More than one in every 40 newborns in the UK are born to Polish mothers, it has emerged.
More children are born in Britain to women from Poland than those from any other foreign country, research shows.
Last year nearly 20,000 babies were born to Polish migrants–that is more than 50 a day and amounts to one in every 37 newborns.
Official figures show that in just six years the number of children born to Polish women has increased nearly six-fold. In 2005–the year after Britain opened its borders to workers from the former Eastern Bloc countries–the number was lower than 3,500.
The figures illustrate the scale and speed of Polish migration since the expansion of the European Union, and the effects of the Labour government’s decision not to impose restrictions on worker numbers.
The so-called ‘migrant baby boom’ means that across the country, one in four of all children is born to a mother who was born overseas.
That figure has doubled in just ten years as migrant numbers have exploded.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: ‘This is an extraordinary increase. There must be concern that the numbers will grow even more rapidly now that Eastern Europeans have full access to the welfare state in Britain.’
Department of Health figures show the number of children born here to Polish mothers hit a new high last year.
Between 2001 and 2009, mothers from Pakistan gave birth to the highest number of foreign-born babies in England and Wales, but last year it was women from Poland.
The figures show that there were 1,392 births to Polish mothers in 2003, the year before EU expansion, and this rose to 1,830 the following year.
In 2005, it nearly doubled to 3,403 and then rose sharply again to 6,620 in 2006. Last year the figure stood at 19,762. Poland is one of the former Eastern Bloc countries which joined the EU in 2004, and the Government is hamstrung in its ability to restrict immigration.
Before the door was opened, Labour predicted 13,000 migrants would come to this country as a result.
But with other EU counties restricting access to their labour markets, Britain became a target destination for workers.
Since 2004, up to 900,000 Poles have been granted a National Insurance number, which is needed for them to get a job.
At the peak, between 2006 and 2008, some 20,000 Poles every month were coming to the UK for work.
Numbers of Eastern Europeans fell during the recession but have picked up again in recent months–despite no sign of an economic recovery.
British taxpayers fork out for child benefit payments to tens of thousands of migrant workers, because EU rules allow them to live at home while claiming here. Approximately 50,000 children of migrant workers receive the benefit–even though the youngsters still live in their home countries.
Treasury figures show that Poles make up the vast majority of the payments–accounting for 37,941 children last year–at a cost of £24million a year.
Critics say the flood of arrivals has placed huge pressure on housing, education and the health service–especially maternity units.
The Polish influence has also been felt in schools. Five years ago, just 200 students sat a Polish GCSE–last year, the figure was 1,900.
Figures for the numbers of children born to foreign-born mothers in specific regions of the country are not broken down by individual countries.
But figures show Eastern European migrant mothers accounted for more than one in four babies in Boston, Lincolnshire. In total last year, one in every four children born in England and Wales was to a foreign-born mother–a total of 181,827 children.
In May, rules restricting access to welfare benefits for Eastern European workers coming to Britain were scrapped because of EU rules restricting how long they can be held in place–raising fears of mass benefits tourism.