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News 08 Apr 13

UK Study Dismisses Romanian Migrant Influx

Romanian authorities have greeted a UK report that downplays worries about the likely level of migration from Romania and Bulgaria in 2014.

Marian Chiriac
Bucharest

Romania's Foreign Ministry on Saturday hailed a recent study, which shows Britain is not likely to be among the main destinations for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants when labour controls in these countries are lifted at the end of this year.

“The study confirms our previous evaluations that fears of mass influx from Romania in 2014 were exagerated,” the ministry said in a public statement.

“The idea spread by sections of the British media about many Romanians who will be job-seekers and benefit claimants is also unfounded.”

The ministry said it is also eager to co-operate with British ministers in banishing any perception that those entering the UK are immediately entitled to welfare and benefits.

“According to the report, most prospective migrants are young, skilled people, and it is most likely they will not be a burden on the British welfare system,” the ministry added.

The study, published on Friday, was issued by the UK’s Institute of Economic and Social Research and was ordered by the British Foreign Office.

The report found that the main target migration countries for Romanians and Bulgarians remain Spain and Italy, and to a lesser extent, Germany.

Romanian and Bulgarian migrants, called EU2 migrants in the report, usually work in construction, accommodation, catering and in private households in work such as care and cleanin, it said.

The report does not produce any estimation of the likely future scale of Romanian and Bulgarian migration to the UK.

MigrationWatch, a prominent UK think tank that supports tight control of migration, predicts that at least 50,000 migrants from Bulgaria and Romania could head every year to the UK when the labour restrictions end.

According to UK statistics, some 57,000 Bulgarians and 79,000 Romanians are already resident in Britain.

The current curbs on Romanian and Bulgarian migration include a so-called accession worker card that requires employers to apply for a work permit on the migrant's behalf. Penalties are imposed on employers who hire nationals without the cards.

Six different types of permits exist, depending on the type of work allocated, with more relaxed criteria for high-skilled professionals.

Other restrictions are age-based. Romanians who land a job in the UK's food manufacturing sector, for instance, must be between 18 and 30. Students are also limited to working 20 hours a week.

About 3 million Romanians live and work legally abroad, mainly in Spain, Italy and Germany. Many moved there after Romania joined the European Union in 2007, taking modestly paid jobs.

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