A number of newspapers report that organised gangs are moving coach loads of Romanians into London, officials claim this week.
The popular press warns of a large ‘influx of Eastern European migrants’ into London ahead of the Olympics, according to London officials.
The Sun says the capital is being ‘flooded’ with ‘beggars, pickpockets and prostitutes’.
Organised crime gangs are believed to be transporting coach loads of Romanians into the country with instructions to work a pre-allocated “pitch”.
Some have even come armed with Google Map print-outs of Marble Arch, which has drawn crowds of rough sleepers in recent weeks.
Authorities are finding up to 60 people a night in make-shift homes close to the central London monument and its surrounding streets.
Westminster Councillor Nickie Aiken, spokeswoman for children, young people and community protection, said: “The reality is that coach transport into London represents an immigration sieve.
“There are no effective border controls on those coming into the UK and making their way to Victoria coach station and we are paying the price of that with a sudden influx of Eastern European rough sleepers – especially Romanians – around Marble Arch.”
Councillor Aiken may not be aware that Romanian citizens are in fact members of the European Union and not subject to ‘border controls’.
Border post and controls are situated at ports of entry, or in French ports such as Calais where UK Border Force officers are stationed, where passports are checked, not in Victoria bus station.
The report goes on to say that those being brought into the country are believed to have been lured with the promise of a better future, but they soon end up with no jobs or homes.
Ms Aiken added: “This is being systematically organised from Romania and those running this cynical racket are the only ones who profit from it.
“The problem for London is that one of London’s most iconic landmarks is being turned into an impromptu campsite just 95 days ahead of the London Olympics.
“The risk is that we could get a torrent of people coming here from Eastern Europe in the deluded belief that London can provide a more lucrative living ahead of the Games.”
Officials say they have identified three central London locations which have become “bedding down sites”, including Hampden Gurney Primary School in Nutford Place, Westminster.
A second group of Romanians are understood to be commuting into the area to beg or steal.
Checks have shown the majority live in Ilford, East London, or Slough, Berks, and travel by main line trains into Victoria station.
Authorities believe around 50 women were shipped into the Sussex Gardens area, close to Marble Arch, last weekend and reports suggest high class prostitutes are working outside the nearby Cumberland Hotel on Great Cumberland Street.
Westminster council said: “This influx of same language rough sleepers is utterly unprecedented in scale and nature and we are implementing a strategy to ensure those who do return take a message that rough sleeping in London is not a soft option.
“This situation is unique as we have never encountered this volume of concentration of such street-based activity and we hope that we are able to deliver a significant reduction in rough sleeping numbers. However we suspect that we may be witnessing the first pro-active, entrepreneurial endeavours by organised criminal enterprise ahead of the Olympics.” Source: The Sun.
But not all agree with the stereotyping of Romanians.
Joanna, a student administrator for Majestic College, does not agree with the myth that all Romanians are criminals and gypsies. She said:
‘We have many Romanians who have come to study at Majestic College and they have been excellent students and good workers.
‘They are also polite and courteous and have a great work ethic – our employers, who give the students paid work placements, love them!’
Employers looking for staff in the catering sector and 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 may not be aware of the 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.
Both groups have the same rights to freely enter the UK. But they do not enjoy the same rights to work or ‘free movement of labour’.
Bulgarians and Romanians arriving in the UK are often unaware of the restrictions on working – or that they will need a work permit or registration card (e.g. yellow card) in order to work legally.
When it comes to employment Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not have the same rights as other Europeans and EU members, for instance from Poland, Slovakia or other A8 Accession countries.
Bulgarians and Romanians coming to the UK on Yellow Card registration permits can work and study full time if they are taking a work-based vocational course such as NVQ or QCF courses in Health and Social Care.
London has for hundreds of years been a mecca for those seeking a better life. There are jobs in London for everyone who is prepared to work.
The 2012 London Olympics means there will be even more jobs available for the busy summer ahead.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org