Bulgarian and Romanian Immigration into the UK


As from January 1, 2014 citizens of Romania and Bulgaria will enjoy the same rights as the rest of the EU which will allow them to work in the UK. It was back in 2007 when Bulgaria and Romania both joined the EU which meant its citizens could have the right to travel in the UK without the need to get a visa. However, there were restrictions imposed at the time of the type of work they could do.


Any employer in Britain that wanted to hire someone from Bulgaria or Romania would have to have work permits and the employees (from Romania and Bulgaria) have to have a document called the “Accession Worker Card.”


It all made life rather difficult for those wanting to come and work in Britain, particularly for unskilled workers. But come January 1, 2014 these tough restrictions will be lifted after seven years of being in place.


There are other countries in the EU that face the same issues as Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Holland, Malta and Luxembourg for example. The Romanian and Bulgarian workers will be entitled to the same benefits as the rest of the EU member states but prime minister David Cameron has proposed a number of restrictions that should be in place by the time the immigration visa restrictions are due to be lifted.


There will be a restriction on migrants claiming out of work benefits, like Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) for the first three months and all welfare benefits will stop completely after six months unless there is a real chance of that migrant worker getting a job. Migrants will not be able to claim housing benefit and any migrant caught begging will be deported and not allowed to return to the UK for a period of 12 months. Whether or not these restrictions go far enough is a burning question. Several Romanian visitors spent well over three months sleeping rough on the grounds of Marble Arch in central London over the summer months, some would get by with food that had gained from bins and begged from tourists.


Another proposal is to quadruple the fines imposed on employers who undercut British workers by paying less than the minimum wage. The backlash has come from political party UKIP and pressure group Migration Watch that has predicted more than 55,000 could arrive in the UK every year until 2019.




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