After employment controls were lifted in January, the number of Romanians registering for UK national insurance increased sharply compared with the year before – from 18,000 to 100,000. The figure for Bulgarians rose from 10,000 to 30,000.
According to official estimates, half of these registrations are from new arrivals, suggesting that some of those already in the UK had been working illegally.
My community is growing every day,” said Iris Radulian, project manager of My Romania Group, which provides support and advice to Romanians arriving in the UK.“
“People arrive with qualifications, but they don’t know what a national insurance number is, or how to get one.
“Like any community, there are a range of people from Romania, but they don’t understand British processes yet and aren’t confident with the language, so from the outside they look all the same.”
Ms Radulian helps Romanians send their certificates to NARIC, the UK agency that translates international degrees into British qualifications. She has also created a network of Romanian accountants, barristers, solicitors and journalists who can advise immigrants, and runs schools where children are taught about their Romanian heritage while their parents learn English next door.