Ambassador warns over impact of UK immigration rhetoric

- Posted in United Kingdom by Visa Bureauon 25 February 2013

At the end of 2013, Romania and Bulgaria will both become fully fledged members of the European Union, meaning passport holding citizens of both countries will be free to live and work in any other EU country without the need for a visa.

The last time a similar event happened - when Poland, Latvia and Lithuania acceded in 2004 - UK immigration rates soared and politicians, think-tanks and media outlets have been debating a possible repeat of the scenario this time around.

The debate centres on how many will come, anti-immigration advocate Migration Watch UK has predicted as many as 50,000 a year will come from Romania alone and the Government has refused to release its own figures, claiming they aren't accurate enough.

However, Dr Jinga says the 'inflammatory rhetoric' used in the press is creating a hostile atmosphere for the 94,000 Romanians already living in the UK.

"Emotional approaches to this issue are counterproductive," said the ambassador. "They do not benefit the British public and they do not benefit the Romanian community in the UK either, as there is an increasing sense among the Romanians here that they are being discriminated and treated as second-class EU citizens.

"In extreme cases, inflammatory rhetoric could even lead to acts of racially aggravated assaults against them."

The ambassador said he personally doubts a significant number of Romanians will choose to move to the UK when the restrictions are lifted, with many preferring to go to Spain or Italy - countries which have stronger cultural and language ties with Romania.

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