Ignoring hysteria, pursuing dreams: Romanians tell their stories
Negative UK publicity must have deterred some migrants, but British society has welcomed many of us, Romanians say
Violeta Patrascu, who left Romania to build a life in Britain and now works at a driving school. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian
As the official figures flashed up on a giant television screen, Tommy Tomescu allowed himself a brief smile of vindication before the recriminations flowed.
The fall in the numbers of Romanian and Bulgarians working in the UK is „no surprise at all”, says the Romanian dentist who has become a London MEP candidate for the Europeans party, which campaigns for migrant workers’ rights and an „end to scapegoating in the UK”.
At a press conference convened at Cornelius’s Romanian-Italian restaurant in Tottenham Hale, north London, he questioned the actions of Ukip candidates „scapegoating” immigrants. He suggested those Ukip members should resign.
Tomescu says the community also wants an apology from Migration Watch, which predicted that 500,000 people would arrive in the UK annually.
Others agree that the onslaught of negative publicity in Britain could have deterred some.
„I think it is possible,” says Larisa Stanciu, 24, a nurse from Craiova, southern Romania. She, and her friend Stela Ciobanu, 24, also a nurse, are working as hotel cleaners in London. Unable to get nursing jobs at home, they decided that cleaning, in Britain, was better paid and preferable until their English improved and allowed them to apply for better jobs, possibly again in nursing.
Ciobanu arrived in January because the lifting of the restrictions made it more straightforward to obtain a national insurance number.
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