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News 11 Oct 17

Number of Romanians, Bulgarians Working in UK Soars

New figures show the number of workers from the two Balkan countries in the UK has risen by 80 per cent since 2014.

Marcus Tanner
London. Photo: Wikimedia commons/Colin and Kim Hansen

A large spike in the number of Romanians and Bulgarians living in the UK since remaining restrictions on rights to work in the UK were lifted in 2014 is likely to further fuel debate in Britain on the vexed question of the free movement of labour.

New figures show the number soared from 230,000 in 2014 to 413,000 last year, Britain’s Office of National Statistics, ONS, said, a rise of about 80 per cent.

The figures are likely to feed into UK government plans to regulate the rights of EU nationals working in the UK once Britain exits the European Union in spring 2019.

Figures show some 23 per cent of Romanians and Bulgarians in the UK work in hospitality, another 23 per cent in construction and 18 per cent in banking and finance.

UN figures say 3.4 million Romanians and 1.2 million Bulgarians now live outside their home countries, mainly in Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK.

Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007 but restrictions on their right to work in the UK were not fully lifted for another seven years.

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