Romanian and Bulgarian migration: UK worker numbers show dip


The number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK has fallen by 4,000 since employment restrictions were lifted in January but is up 29,000 compared with a year ago, figures show. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show 140,000 employed in the UK between January and March 2014, the BBC informs.
On 1 January, Bulgarians and Romanians gained the same rights to work in the UK as other EU citizens.
The figures show the number of people employed in the UK by country of birth.
The government has not said how many new arrivals it expects as a result of the lifting of temporary restrictions placed on Romanian and Bulgarian migrants when they joined the European Union in 2007.
The pressure group Migration Watch estimated the UK could expect 50,000 arrivals a year from the two countries and the UK Independence Party predicted large numbers of new immigrants.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander says the data “gives the lie to UKIP’s scaremongering on immigration”. He said: “The very modest number of Romanians and Bulgarians coming to work in Britain this year is in stark contrast to the inflammatory rhetoric of earlier this year.”
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the figures showed “another huge increase” in foreign workers.
The BBC’s home editor Mark Easton said a “huge wave” of new arrivals clearly hadn’t happened in the first three months of the year. But he said it was too early to get a full picture of the numbers that would move. “This is just the first three months, there may be all sorts of reasons why that number is not as high as some people predicted.”
Bulgarians and Romanians gained the right to visa-free travel to the UK in 2007, when their countries joined the EU. But there were temporary restrictions on the kind of jobs they could take. These expired on 1 January 2014. The government has recently introduced measures limiting the amount of out-of-work benefits migrants from the European Union can claim.

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