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EU Commissioner Lazslo Andor has called for a relaxation on work UK restrictions for Eastern Europeans.

He wants Britain to act more than 18 months before the official deadline to drop the ban, restricting the access of Bulgarian and Romanian workers to the labour market of the UK, Daily Express reports.

UK work restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, who are members of the European Union, were extended until the end of 2013 by the British government last November.

Mr Andor claimed the need for work permits should be removed because of “the overall positive impact” migrant workers have had on other countries.

The Hungarian-born economist made his comments in the same week that official figures for the past year showed 166,000 British workers no longer had jobs – matching the number of foreigners getting jobs in UK.

Mr Andor used his 27-page document to hit out at the UK and eight other countries that legitimately block Romanians and Bulgarian workers without permits or who are not self-employed.

He wants a gradual relaxation of the restrictions, which must be removed by December 31, 2013, ready for the “full application of EU law on free movement for Bulgarian and Romanian workers”.

The unemployment rate in Bulgaria is more than 12% compared to Britain’s 8.3%. While Romania has a lower percentage of unemployed people, the standard of living and welfare system is far below that of the UK. Source: Daily Express.

Despite high unemployment in the UK, care and nursing homes are facing a staffing crisis following a government clampdown on non-EU immigration and changes to Tier 2 work visa rules.

Employers looking for staff, like those in the care industry, are increasingly turning to EU workers from Central and Eastern Europe.

However, not all EU members have the same rights to work in the UK and getting it wrong could result in a hefty fine for the employer.

Employers are often unaware of the distinct difference between ‘A8’ nationals (Polish, Latvian, Slovakian, Czechs, Hungarians, Slovenians Lithuanians and Estonians), who joined the EU in 2004 and more recent members from Bulgaria and Romania. Although both groups have the same rights to freely enter the UK, they do not enjoy the same rights to work, or free movement of labour. 

Even Bulgarians and Romanians arriving in the UK are often totally unaware of the restrictions on working – or that they will need a permit or registration card (e.g. yellow card) in order to work.

Even though they are EU members, when it comes to employment Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not have the same rights as other Europeans, for instance from Poland, Slovakia or other A8 Accession countries. See: Free Movement of EU nationals explained.

Bulgarians and Romanians coming to the UK on Yellow Card registration permits can work and study full time on vocational courses such as NVQ or QCF courses in Health and Social Care

See also:

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

EU and non-EU workers take more UK jobs as number of Britons in work plunges

Health care workers needed in UK now

Agency workers receive pay and conditions boost


Free Movement of EU nationals explained

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

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 1020 or email


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