- Victor Spirescu, 30, arrived in the UK from Romania one year ago
- He came after employment restrictions on Romanians were lifted
- Victor earns more than £60,000 a year installing ventilation ducts
- He sends all he earns back home where he is saving for his return
- Victor says he is scared of British girls and describes them as loud
- He also claims we do not behave like civilised people in Bucharest
“One year ago, Victor Spirescu quietly stepped off a plane from Romania at Luton Airport in search of a new life.The unassuming 29-year-old imagined his arrival would pass unnoticed. What he hadn’t realised, however, was that employment restrictions for Romanians and Bulgarians had only just been lifted in Britain.Waiting to greet the flight from Bucharest was a crowd of vocal newspaper reporters, bustling television crews, curious hangers-on and the Labour MP Keith Vaz, determined to welcome and befriend him,” reports Daily Mail.
“And as Victor was the only person on the aeroplane arriving on British soil for the first time, he was, to his utter bewilderment, the sole focus of huge attention and excitement.At an impromptu, crowded press conference in Costa Coffee, a confused Victor swiftly turned minor celebrity as he explained he’d come to work in a car wash in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. He had flown over on a whim and had no idea about Britain or what might become of him,” continues the British paper the saga of the young Romanian who landed in Britain to benefit of the right to work in the UK after the restrictions on Romanians were lifted.
I am scared of the English girls
“That, however, was then. Now, a year on from his arrival, Victor has not just earned a great deal of money, but has also learned a great deal about our culture — and not all of it pleasing.For a start, he has formed some rather firm opinions about our conduct, which, he sternly points out, is not the way civilised people behave back in Bucharest.
‘People are so loud in Britain. I go on the Tube and you get these girls talking. Wow! The noise they make!
‘And girls, they drink so much here. On a Friday night, the girls are so drunk and I don’t agree with that. You don’t see that in Romania. I am scared of the English girls. I miss the culture of Romania, the traditions,” write the Daily Mail about Victor Spirescu’s impressions after his one year spent in Britain.
“He wistfully shows me photographs of his mother wearing heavy, knee-length traditional dress. It is certainly not the sort of outfit one spots on a Friday evening in the bars of Cardiff or Manchester,” reads the author of the article.
‘Don’t get me wrong, British girls are beautiful — they have the good genes. But they behave very differently to Romanian girls.’They are, you know, equal to men. I’m not sure how I feel about that.’I need a girl to cook for me and wash my clothes, but for now I do this myself. The culture is a problem.’, Victor further explains to the Daily mail reporter.“Thankfully for Victor, he is now quite in demand with women back home — as well he might be, given his soaring earnings and newfound fame both here and in Romania.
“Happy Anniversary” message from Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis
“Indeed, among the flurry of texts Victor received from well-wishers on New Year’s Eve was one from the President of Romania himself, wishing him a ‘Happy Anniversary’,” writes the Mail Online about Victor’s saga on the British soil.For while his humble ambitions to get work washing cars may not have sounded much, things have worked out rather nicely for Victor Spirescu, who now earns around £250 or £300 a day installing ventilation ducts in buildings across London. That’s more than £60,000 a year.Although anyone imagining Victor living in a plush apartment, enjoying all the trappings of his high-earning lifestyle, would be very much mistaken,” reads the Daily Mail article.“Instead, when we arrange to meet at his home, I find a small terrace house in Newbury Park, Essex, that he shares with six other Romanians and for which he pays £600 a month rent. Victor’s home is, in fact, a room with a double bed, wardrobe, second-hand sofa and armchair. His bed has a Union Jack duvet while alongside it sits the Romanian flag.
For Victor, now 30, has a plan — to save as much money as possible then get the hell out of Britain and back to his beloved Romania, where he will never need to work again.’I came here to make money, not spend it,’ he says, looking around apologetically at his surroundings as he sips a cup of peppermint tea.,” says Victor quoted by the Daily Mail reporter.’The money here is very good. ‘I earn £250 a day, sometimes £300. I send the money back to Romania every two weeks.’I sent my bank card to my mum — but not the PIN,’ he laughs, ‘to keep safe. It’s building up nicely.’Victor pays tax to the United Kingdom on these earnings, which are paid into his bank account by his employer, and at the same rate as ordinary UK citizens.As he is self-employed, he completes an annual tax return form and then pays the appropriate percentage of tax and National Insurance (he has his own NI number). He has never received any benefits, writes Daily Mail about the financial saga of Victor.
Anyone can find work in England if they’re willing to look for it
“Victor has two qualities that some Britons can lack: a desire to work hard, whatever the task, and a determination to save money,” write the author of the article meant to tell Victor’s saga on the British soil.
‘People say that the Romanians come here to steal the jobs from the English, but that is not true,’ he says.
‘Anyone can find work in England if they’re willing to look for it. The work is there. But maybe people don’t want to do it. But if someone wants to stay at home, be lazy, go on benefits, that’s up to them. It doesn’t bother me, but I prefer to work.’, tells Victor quoted by the Daily Mail reporter.
“Not that Victor has always been paid so well here. The past year has proved to be something of an adventure, he says, and at times it has been a world away from his background in a well-off, middle-class family in Bucharest.
There, his mother is an occupational psychotherapist, his stepfather an engineer, and he grew up in a spacious, comfortable flat.
