In the UK there are concerns that many Romanians and Bulgarians will come to seek jobs since the work restrictions will be lifted later this year. But BBC surveys in each country, both of more than 1,000 people, suggest most would move only with a firm work offer. Of those questioned more people intended to seek work in the EU including the UK in 2013 than in 2014. A significant number said they would like to work in the UK, but the number making concrete plans was much smaller. In February 2013 the programme commissioned a test poll, asking independent survey company Vitosha to question 1,000 people across Bulgaria. People were asked if they intended to come to the UK to work.
Over a quarter answered yes. Analysts say the relatively high figure is unsurprising – times are tough in Bulgaria and many Bulgarians dream of a better life. In some surveys as many as 50% of Bulgarians have said they would like to work abroad, but over the past decade only about 6% have actually left.When asked whether in the past five years they had considered moving to live and work in another EU member state, 33% of the 1,101 Romanians polled said yes, 67% said no. Of the 1,014 people questioned in Bulgaria – 37% said yes, 63% said no.When all of those polled were asked to pick their first choice of EU country to move to in either 2013 or 2014, 4.6% of Romanians and 9.3% of Bulgarians chose the UK. These numbers rose to 8.2% for Romanians and 13.6% for Bulgarians when they were asked directly about whether they would consider the UK as a destination.When it came to Romanians intending to work in another EU country in 2014, the percentages were the following: 25% wanted to go to Italy, 18% to Germany, and 26% to the UK.Of the 242 Bulgarians who said they intended to work elsewhere in the EU in 2013 – 30% said they wanted to go to Germany, 27% to the UK and 10% to Spain.
The numbers were small for those who had started looking for a job – 2.8% of the Bulgarians had started to look for a job with a recruitment agency and 0.3% of the Romanians. And 1.4% of the Bulgarians and 0.7% of the Romanians had begun to look for work without the aid of a recruitment agency.