The UK’s Office for National Statistics has released figures which show that the number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK rose by 26% in the second quarter of 2013. There were 141,000 Bulgarians and Romanians working in the UK by June 2013 compared to 112,000 in March.
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Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. The UK, like most other EU countries placed transitional immigration controls on citizens of those countries. Self-employed workers and some agricultural workers are permitted to come already but, under EU law, the transitional controls must be lifted after seven years and, after that date, many more Bulgarians and Romanians will be able to travel to work anywhere in the EU. The seven year transitional period for Bulgaria and Romania will expire after 31st December 2013.
Some commentators have expressed a fear that there may be unmanageable levels of immigration from the two countries leading to pressure on schools, hospitals and housing stock in areas of high migration.
Migratory flows will be attracted by higher wages
Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party said, ‘It is a simple fact that if you open your doors to people from countries with significantly lower wages and GDP than the UK, then migratory flows will come.