After leaving school at 16, he worked and trained in the construction industry for eight years in Bucharest, then spent three years working for Vodafone putting up antennae and installing cables, and another three restoring a house which he bought for £2,500 and still owns,” writes the Daily Mail about Victor’s story.
“When the Romanian economy took a downturn and wages were cut, a friend said he knew someone here who could get them both jobs washing cars.
‘In the village where I lived in Romania, you get paid £6 a day in the construction industry. So I thought I’d give it a go,’ he explains.
‘I persuaded my mum to give me some money for my flight, and I arrived at Luton with £40 in my pocket. My friend and I went to Biggleswade, where we were put in a small room for four people to share,” Victor tells the Daily Mail reporter.
Vitor says he worked like a slave. “It was hard. Each morning I had to break the ice in the bucket. I washed 80 to 90 cars per day.
‘After four days, I’d had enough and I said to my boss: ‘I’m leaving — I’m going to London to make my life.’
‘He gave me £60: two days’ money and not the four I was owed.
‘But I got £500 from an interview with a TV station and with that I bought an iPhone and started looking for somewhere to live and for work. I found a small room to share with two others, where I stayed for a couple of weeks while I sorted out getting my work documents.
‘My first job was working for an Indian guy, fitting ventilation ducts and earning £65 a day. Then I got a job with a Romanian company as a double-glazing fitter, earning about £1,300 a month.
‘But someone told me I’d earn more with a British firm, so I got another job and it was true — I was earning about £2,000 a month.
‘For a while I worked in construction in an office block in Bond Street, doing all sorts of things: stone-masonry, building steel canopies and installing handrails,” Victor told the Daily Mail.
Victor says English companies also treat their staff better than Romanian firms in Britain.
‘The Romanian companies over here are just: ‘Work, work, work!’ The English companies let you have a break.’
Last summer, Victor returned to fitting ventilation ducts — this time for a British company on a self-employed basis.
‘I charge for the price of a job, not per day, and work as many hours as the job takes,’ he says.
‘I do a minimum of five days, but sometimes six or seven. I’m very happy with the money, but London is a very expensive place to live.’
But Britain has proved rather less successful for his love life. When Victor arrived in Britain, he was in a relationship with a Romanian girl called Catalina, who flew over to join him last May.
‘No, we aren’t together,’ he says. ‘She came over and took a job washing dishes, but it didn’t work out.
‘At the end of three weeks, I said to her: ‘Go home, make your own life, I don’t want you to stay here.’ She p****d me off every day when she was here.
‘She would phone me the whole time when I was working and say: ‘I don’t have any money, I don’t know where I am, please, I am lost, come and find me.’ Every day I had to search London for her.’
So has he found romance with a nice English young lady, perhaps? Certainly not, given their behaviour.
‘I have three or four girls in Romania who want to be with me, and I speak with them every day. I am scared of English girls.’
Though they may well be scared of him, too. Not long after his arrival in Britain, it emerged that Victor had a conviction for assaulting an ex-girlfriend in Romania, Victor tells Daily Mail about his personal sage on the British soil.
‘Let me to explain. This was about six years ago. We went to Germany to work for a while. I bought a BMW, a very nice 320. When we split up, she took the BMW with her. We had an argument, I bit her and she pressed charges.’
Victor glumly hopes he will not be judged by this unhappy episode —and it is certainly hard to imagine it of this polite young man, who offers me a choice of herbal teas and even offers to make me a chicken salad (done in a Romanian style which is ‘much better’ than the average chicken salad, of course).
But then Victor is adamant that we have, in fact, all got the wrong idea about Romanians.
Indeed, he says negative stereotyping greatly upsets him. ‘We are often mixed up with gypsies,’ he says. ‘I have nothing against gypsies — Catalina is a gypsy girl — but we have a very different culture, Victor told the Daily Mail.
I am a proud Romanian. There is this very negative perception of us right across Europe
‘I am a proud Romanian. There is this very negative perception of us right across Europe. Did you know insulin was discovered by a Romanian? The fountain pen was invented by a Romanian? The helicopter was invented by a Romanian? Yes! Check it on Google! It upsets me how people see us.’
Yet, in general, says Victor, the British people have been welcoming. He has experienced only one negative episode since his arrival.
‘I was on the bus, on the phone to my mum in Bucharest. This man said to me: ‘Why can’t you speak English?’ To which I replied that I was talking to my mother, who doesn’t speak English, which was why I was speaking Romanian. He started swearing at me.
‘But that has been the only negative thing.’
Even when Victor is speaking English, the translation doesn’t always work, particularly the humour.
‘The English sense of humour is sarcastic, right?’ he says. ‘I don’t always get the joke. Then when I try to joke to an English person they don’t seem to get it, either.’
But any cultural problems certainly don’t detract from the success of Victor’s past year, which was of course designed for one sole purpose: money making.
In fact, on New Year’s Eve, Victor even allowed himself a rare splurge. He bought two bottles of champagne and 20 bottles of beer then headed into Central London to celebrate the New Year with friends.
He expects to see in another three or four in Britain, before heading back to his beloved homeland — where he hopes to marry a local girl and have a family, who will be brought up firmly in the Romanian tradition, concluded the article published by Daily Mail on Victor Spirescu’s saga on the British soil.