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Restrictions on Romanian workers in the UK labour market are ‘discriminatory’, says Keith Vaz MP | Immigration Matters

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On 22 October 2011 at the London Embassy of Romania, the fourth annual Conference of Romanian Students, Professors and Researchers living in the UK, was held.

The event, attended by over 200 students, professors and researchers from the most important universities in the UK, was organised under the patronage of the Embassy of Romania, the Romanian-British Chamber of Commerce (BRCC) and the Ratiu Foundation.  

The Steering Committee included representatives of the Embassy of Romania, the BRCC, the League of Romanian Students Abroad, as well as students and professors from universities such as Canterbury Christ Church, Edinburgh, Kent, Manchester and Oxford.

The event’s main theme was “How to – a Pragmatic Approach” and it was structured in two parts: a plenary session and a panel session.

The Conference benefited from the presence of four key note speakers: Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the House of Lords’ Home Affairs Committee, Nick Anstee, former Lord Mayor of the City of London and successful businessman, Prof Robin Baker, Vice Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, and Prof Stephen Hillier, Vice Principal of the University of Edinburgh.

In the second part three panels were touching upon the following subjects: “How to succeed: a practical approach”, “How to break into: successful career case studies” and “How to make the most of networking groups and partners”.

Opening the event, HE Dr Ion Jinga, Ambassador of Romania, addressed the audience:

“Welcome to the fourth edition of the Conference for Romanian Students, Professors and Researchers living in the UK. I am delighted to see it is the fourth year we are gathering in 1 Belgrave Square for an event that is about academic performance and professional development, experience and competitiveness, youth and hope. Actually, it is about how to become what you really want, how to do what you really like, and how to give back, by working hard, something that can help other young people to follow their dreams. In two words: “How to”. This Conference doesn’t pretend to find all the answers to these questions, but I hope it will give you an idea about how to strive for a successful career. We have the privilege to benefit today from the presence of very special guests – people who are top professionals, who worked very hard for their achievements and who know perfectly well the balance between success and sacrifice, between recognition and the effort it requires”.

The plenary session was moderated by Mrs Anne Marie Martin, CEO of the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce.

The series of talks was opened by Mr Keith Vaz MP, who welcomed the presence of Romanian students in the British educational system, as well as the initiative and the opportunity of organising the Conference. To his knowledge, the Embassy of Romania is the first diplomatic mission in London that is organising such an event for its nationals. Mr Keith Vaz underlined that restrictions imposed on Romanian workers in the British labour market are discriminatory.

Mr Vaz mentioned his visits to Romania as Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, as well as the very good co-operation with the Romanian authorities. He said that “Romanians are first class contributors to the UK”.

Mr Nick Anstee, former Lord Mayor of the City of London between 2009 and 2010, shared the experience of his mandate, mentioning also his visit to Romania during that period of time. He spoke about the lessons of the financial crisis, pleading for the necessity to reform the banking system taking into account the ethical values, as well as to develop a different organisational culture that will concentrate on the customer’s needs. 

Prof Robin Baker, Vice Chancellor of the Canterbury Christ Church University, congratulated the Romanian students, professors and researchers for their outstanding academic results. He mentioned that Romanians have been studying at Oxford and Cambridge universities since the XVI-XVII century. He shared his views on the benefits of the education abroad, which is offering a broader perspective and a global culture. He confessed that Romanian students are among the best at Canterbury Christ Church University, serving as an example for other students which are striving to reach their level.

The second panel included successful Romanians who managed to build a career in the UK: Mr Florian Moldoveanu, Chairman and founder of the PiLON constructions company, Ms Alexandra Dariescu, pianist, Ms Anamaria Marinca, actress, Ms Diana Pop, manager at Benefit Cosmetics, and Prof Sandu Popescu, researcher at the University of Bristol. Moderator was Dr Radu Tunaru, professor of quantitative finance at the University of Kent.

In the third panel talks were delivered by Ana Becheru, co-ordinator of the LSRS –UK branch, Eliza Gheorghe, co-ordinator of GRASP – UK branch, and Mr Daniel Popescu, research and data officer at UK NARIC. Debate was moderated by Victor Roman, postgraduate student at the University of Manchester.

As every year, a long-awaited moment was the Ambassador’s Diploma ceremony. Diplomas were bestowed according to the Steering Committee’s voting, nominations being made by students, professors and researchers.

Ana Becheru, postgraduate student at the University of Kent, and Victor Roman, postgraduate student at the University of Manchester were awarded the “Diploma for students”. Dr Marius Turda, a history specialist and director of the Cantemir Institute at the University of Oxford, was granted the “Diploma for Professors”.

The “Diploma for promoting Romania’s image” was received by the pianist Diana Ionescu and the violinist Vlad Maistorovici. Florian Moldoveanu, Chairman and founder of the PiLON constructions company, was awarded the “Special Prize for promoting the Romanian business community and for CSR”. Source: London Embassy of Romania.

Despite the fact that 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.

British businesses would like to recruit Romanian, Bulgarian and other European workers, as the Government’s cap on migration, combined with newly imposed restrictions on Tier 2 and Tier 4 routes, has made it increasing difficult to recruit non-EU staff (on work permits and student visas).

But many employers are 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. See also: 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

Further hurdles have been introduced for Romanians and Bulgarians seeking to working and study in the UK.

Since 20 June 2011 the UK Border Agency introduced new guidance which makes it mandatory for Bulgarians and Romanians to take out a ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ policy when applying for yellow card registration as a working student. But finding out what is actually meant by ’comprehensive sickness insurance’ is proving more difficult than you would expect?

The new requirement was introduced as part of changes to the BR1 Yellow Card form and BR1 Guidance Note (version 06/2011) in June.

Other difficulties include the delays on processing BR1 Yellow Card applications, which are now taking several months, and the lack of available appointment times for the ‘same day service’.

See also:


Free Movement of EU nationals explained

Health care workers needed in UK now

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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4 Responses to “Restrictions on Romanian workers in the UK labour market are ‘discriminatory’, says Keith Vaz MP”
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  1. The who EU is doing it, not just UK!

  2. Please stop discriminating us!

  3. […] Restrictions on Romanian workers in the UK labour market are ‘discriminatory’, says Keith Vaz MP […]

  4. […] Restrictions on Romanian workers in the UK labour market are ‘discriminatory’, says Keith Vaz MP […]

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