Continuing with yesterday's migration theme, a recent report from the Institute for Public Policy Research estimates that 56,000 Romanian and Bulgarian workers likely to come to Britain next year. Quoting the media release:
ippr estimates that around 41,000 Romanians and 15,000 Bulgarians will come to work in Britain in the first year after their countries join the European Union. This estimate is based on what happened after the last EU enlargement in 2004. Although Romania and Bulgaria are poorer than the countries that joined last time, most migrating Romanians and Bulgarians will want to go to Italy, Spain and Greece because they are closer and have higher numbers already resident.
ippr argues that the Government should allow labour market access to Romanian and Bulgarian nationals to work in Britain when accession is expected in 2007 because:
- new inflows are likely to be relatively small
- the impacts on the UK labour market are likely to be positive
- free access will have to be introduced eventually and a separate scheme would increase bureaucracy
- those Romanians and Bulgarians already here would be able to regularise their status.
The IPPR report, EU Enlargement: Bulgaria and Romania - migration implications for the UK, is available free to download.
Bulgarians and Romanians are currently required to hold a visa to travel to the UK and can stay with a visa for work. EU accession is expected on 1 January 2007 but could be postponed for one year if Bulgaria and Romania, with a combined population of around 30 million, do not meet the joining criteria.