Curbs lifted for Romanians and Bulgarians

A change to the rules in 2014 will allow Bulgarian and Romanian migrants to work in the UK from today. Some newspapers are warning of an influx of thousands of migrants.

Green Party: 'Time to end toxic immigration debate'

As flights and buses arriving today showed, many Romanians and Bulgarians have been living in Britain for years.

But we should also be welcoming new arrivals, just as Britons arriving in France, Spain and other European states find themselves welcomed.

It's time to end the toxic immigration debate and acknowledge that, whether they are nurses and doctors coming to work in the NHS, computer game designers or building workers, Romanians and Bulgarians, as with other immigrants, will be contributing to our society.

Some will settle, some will only be here for a few years, and they reflect the mobile nature of life in the modern world which enriches all of our lives.

– Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

Romanian migrant seeking work: Here you pay a lot

Victor Spiresau has arrived in the UK from Romania today in order to find a job in construction, he told ITV News.

Victor Spiresau says he taught himself English by watching films and MTV
Victor Spiresau says he taught himself English by watching films and MTV Credit: ITV News

The 30-year-old said he earned 10 euros a day working on building sites at home and that he hopes to make 10 euros an hour here, but was not planning on settling.

"I don't want to stay here. I want to renovate my home and to make a good life in Romania because it's much easier to live in Romania because it's not expensive."

Mr Spiresau said he already has work lined up washing cars in London but hopes to go on to work in the construction industry. He said he chose to come to the UK over other European countries as he can speak the language.

Read: Keith Vaz MP greets Romanians off plane at Luton

Advertisement

UK jobs outnumber other nations on Romanian website

There are more British jobs advertised on a Romanian recruitment website than all of the other European countries with similar employment laws combined.

Eight other countries are joining the UK in lifting working restrictions for migrants today - Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Spain and the Netherlands.

The Romanian recruitment website Tjobs.ro carries the following numbers of job advertisements:

  • UK - 4,896
  • Austria - 245
  • Belgium - 25
  • France - 591
  • Germany - 2,055
  • Luxembourg - 50
  • Malta - 95
  • Spain - 130
  • Netherlands - 214

Read more: UK firms advertise nearly 5,000 jobs on Romanian site

Romanians and Bulgarians 'could knock target off track'

Tory MP Mark Reckless accompanied Keith Vaz at Luton Airport, claiming he was concerned that large numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians may come to the UK.

I'm here this morning because my party - the Conservatives - we made a promise that we would cut immigration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands a year.

And my concern is that if we do see large numbers coming from Romania and Bulgaria then that could knock us off that target and the promise we made to the electorate.

– mark reckless, tory mp

Keith Vaz MP greets Romanians off plane at Luton

Romanians landing at Luton Airport were greeted by Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz on the first day of new rules allowing the migrants to work in the UK.

He said he saw no evidence of migrants who have "rushed out and bought tickets" because of the lifting of regulations.

Keith Vaz MP (second from L) greets a Romanian passenger at Luton Airport
Keith Vaz MP (second from L) greets a Romanian passenger at Luton Airport Credit: ITV News

He said that most of the people he met already work in the UK and were "coming back after a holiday".

But he also criticised the government for a "lack of robust estimates" of the number of Romanians and Bulgarians expected to arrive in the UK.

Read: UK firms advertise nearly 5,000 jobs on Romanian site

UK firms advertise nearly 5,000 jobs on Romanian site

British companies are turning to Romanian workers to fill job vacancies as restrictions on the UK labour market are lifted from today.

Employers are advertising nearly 5,000 positions on Tjobs.ro, a Romanian recruitment website which claims to help 160,000 find work.

Tjobs.ro's website in Romanian.
Some 4,896 jobs were advertised today as being available in England. Credit: Tjobs.ro

Some 4,896 jobs were advertised today as being available in England, along with 80 in Northern Ireland, 24 in Scotland and 20 in Wales.

Among them are 50 nursing positions in southern England, 100 private hire taxi drivers, 10 GPs in Liverpool and 20 carpenters in London.

Read: 'Thousands' of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants expected

Advertisement

Govt 'ensures people come to UK for the right reasons'

The Government has done "everything possible" to ensure people come to the UK for the right reasons, the Home Office has said.

Speaking ahead of today's rule change, a Home Office spokesman said, "Hard-working people expect and deserve an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system and flout the law.

The Government said it has done 'everything possible' to ensure people come to the UK for the right reasons.
The Government said it has done 'everything possible' to ensure people come to the UK for the right reasons. Credit: Press Association

"We welcome those that want to come here to work and contribute to the economy, but no EU national has unrestricted access to the UK - they must be working, studying or self-sufficient.

"Across Government, we are working to ensure that our controls on accessing benefits and services, including the NHS and social housing, are amongst the tightest in Europe to protect the UK from abuse."

Read: 'Thousands of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants expected

UK opens it doors to Romanian and Bulgarian migrants

Romanians and Bulgarians have unrestricted access to the UK labour market from today, despite last-ditch efforts to prevent a feared wave of fresh immigration.

As Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May roll out tough new measures designed to tackle concerns that the Government is a soft touch on immigration, temporary curbs imposed in 2005 on citizens of Romania and Bulgaria have been lifted.

A UK border control checkpoint.
A change to the rules in 2014 will allow Bulgarian and Romanian migrants to work in the UK. from today. Credit: Reuters

Ninety senior Conservatives attempted to block the move in a letter to the Prime Minister, arguing he could invoke a clause in EU law to keep the borders shut.

But ministers have denied such a move would be feasible.

Read: 'Thousands' of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants expected

Top Tory claims Roma 'defecating on London doorsteps'

Philippa Roe warned that a minority of the immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria could escalate existing problems. Credit: PA Wire

A top Tory warned that a minority of the immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria could escalate existing problems, including pickpocketing and defecating on doorsteps.

Philippa Roe, Conservative leader of Westminster City Council, told BBC Radio 4's The World At One programme: "I know the vast majority of Romanians and Bulgarians planning to come to the UK are planning to work and contribute to society here.

"I think the fear that everybody faces, which is reflected in the media, is those that come to Britain and either fail to find jobs and therefore fall back on our welfare system, or those who deliberately come here to pickpocket and aggressively beg.

"We have seen in the past 18 months, particularly the Roma in central London, causing a massive amount of disruption and low-level crime which has made a very negative impact on our communities.

"It's this minority one is really concerned about but it is this minority that has this really big impact.

"You've only got to wander around Marble Arch at 7.30 in the morning to see the camps.

"We have people walking out of their front door to find people sleeping on their front doorsteps, people defecating on their front doorstep.

"It's extremely unpleasant and it goes with the very aggressive begging and pickpocketing and other sorts of crime in the area which affects both residents and tourists."

EasyJet: No rise in passengers from Romania or Bulgaria

An easyJet spokesman has said that the airline has not seen any increase in passenger numbers from Bulgaria or Romania to the UK.

Passengers boarding an easyJet plane
Passengers boarding an easyJet plane Credit: Richard MacGregor/PA Wire

He said: "EasyJet currently only flies to two destinations in Bulgaria and Romania and other airlines provide far more frequent services.

"We haven't seen any evidence of an increase to our passenger numbers from January 2014 on these routes."

Load more updates