How many Romanian and Bulgarian citizens will move to the UK after 1 Jan 2014?

Published and promoted by UKIP, Lexdrum House, Heathfield TO12 6UT. Printed by Print Bridge, 16 Castle St, Bodmin PL31 2DU lS1@UKIP  The UKIP

Transitional Arrangements 


Interesting isn’t it? The UK government is refusing to tell us how many Romanians and Bulgarians they think are likely to enter our country. From 2014, as a direct result of the EU’s ‘Single Market’ rules, the people of those countries acquire full rights to come here, to live, to work and to claim benefits in the UK. Because of our EU membership, we will have absolutely no legal right to stop them: the EU’s rules give the holders of appropriate passports an absolute right of entry, whatever the British people may think or want. It is not that the British Government does not have an estimate. It is just that they have decided not to share it with us: the people who elect them and pay their wages! In effect, we are not allowed by the British political class to know the results of the work on this estimate for which we – as taxpayers – have paid.

How has all of this come about? Why might these people come?

As the EU has expanded eastwards, the new member states are ever poorer. This is a simple statement of fact – the reasons are rooted in their national histories. The motivation of migrants is always straightforward. They want a better life. There is nothing to criticise in that: it applies to virtually all of us. However, it has this consequence. The appeal of the United Kingdom to such people is directly in proportion to their poverty: the poorer the place from which you come, the more desirable it is to get to the UK with the right to stay. With that understanding, let us look at the Romanian and Bulgarian economies.

Romania is a country of about 21 million people with a coastline on the Black Sea. For a very long time it was part of Average Monthly Wage Comparisons the Turkish Ottoman empire. It also suffered 40 years of Communism, many of them under the murderous and infamous Nicolas Ceausescu.

The average Romanian salary is the equivalent of just £287 per month. The Romanian minimum wage is less than half this average: a paltry £128 per month. In Romania, as in the UK, financial services are a well-paid sector but, at an average of £823 a month, even wages in that sector are below the UK’s minimum wage. South of Romania lies Bulgaria, with just over seven million people. Its peoples’ sufferings are similar to that of the Romanians: the Bulgarian Communist dictator, Todor Zhivkov, may have been a lot less well-known than Ceausescu but he was every bit as evil and his regime as tyrannical.

The figures for Bulgaria are even lower, with an average of about £240 and a monthly minimum wage of just £118. Bulgaria’s average wage for a key sector like telecommunications or engineering is around £800 per month. Interestingly, official figures state that around 100,000 Bulgarians already live in the UK – many more than the 30,000 in France or 75,000 in Germany – despite the UK being further away. (Actual figures may, of course, be higher, perhaps considerably.)

This undermines assertions that migrants go to EU countries close to home and may indicate that the desire for family reunification could bump up Bulgarian numbers both rapidly and significantly. A further consideration is the existence of over 2 million Roma in these two countries. Romania also has a significant Hungarian minority who were persecuted by Ceausescu. Understandably, minorities who consider themselves persecuted are frequently the most fervent in seeking a better life

East European Pop UK

Figures in Purchasing Power Parity dollars Source: International Labour Organization. March 2012 

All this has to be seen in the context of what happens in the United Kingdom. Our minimum wage gives earnings of  £1,032 per month. The UK’s Jobseekers allowance for the over 25s gives an income of £307 even before other benefits such as housing benefit are taken into consideration. Let’s compare the figures.

The Romanian average wage is less’ than the UK’s over-25 Jobseekers allowance. Even those in well-paid parts of the Romanian and Bulgarian economies earn less than UK full-timers on the minimum wage. The Polish economy is stronger and has significantly higher pay than either} Romania or Bulgaria. In 2003, the UK government estimated that a maximum of just 13,000 people would arrive from the EU east European accession states. They were wrong by a factor of eight. In 2004 there were 95,000 Poles in the UK. By 011, the figure was 643,000.

Surely, in these circumstances, it cannot be controversial to suggest that all this makes the United Kingdom a highly attractive place for people from Romania and Bulgaria?

