UK Migration: Romanian & Bulgarian Migration Estimates “unfounded”?

In recent statistics released by the Office for National Statistics, it was found that 141,000 Bulgarian and Romanian nationals were employed during the period from April to June, an increase of almost 26% on the 112,000 in the previous three months and up 35% on the same time last year. News of laws restricting the types of jobs these migrants are allowed to do will be relaxed next year which has prompted recent media coverage of fears of a sharp rise in numbers coming to the UK. Here we explore whether these concerns on UK migration are well founded or intended to cause mass hysteria.

Romanian Romanian & Bulgarian: No Visa Restrictions

In 1 January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria became member states of the European Union giving their nationals the right to not only enter and remain in the UK without a visa but also to work freely, providing they have an accession worker card. Romanian Bulgarian and nationals wanting to work in the UK will need to obtain authorisation to work before starting any employment unless they are exempt from doing so.

In 2014, EU restrictions are set to be removed, allowing nationals of Bulgaria and Romania free movement to the UK. Despite these countries joining the EU in 2007, restrictions were put on the number who could move to the UK.  However, these restrictions will be abolished in 2014 thus the question of whether there will be a sudden influx of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals arriving in the UK for the purposes of living and working.

Increase in Romanian & Bulgarian Migration?

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics have led Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch UK to comment:

“This increase of just over a third in Romanian and Bulgarian workers in the UK over the past year is a sharp increase on the previous trend. It suggests that still larger numbers will arrive next year when our labour market is fully open to them.”

However, it now seems from a report by a cross-party lobby group, Migration Matters Trust, that these estimates are “unfounded” and in fact the number of Romanians and Bulgarians to arrive in the UK next year may actually be as few as 20,000. Atu Hatwal director of the lobby group has stated that these figures are based on an analysis of historical EU migration patterns, macro-economic factors such as the impact of the recession on the UK and limited job opportunities in areas such as manual labour.

Successfully applying for an Work Permit & Accession Worker Card

UK employers wishing to hire Bulgarian and Romanian nationals must apply for a work permit. If this is approved, nationals from these countries must apply for an accession worker card.  Bulgarians and Romanians who are considering working in the UK, should seek legal advice from expert UK Immigration Lawyers regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to ensure that they know their options and how they can proceed to the next steps. Feel free to contact us to discuss your immigration situation and we will assess your case and provide you with options of visiting or settling in the UK.

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