Bulgarians and Romanians will not get free access to the British labour market, according to a UK Government announcement last month.MAC), in order to protect the interests of British workers and ensure that migrant workers “who come here to work are the people we need – and no more”.
The decision to prolong restrictions on the latest EU members was taken following advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (
Access to British jobs for Bulgarians and Romanians has been limited since they joined the European Union in January 2007, allowing only skilled and highly skilled workers to come here to work.
Low-skilled jobs has been restricted to the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) and the Sector Based Scheme (SBS) for food processing.
The Government says that the decision to keep restrictions in place means “that the UK can continue to benefit from the positive economic contribution Bulgarian and Romanian workers make”, and will continue to monitor the “impacts of their accession on the labour market and the country as a whole”.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
“It is essential that only those we need can come here to work and that is why we have decided to continue restricting the work that Bulgarian and Romanians can do here.UK continues to benefit from the positive economic contribution Bulgarian and Romanian workers make, while protecting British workers and making sure the numbers coming here are managed in the national interest.UK.”
“This is a prudent decision that will ensure the
“We have already suspended tier three of the points based system to stop low skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area entering the
The Home Office has increased the quota for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, following advice from the MAC which identified shortages in the agricultural industry. The scheme enables A2 workers to fill gaps in farming and related work.
From 2009 the number of Bulgarians and Romanians admitted under the scheme will increase from 16,250 places to 21,250. The quota for the Sector Based Scheme for food processing – which is restricted to Romanian and Bulgarian workers – will remain at 3,500.
National Farmers’ Union horticulture board chairman Richard Hirst welcomed the decision to allow in more farm workers:
“We welcome the announcement by the Home Office that there will be an increase in the number of SAWS permits. The decision reflects the compelling evidence put by the industry that there is insufficient seasonal labour to pick and harvest crops.”
Bulgarians and Romanians are allowed to enter the UK without a visa.
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, and 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.
If the Government restricts NVQ Student from coming to the UK when Tier 4 of the Points Based System comes into force next year, employers, especially those in rural areas, will face serious problems maintaining legally enforceable staffing levels.