The Home Office has confirmed that the number of Eastern Europeans applying to work in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since 2005, according to statistics published last week.
The findings are based on quarterly asylum, accession monitoring and Bulgarian and Romanian statistics published 20 May 2008.
The figures show that in January to March 2008 there were 45,000 applications from nationals of the eight countries that joined the EU in 2004 – down 13 per cent from the same period in the previous year, when there were 52,000.
The number of Bulgarians and Romanians applying to work in the UK has also dropped to its lowest level with only 8,205 applications from A2 nationals in the first three months of this year, compared to 10,420 in the same period last year.
Bulgarians and Romanians do not have the same right to work in the UK as the previous new EU or ‘A8’ members, from countries like Poland and Slovakia, and must obtain permission to work. With the Home Office restricting Work Permits in most sectors it is hardly surprising that the working figures are down.
However, thousands of Bulgarians and Romanians are coming to the UK (they do not require a visa) and choosing to register as self employed or as students.