12 November 2012

Home Secretary denies further UK immigration curbs

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The Home Secretary Theresa May has denied further UK immigration measures will be taken to prevent Romanian and Bulgarian migrants from moving to the UK in 2014.

UK visa

The Home Secretary Theresa May says more transitional controls can not be placed on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants as of 2014.

Both Romania and Bulgaria acceded to the European Union in 2007 but strict controls were put in place to stop citizens of both countries abusing the freedom of movement directive in the EU Constitution. However, these measures are due to expire in December 2013, raising concern from some the impact this could have on UK immigration rates.

The UK has faced a similar proposition before; in 2004 when Poland acceded to the EU, the then-Labour government predicted just 12,000 Polish migrants a year would come to the UK. However, net migration levels, fuelled in large part by inter-EU migration are currently over 200,000 a year.

The Conservative led coalition Government has promised to reduce net immigration to the UK to the 'tens of thousands' by the time of the next election but despite facing a possible influx of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants in 2014, Mrs May has said no further measures will be taken to restrict their entry to the UK.

Instead, the Home Secretary says the reasons why so many migrants come to the UK will be looked at.

"I will be looking at transitional controls on Romania and Bulgaria at the end of December 2013. I will be looking at what we call the pull factors," said Mrs May.

"What is that attracts people sometimes to come over here to the United Kingdom? Looking at issues such as benefits and access to the health service and things like that.

"There are no further transitional controls that we can put on. Transitional controls end in December 2013 but that is where the importance of looking at what it is that is attracting people to come here, in terms of things like our benefits system, and access to the National Health Service, are so important."

Marissa Murdock, casework manager at the UK Visa Bureau, says the Government is facing an incredibly complicated task keeping numbers at manageable levels.

"The Government's stated goal of reducing net migration down to the 'tens of thousands' has already been widely derided as difficult at best yet it's only going to get harder as of 2014," said Ms Murdock.

"With the Home Secretary already saying she cannot impose any further transitional controls, the policy choices she's facing are certain to have a severe impact whether it's on legitimate migrants who are prevented from entering the UK and accessing services or the taxpayer being burdened by an uncontrolled influx of migrants."

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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