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December 08, 2006

Romanian and Bulgarian Immigration

This was entirely predictable. In fact, I'm pretty sure I did predict it.

Start at the beginning. Some people are worried about the amount of immigration into the country. OK, fair do's, they're worried. Romania and Bulgaria are joining, so we all assume that there'll be lots of them coming over, just as happened with the Poles and so on. The same people are also worried about this. OK, fair do's again.

However, the way the European Unions laws on such matters work, we cannot impose any restrictions at all on Romanians or Bulgarians coming to the UK. They have exactly the same rights as you or I to pitch up and to live where they wish. Now, whether you think that's a good idea or not is another matter, but it is the way things are and there's no way of changing it without radical changes to either the EU itself or our leaving it.

The only thing we can do is impose restrictions upon the number who can actually take jobs here. We're not allowed to stop self-employed people coming, we're not allowed to stop people settting up in business, but we are allowed to stop people working for others.

Thus we get this:

The Home Office yesterday introduced regulations supposed to restrict access to the labour market for Bulgarian and Romanian workers for up to five years, though they will be reviewed after 12 months.

Only 20,000 low-skilled workers from the two countries will be allowed to seek work each year, though this will not cover the self-employed. Since there will be no restrictions on Bulgarians or Romanians coming to Britain, there is concern that thousands will simply work in the black economy.

Given the constraints imposed by the basics of European law, this simply won't work. In fact, it'll make the situation worse. Pure idiocy: weren't we promised joined up government?

December 8, 2006 in European Union | Permalink


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"They have exactly the same rights as you or I to pitch up and to live where they wish."

Gosh! I had no idea, I'll pack my bags!

Posted by: stuart | Dec 8, 2006 11:44:46 AM