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Spanish immigration to UK soars by 85% but lags far behind Poland, Bulgaria and Romania | Immigration Matters

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The UK government has confirmed a large increase in the arrival of Spanish immigrants looking for work, PR Newswire reports.

In the last financial year the Department for Work and Pensions noted that the number of Spanish arrivals registering for Social Security benefits increased by 85%.

The findings make recession hit Spain the country with the biggest growth in the number of immigrants to the UK, with its figures only behind Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Lithuania and Ireland.

According to the statistics, a total of 24, 370 Spanish people entered the labour market in the period; what is more, this figure does not include the increased number of Spaniards studying in the UK, nor those in temporary work who do not pass their details to the Work and Pensions office.

Whilst Spain remains beneath countries such as Pakistan in the rankings, the latest figures show a significant and sudden leap – in previous years, Spain has not even figured in the top ten countries with the most immigrants in the UK.

Large scale European migration to Britain has more recently come from former Eastern Bloc countries such as Poland, Bulgaria and Romania which, at a million plus, dwarfs the numbers coming of Spain.

Unlike workers from A8 accession countries, such as Poland, Latvia and Hungary who enjoy full ‘free movement of Labour’ rights to work in the UK, Bulgarians and Romanians do not have the same rights to work and need permission – e.g. work permit or yellow card.

Romanian Sudent gets Yellow Card

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.

Bulgarians and Romanians 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. National Vocational Qualification 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.

Unlike other EU members, or for that matter non-EU students, 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 – despite the fact that they have access to the NHS. 

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:

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

What is the correct insurance cover needed when applying for a Yellow Card?

One insurance company manager told Immigration Matters that he has been trying to get clarification on the exact requirements from the UK Border Agency for several weeks.

Active Quote offers an easy to use online quotation and application system, but also has telephone support from advisers who are on hand to answer questions.

To obtain a quotation for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance visit the Active Quote website.  

See also:

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

Health care workers needed in UK now

Crimes by EU citizens treble figures reveal

BR1 Form for ‘Yellow Card’ Registration revised

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 


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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