their wallets.