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Are Bulgarian and Romanian workers really ‘nine times better off’ living in UK? | Immigration Matters

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A report by the anti-immigration pressure group, Migration Watch UK claims that workers from Bulgaria and Romania may be up to ‘nine times better’ off by moving to Britain, assuming they enjoy a take home pay of £543 a week that is. But how realistic are these figures and with the UK’s much higher cost of living are Romanians and Bulgarians nine times better off?

A Bulgarian worker earning the minimum wage with a family and two children would take home £543 a week in the UK, compared with the equivalent of just £62 back at home, according to Migration Watch UK. It appears that the so called ‘think tank has simply divided 543 by 62 and come up with hypothesis that the family is, therefore, nine times better off in Britain.  

Higher UK cost of living, one of the most expensive housing costs in Europe. Why let facts get in the way of a good scaremongering story?

The report, published by their old friends at the Telegraph, goes on to state that even single workers from the two countries, who will gain unrestricted access to work in the UK under the EU free movement directive from January 1, would be up to five times better off, the figures showed, taking home around £250 per week instead of £50.

Similar frenzied media reports and subsequent public fears, not seen since the 1970’s when Idi Amin expelled thousands of Ugandan Asians to Britain, that when restrictions on EU migrants from Romania and Bulgaria end next year tens of millions of extra foreign workers will jump on the first plane London.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, recently plans to ensure migrants from the EU have to live in Britain for up to a year before they can claim benefits.

Taking into account the differences in the cost of living, the report also found the economic incentives for Bulgarian and Romanian workers to move to the UK were about twice those for Polish workers.

“With the success of the Polish workers well known to them, it is hard to imagine that the UK would not prove an attractive prospect,” the report said.

“The financial incentives to migrate to the UK from both Bulgaria and Romania are very strong, much more so than in the case of Poland.”

Sir Andrew Green, the pressure group’s chairman, added: “The wage differences turn out to be simply stunning.

“Given that the economic incentives for Romanian and Bulgarian workers are twice those now enjoyed by Polish workers, it would be absurd to suggest that there will not be a significant inflow.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “In terms of European immigration, we are working across government to look at the pull factors that may encourage EU nationals, including those from Bulgaria and Romania, to come to the UK.

“The Government has made clear it will continue work to cut out abuse of free movement.”

He added: “We are working to cut net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament and our tough new rules are already taking effect with overall net migration falling by a quarter in the past year.”

Last week the European Commission’s vice-president said it will not be possible for Britain to restrict the freedom of movement of Bulgarians and Romanians when UK work restrictions expire next year.

EU and EEA national citizens are not actually entitled to live indefinitely in the UK without conforming to certain rules. 

Existing rules (though not generally enforced) state that EU citizens can freely travel to the UK or any other EU member state and stay for 3 months before exercising various treaty rights or declaring themselves as self sufficient. 

At present, only Romanian and Bulgarian students are forced, in any large numbers, to take out medical or ‘comprehensive sickness insurance’ cover before being granted a yellow card permit to work and study in the UK.

Migration Watch UK has become so desperate rally anti-immigrant support that it’s a wonder Sir Andrew Green has not started quoting from Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘rivers of blood’ speech.

Over 40 years after Enoch Powell put the Conservatives into power, it looks like the next general election will again be fought on immigration.

If you have been arrested or detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 1, 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed, Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

Related immigration blogs:

UK cannot stop Romanians and Bulgarians say EU Justice Commissioner

Work restrictions on migrant workers from Romania ‘leads them to stay longer in UK and bring families’, survey reveals

79% want to ban EU migrants from UK, poll suggests

Home Secretary slams judges for ‘ignoring’ deportation law on Article 8 Human Rights grounds

Romanian and Bulgarian immigration – UK Government strategy ‘farcical’, MP says

MP calls for variation of free movement treaty and limits on EU Immigration from Romania and Bulgaria

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Romanian and Bulgarian influx will cause housing shortage

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Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

Is the EU’s ‘Free Movement’ dream over?

European Commission warning to UK on Free Movement rights and Comprehensive Sickness Insurance remains unanswered

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

How Romanians and Bulgarians working illegally without Yellow Card or papers can legalise their status in the UK

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 or email:

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2 Responses to “Are Bulgarian and Romanian workers really ‘nine times better off’ living in UK?”
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  1. […] Romanian and Bulgarian ’study work’ applicants would prefer to pay an application or ’same day […]

  2. […] group claimed this week that workers from Bulgaria and Romania may be up to ‘nine times better’ off by moving to Britain, assuming they enjoy a take home pay of £543 a […]

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