The expected ‘influx’ of Romanian and Bulgarian citizens next year will compound the UK’s housing shortage, the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has warned.
The Essex MP and Minister conceded he did not trust the figures he had been given on how many Bulgarians and Romanians might travel to Britain once they have been given the right to live and work here next January.
Pickles said more work was needed to create a robust estimate but admitted he had not had talks with the Home Office over the issue yet.
Temporary seven year work restrictions were imposed on Romanians and Bulgarians in 2005 to protect the British labour market, but under EU laws they cannot be extended.
Mr Pickles told the BBC’s Sunday Politics show: ‘I have seen figures. I wasn’t confident of those figures. I have asked for a further explanation and when I’ve got that explanation and when I feel confident about the figures I’ll talk about them.
‘Given that we’ve got a housing shortage, any influx from Romania and Bulgaria is going to cause problems – it’s going to cause problems, not just in terms of the housing market but also on social housing markets.’
‘We do know of a number of boroughs that have a higher than average number of Romanians so I would expect to see influxes in the east of London, which is predominantly where they are now,’ he said.
He added that East London borough councils had done some work on predicting the extra housing they might need to accommodate the arrival of Romanians and Bulgarians.
However the Home Office has not produced an official estimate of how many of the 29m Romanian and Bulgarian citizens will take advantage of the new freedoms when controls are lifted.
However, one large East London landlord, who preferred not to be named, said that Councils in the area “making life extremely difficult for landlords by imposing an expensive bureaucratic licensing system on property owners”. Some Labour Councils are “declaring war on private landlords”, he added.
The previous Labour government woefully under-estimated the number of migrants that came to Britain under the first wave of Eastern European immigration from new ‘A8’ EU member states in 2004.
Some predict that if Romanians and Bulgarians arrived at roughly the same rate around 300,000 could be expected to enter the UK. This would be more than double the current amount of annual housing completions in the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Unlike non-EU migrants and students, who are being discouraged from coming to the UK, EU citizens can claim benefits shortly after arrival and EU students can access funded university education.
The Government is deterring – and even deporting – overseas students who pay their fees in cash, in favour of EU students who draw funding from the student loan company which will be extremely difficult (in some cases impossible) to recover.
On 1 July Croatia will join the European Union, but will have similar work restrictions imposed on them limiting employment to work permits holders, the self employed and students exercising treaty rights to study and work on a yellow card.
If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, 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. UK jobs are available in the care industry.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org