The Office of National Statistics released the recent employment figures last week. The major media story has been on last year’s ‘sharp increase’ in the number of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants who found work in the UK in 2012, which by year’s end stood at almost 37,000.
Given last week’s media headlines:
- ‘Rise In Migrants From Romania And Bulgaria’ – Sky News;
- ‘Romanians and Bulgarians working in UK up 26%’ – BBC News;
- ‘Migrant workers from Romania and Bulgaria on the rise’ – ITV News;
- ‘Number of Romanian and Bulgarian workers in Britain soars 36 per cent’ – Express;
- ‘100 Romanians and Bulgarians take a job in Britain every day, official figures show’ – Daily Mail
one might be forgiven to think that from next year when restrictions to the UK labour market are lifted for the two countries, Romanians and Bulgarians will ‘flood’ Britain (to use anther euphemism so darling to the British press) to steal the British jobs.
But let’s look at the bigger migration picture! From the ONS statistics, most jobs which involved the employment of an EU citizen went to Western, not Eastern European migrants. Last year, 60,000 immigrants from the western EU14 countries found jobs in the UK. In total, approximately 800,000 Western Europeans currently live and work in the UK. Another significant trend worth noting is the decrease in migration from the Eastern European A8 countries, which saw 11,000 workers returning to their country of origin last year.