As many as 350,000 Romanians and Bulgarians could be looking for work in the UK, a new poll has found.
New immigration research commissioned by the BBC has discovered that 1 per cent of working age Romanians and 4.2 per cent of Bulgarians said they are currently seeking jobs in the UK in 2013 or 2014, despite Home Office restrictions on working.
Home Office work restrictions on people coming to the UK from Romania and Bulgaria are set to be removed next year, fueling fears of a second wave of mass Euro immigration to Britain.
BBC researchers polled 1,000 Romanians and Bulgarians in their countries earlier this year and found that large numbers of people are considering moving to the UK in the next two years.
Romania has around 15.3 million people of working age, which means that if 1 per cent move here there will be around 153,000 additional people seeking work in the UK.
In the lower populated Bulgaria with 4.67million people of working age, more than 196,000 could be planning to move to the UK to find a job, according to the BBC statistics.
But according to the survey fewer Romanians and Bulgarians would actually end up exercising their treaty rights and living in the UK.
Seven in ten of the Romanians who are thinking about moving to live in Britain would reconsider in the light of the restrictions to benefits being proposed by the Coalition.
The survey also said that of those saying they were considering coming to the UK, just 1.2 per cent of Bulgarians and 0.4 per cent of Romanians has indicated that they had started making concrete plans.
Large numbers also said they would only move to the UK if they had an offer of work from a UK company.
The survey found that when all of those polled were asked to pick their first choice of EU country to move to, 4.6 per cent of Romanians and 9.3 per cent of Bulgarians chose the UK.
A British Labour Force sample survey revealed that there are currently 26,000 Bulgarians and 80,000 Romanians living in the UK.
In an earlier study by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr), e research group found the number of Romanians and Bulgarians who will come to live in this country next year is “not possible to predict”, but added that Britain is woefully unprepared for the ending of migration restrictions at the end of this year.
The report suggested that any influx of Romanians and Bulgarians could add to the existing strain on schools and be made worse by the economic crisis in Italy and Spain.
The Foreign Office insisted the report showed that there was “no reason at all to panic” about the lifting of the restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians from December 31.
Many Romanians and Bulgarians are arriving early to beat the rush, despite the need to apply for a ‘yellow card’ permit to study and work in the UK.
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