The BBC reports that a petition signed by more than 4,000 people has been delivered to 10 Downing Street calling for the work rights of Romanians in the UK to be brought in line with other Eastern European immigrants.
Romanians and Bulgarians are not allowed to work freely in Britain, but are restricted to certain types of work, such as fruit picking.
Nationals from the newest EU members (A2) have not been granted unrestricted access to the UK labour market since the countries joined the EU at the start of 2007, unlike workers from eight former Soviet bloc countries which joined the EU in 2004. Full story...
Although Romanian and Bulgarian workers are still subject to work restrictions, they can freely enter the UK without a visa. Once here, many exercise their ‘treaty rights’ and register as self employed workers or as Students obtaining a Yellow Card.
Romanian and Bulgarian Students taking vocational or sandwich courses, such as NVQ in Health and Social Care, are allowed to work full time, as stated on their Yellow Cards.
Nursing and Care homes are snapping up these NVQ Students, as they struggle to keep their non-EU Senior Carers due to Work Permit restrictions and the Government imposed £7.02 minimum salary.
Without Student labour, the staffing problems in the sector would be far worse, which is why the recent UKBA announcement that “tough new rules” are on the way for foreign students, is a worry for employers.
The Work Permit door has been firmly closed on Senior Carers. If the Government also turns the ‘NVQ Student’ tap off when Tier 4 of the Points Based System comes into force next year, employers, especially those in rural areas, are going to face serious problems maintaining legally enforceable staffing levels.