The Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean has accused British MP’s of political point-scoring over fears that a large number of migrant workers from Romania and Bulgaria will arrive when restrictions on working in the UK are relaxed next year.
In a clear attack on recent anti-Romanian rhetoric, Mr Corlatean told Sky News’ Murnaghan: “It is always very easy to win supplementary points, votes, electoral advantages using the already classic topic of migration.
“This is of course, from our perspective at least, fundamentally wrong.
“Romanians and Bulgarians are not immigrants”, he added “they are EU members exercising their rights.”
Romanian contribute to the UK economy and are not criminals
Speaking in perfect English, the Minister paid tribute to Romanians for their enormous economic “contribution” to the UK, including helping to make the London Olympics a huge success.
He said that he had met Romanians in the UK and far from taking from the UK, they have worked hard, “paid taxes, intergrated into British society, contributed to the economy which is very positive”.
Mr Corlatean also dismissed reports that Romanians were criminals and pickpockets, commenting that this suggestion was like saying that all British people are football hooligans because a few fans misbehave.
Migration Watch UK has forecast that 250,000 people from Romania and Bulgaria will arrive in Britain by 2019 after restrictions on workers from the countries are removed at the end of this year.
The Government’s own Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) says there is evidence Bulgarians would move to Britain because of its stronger economy, and it is “plausible” Romanians would come for the same reasons.
Bulgarians and Romanians have been able to come to the UK, but to stay longer than three months they are supposed to register (exercise treaty rights) as self sufficient migrants, self-employed persons starting a business, seasonal workers, Au Pairs or as students (who are allowed to work), provided they do not seek benefits or any other employment.
However, it is common knowledge that, like other Europeans, many Romanians and Bulgarians are able to access benefits and free NHS healthcare for themselves and their family members, despite being asked to take out private medical comprehensive sickness insurance cover.
At present, Romanian and Bulgarian students wishing to study and work in the UK appear to be forced to take out expensive private medical cover in order to obtain a yellow card permit.
Mr Corlatean said he did not expect the change to result in there being a “huge presence” of Romanians in the UK after January 1, 2014.
Directive 38 on free movement will be respected
Responding to reports that the British Government is considering ways to limit migration from the two newest EU members and restrict workers’ rights to certain benefits, including the NHS, Mr Corlatean said the vast majority of Romanians already living and working in the UK were “well-integrated into British society”.
Mr Corlatean added he had “received official assurances from the British government that points to Directive 38 of the European Union (relating to free movement between member states) will be respected”.
A YouGov poll commissioned by the Murnaghan programme found that around two thirds (64%) of British adults thought Romanians and Bulgarians should not be allowed the same working rights in Britain as those from other EU countries. A similar number (65%) were worried about the curbs being relaxed.
Both these figures rose to three quarters among Conservative voters.
Immigration was one of the single big issues which impacted the outcome of the Eastleigh by-election last week.
The Liberal Democrats retained the seat, but the Conservative Party was pushed into third place by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) – which advocates withdrawal from the European Union.
“I’m not against Romania” Nigel Farage
UKIP leader Nigel Farage claims Romanian citizens could be attracted by Britain’s benefits system.
“We are signed up to the European Union and all the while we are members of it, there is nothing we can do to control the number of people that come here from any other European country and their immediate entitlement to the entire social security system of this country,” he said.
He added: “I’m not against Romania or Romanians but I do think the point has come with youth unemployment at 22% for us to say enough’s enough, let’s have a controlled migration policy into Britain and not an open door.” Source: SKY News.
Croatia joins the European Union (EU) on 1 July 2013 and the UK will introduce transitional arrangements to restrict Croatian nationals’ from full access to the UK labour market.
The Government has set a target to slash net migration to the “tens of thousands” by 2015 and students are the main target whatever the cost. Net migration to the UK dropped by a third in 2012.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 163,000 more people came to live in the UK for 12 months to the end of 2012 or more than had left, compared with 247,000 the year before.
Whilst the UK Government is determined to find a way of curbing migration from Bulgaria and Romania, those already here exercising their treaty rights on yellow or blue cards will retain those rights.
If you have been arrested or detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 1, 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed, Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a 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.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org