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Meeting of the Migration Advisory Committee with representatives of Romanian professional associations in the UK | Immigration Matters

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Romanian Embassy in London – On September 16th 2011, in the presence of HE Dr Ion Jinga, Ambassador of Romania in London, took place a meeting of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) with representatives of several Romanian professional associations. It was for the first time that the Migration Advisory Committee was participating in a meeting of such nature, organized by an embassy.

MAC is a body of independent experts, with an advisory role on issues related  to immigration policies in the UK. At the end of October 2011, MAC will report to the British Government, providing advice for the decision regarding the access of Romanian and Bulgarian workers to the British labour market.

The meeting was initiated by the Embassy of Romania in London, aiming at offering MAC the opportunity to have a broader insight of the negative effects of maintaining restrictions on the labour market, through a direct contact with representatives of the Romanian community in the UK, who had the chance to add their arguments to those presented by the Embassy of Romania in the UK.

The dialogue with representatives of the Romanian community took place after extensive discussions between the Embassy of Romania and MAC, based on recent statistical data provided by the Romanian Ministry for Labour, Family and Social Protection, regarding migration flows from Romania to other EU member states, the situation of the Romanian economy and the unemployment rate.

There meeting was attended by representatives of the following associations and websites of the Romanian community: The Romanian Society in Scotland, Self Support Group Ballymena (Northern Ireland), The Romanian Cultural Centre – Ratiu Foundation, London Ressources Ltd., Romani Online, Romani in UK, Romanca Society, Romania in the Third Millenium, The Romanian Students’ Society in Nottingham, Romanian Medical Society and the Honorary Romanian Consulate in Leeds.

The meeting started with the projection of a documentary film produced and directed by the Romanian journalist Sorana Stanescu, revealing several concrete cases of Romanians working in constructions who faced discrimination and became vulnerable due to the ongoing work-restrictions for Romanian labourers in the UK.

In his opening speech, The Ambassador of Romania reiterated the arguments of the Romanian official bodies, regarding the discriminatory and unfair nature of the restrictions. Given the fact that Romanian migration potential has already reached its ceiling and the Romanian economy develops sustainably, it is unlikely that a significant number of Romanians would be coming to the UK in case work-restrictions were lifted. The linguistic barrier is also an impediment for Romanians in choosing Great Britain, in comparison to other countries such as Spain or Italy. At the same time, maintaining restrictions also affects the British budget in a negative way as, for the self employed and those without legal status, employers are not paying the corresponding taxes to the state budget. He outlined that lifting restrictions remains a permanent priority on the Embassy’s agenda and for the Romanian authorities as well. Last but not least, the Ambassador underlined that it is also a matter of pride and dignity for the Romanians living in the UK to benefit from the same treatment as the citizens coming from other European Union member states.

Professor David Metcalf explained the approach of the Migration Advisory Committee, stating that the organism has a consultative, and not a decisional role. He pointed out that, according to the MAC estimation, there are disturbances on the British labour market, but it is hard to prove that these are caused by the displacement of the British labour force by foreign workers. The implications of the presence of labour force coming from Romania (and Bulgaria) are, however, affecting the wages, the unemployment rate and the dismissal of British workers. He assured the participants that the MAC will draft an accurate and objective report, which will take into account the arguments of the Romanian community representatives.

The representatives of Romanian associations and organisations pledged for lifting the restrictions on the labour market, showing that their maintenance contributes to exploitation of Romanian workers by their employers; affects the state budget due to unpaid taxes and puts pressure on the social services. They stated that it is hard to estimate the number of those who would be coming after the restrictions would be lifted, but insisted upon the necessity of regulating the status of those already present in Great Britain. As an argument against the fears of British authorities regarding the potential migration of Romanians coming from other EU countries such as Spain or Italy, they mentioned that the Romanians living there already have working places, are speaking the language and are well integrated in the society, hence they would have no reasons to look for jobs in Great Britain. Last but not least, they outlined that – even if there had been no restrictions in those respective states – the flows of workers from Romania have not caused disturbances on the local labour markets, Romanians being employed according to their qualifications, in a free competition climate.

The representatives of the Romanian community can still send their arguments for lifting the restrictions in a written form to the Migration Advisory Committee,  until 23 September 2011. Source: Romanian Embassy.  http://londra.mae.ro/index.php?lang=en&id=31&s=127867

Unlike workers from A8 accession countries such as Poland, who enjoy full ‘free movement of Labour’ rights to work in the UK, Bulgarians and Romanians do not have the same rights to work in the UK.

To work in the UK they must apply under various schemes such as Work Permit or BR1 Yellow Card registration, which can involve taking out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance and swearing an Oath that they will not be a burden to the UK.

Those who exercise their Treaty Rights (under Article 39) and apply for an accession card as self employed persons or as students taking vocational or sandwich courses (e.g. NVQ/QCF in Health and Social Care), are allowed to work full time, as stated on their Yellow Cards, but they have to apply for this and jump through several hoops.

Bulgarians and Romanians applying for BR1 yellow card registration as students who wish to work are being forced to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance – a form of private medical cover. The insurance is a new requirement introduced by the UK Border Agency as part of changes to the BR1 Yellow Card form in June. The revised BR1 form does not make it clear that a student will need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance, as the actual question relates to those applying as ‘self sufficient’ EU applicants. For more information on immigration rules for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens visit the UK Border Agency website or see an OISC registered immigration adviser. 

Aplicants should also note that the newly revised UK Border Agency website has changed previously published links to specific pages of the site may no longer exist.

For instance, the link for European Workers is now:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/applying/

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance now required for Bulgarian and Romanian study work yellow cards

The UK Border Agency has started compelling Bulgarians and Romanians to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover when applying for yellow card registration as a working student. The insurance is a new requirement introduced as part of changes to the BR1 Yellow Card form in June…Full story…

See also:

Bulgaria and Romania Schengen visa bid blocked by Netherlands and Finland

Health care workers needed in UK now

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals 

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance now required for Bulgarian and Romanian study work yellow cards

Foreign Doctor and Romanian Nurse row continues

Hospital bosses defend recruiting Romanian nurses

UK announce more non-EU restrictions on Tier 2 working visas

Do we actually need foreign nurses, especially those with poor English who are a risk? Lord Winston asks

BR1 Form for ‘Yellow Card’ Registration revised

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: 

info@immigrationmatters.co.uk or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.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 1020 or email info@majesticcollege.org 

STILL CONFUSED BY YELLOW CARD RULES?

Free presentations are being run at Bison UK Immigration Advisers for Employers, Romanians and Bulgarians – Monday to Friday, from 11am-12noon and 3-4pm. No need to book, just turn up.

Venue: 16 Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire WD6 1DL. Nearest Train Station: Elstree and Borehamwood Station; Buses from Edgware underground station: 107 and 292.

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