05 February 2013

Bulgarian and Romanian politicians move to calm UK immigration fears

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Politicians from the two Eastern European nations have attempted to soothe British worries that Bulgarians and Romanians will cause a surge in UK immigration rates when both countries accede to the European Union later this year.

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Romanian and Bulgarian politicians claim UK immigration will not be impacted by their accession to the EU.

Accession to the European Union means that citizens of both countries will be free to live and work in Britain without the need for a UK visa. The last time Eastern European countries acceded to the EU - Poland, Latvia and Lithuania in 2004 - UK immigration rates soared way beyond expectations.

This has led some - particularly those who feel UK immigration rates are already too high - to voice their concern about the potential numbers of Bulgarians and Romanians who will move to the UK next year.

The Government has already reportedly toyed with different ways of minimising any impact Bulgaria and Romania's accession could have, including a negative ad campaign.

However, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov and Romanian Ambassador to the UK Dr Ion Jinga have both moved to quell such concerns, claiming the two countries' access to the EU's Freedom of Movement directive will have little bearing on UK immigration rates.

Dr Jinga said many Romanians who wanted to move to the UK had already done so under existing rules, declaring themselves to be self employed and finding work in industries such as construction.

Mr Mladenov however, said most people would rather move to Germany, Spain or Italy, countries with closer ties to Bulgaria and Romania than the UK and, in the case of Germany, a better economy with more opportunities.

"I do not expect the UK to be overwhelmed by a wave of our nationals coming over seeking employment for a number of reasons," said Mr Mladenov.

"When we look at the experience of other countries over the last seven years, this has not happened and there is no reason to believe that this would happen in the UK in the January of next year."


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