05 April 2013

Romania and Bulgaria to only 'modestly' impact UK immigration

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A report from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) claims the impact on UK immigration rates from Bulgaria and Romania will be 'modest' at worst.

UK immigration

The impact Bulgarian and Romanian migrants could have has fuelled a bitter debate in recent months.

Romania and Bulgaria will gain full access to the European Union at the end of this year and all passport holders will be eligible to move to Britain without the need for a UK visa.

The prospect of potentially thousands of people moving to the UK has ignited a furious debate in recent months as it has proved impossible to predict exact numbers; even the Government has so far refused to produce anything more than rough numbers.

The NIESR report also refuses to predict specific numbers but it does claim that any number of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants which moves to the UK when the restrictions are lifted will not place a significant burden on public services such as housing and health.

NIESR research Heather Rolfe, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today program, said they had look at potential migrant characteristics and movement patterns in making their predictions.

"[The migrants] are young, they tend to be on their own and they make limited demands on services," said Ms Rolfe.

"There is no need to panic."

Sir Andrew Green however, of Migration Watch UK, an anti-immigration think tank, has labelled the NIESR's report a 'whitewash' and pounced on the report's lack of definitive numbers.

"This report is a bucket of white wash," said Sir Andrew.

"In 60 pages it produces no estimate whatever of the likely future scale of Romanian and Bulgarian migration to the UK.

"It brushes aside any indication of an increase in migration from these countries whose workers are amongst the most mobile in the EU."

The Government welcome the report however, claiming it would contribute to ministers' efforts to limit any potential impact.

"The report will help to shape this Government's work to build an immigration system which works in the national interest," said Minister for Europe David Lidington.

"Supporting the UK economy by continuing to attract the brightest and the best global talent at the same time as protecting our public services and ensuring our welfare system is not open to abuse."


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