The number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK rose by 40 per cent in a year, even before work restrictions were lifted, new figures revealed today.
In the run-up to curbs being removed on January 1 there were almost 144,000 people born in the two countries who had a job, compared to under 102,000 in the last three months of 2012.
It means they took one in 10 of the new jobs created in 2013, as overall figures showed unemployment has continued to fall and a record number of women are in work.
There were 143,598 people from these countries working in the last quarter of 2013, up 6 per cent on July to September and up 41 per cent year-on-year.
Of the 424,503 people who found work in the 12 months to the end of last year, 41,670 were born in Romania and Bulgaria.
Romanian migrants arriving at Luton Airport on January 1 were greeted by home affairs select committee chairman Keith Vaz, who welcomed Spirescu Victor and took him for coffee
Among Romanian and Bulgarian nationals the figure was slightly lower, taking into account those born in the two countries who have changed nationality. Among this group, 124,716 were in work, up 34 per cent year-on-year.
David Cameron was criticised last month when he claimed that the numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians moving to the UK had been ‘reasonable’ since January 1, despite admitting he had seen no official figures.
Amid rising public anxiety before Christmas, Mr Cameron announced EU migrants will have to wait for at least three months before they can claim any out-of-work benefits under emergency regulations which took effect from January 1.