Unemployment Percentages in selected EU countries

Unemployment Percentages in selected EU countries

The countries formerly known as the A8 countries are Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Polish-born population of the UK rose by nearly 550,000 from 95,000 to 643,000 between 2004 and 2011. Poles accounted for about 60% of A8 migration. The A8 born population increased by 820,000 from 167,000 in 2004 to 988,000 in 2011. The rate of increase 2009 2010 2011 slowed during the recession but has since accelerated. Source: Migration Watch

What about when they arrive?

The United Kingdom runs a welfare and benefit system which is arguably the most easily accessed in the developed world. In most other countries, including other EU member states, past contributions are a vital key to access. You cannot claim unless you have paid in. In Britain by contrast, you don’t have to have contributed at all. Thus Romanians and Bulgarians who come to the UK and find work, immediately enjoy access to in-work benefits. They can immediately have housing benefit, child benefit and tax credits. If you come from another better-off country, the original EU 6 for example or any of the Scandinavian countries, this is little incentive because you are unlikely to be better off.

Italy Netherlands UK Romania Bulgaria UK benefit levels are often lower than theirs, relatively and absolutely. But if you think about the standard of living offered by comparative wage rates and income levels in Romania and Bulgaria, then it is more or less a ‘no-brainer’. For your and your children’s sake, Britain here we come! We are not suggesting that many of these people will not work – and work hard. Quite the contrary, many East Europeans gained a well-deserved reputation for hard work; but the way our benefit system works, they are in many cases still net recipients at British taxpayers’ expense. Moreover, their remittances home – sent by honourable people from the best of motives – take money out of our economy.

For those who cannot find work – or do not even try – the absence of a contribution requirement means that out-of-work benefits are much easier to get than in almost any other country. The UK’s requirement of ‘habitual residence’ is imprecise and comparatively easily achieved when EU rules give the British authorities no option to refuse entry to any of the EU’s half a billion citizens.

EU Youth Unemployment Rates 2012 %

Again the UK’s benefits come in a package. Jobseeker’s Allowance is the “passport” to other benefits which, for Bulgarians and Romanians, offers a better standard of living than they can I easily get in their country of origin. That’s just the way the system works! Access to social housing is based on assessments of need, with newcomers having identical rights to those of long-standing. This may sound entirely fair. But let’s think about it? This must actually work in favour of homeless large families from poorer countries: their need will inevitably be the greater once they arrive in the UK. It may be counterintuitive, but a needs-based system will inevitably work to the advantage of immigrants over those long-resident – precisely because all are treated equally. 

None of this is a good deal for hard-pressed British taxpayers faced with rising costs and taxes, a growing public debt and an economy in at least a double-dip and maybe a triple-dip recession. How many? We can only guess. The large numbers of Roma complicate the issue. The experience of 2004 perhaps provides a starting point. Migration Watch UK has done work based on the earlier experience after 2004 which, by extrapolation, suggests 30-70,000 per year. Their “central estimate is 50,000 a year or 250,000 in five years”.

How Many People is  a quarter of a million or 250,000

Rotherham               275,000

Hull                            256,000
Plymouth                  256,000
Greenwich LB           254,000
Hounslow LB            254,000
Wolverhampton      250,000

Derby                         249,000
Stoke-on- Trent       249,000
Milton Keynes          248,000
Hackney LB               246,000
Haringey LB              246,000
Swansea                     239,000

Total population of some British towns in thousands

Data Source Migration Watch

Data Source Migration Watch

At a time of regular house building shortfall and rising rents, that equates to yet another completely new city the size of Milton Keynes. Of course, it could be more. Because their Latin-based languages are similar, many Romanians have already travelled to Spain and Italy. But the Euro-zone crisis is causing economic difficulties across southern Europe and very high levels of unemployment in Spain in particular (See Page Six). How much more appealing does this make the UK’s easily accessible non-contribution-based benefit system for such people?

What will happen next?

Let us remind you that the government is refusing to release estimates which we know exist. Why might this be the case?

We suggest it is because they do not want to admit the truth. Our membership of the EU means that any attempt to stop Romanian or Bulgarian people settling in Britain will mean that the UK’s government is breaking the law. As we are describing, there are very real economic incentives for Romanians and Bulgarians to come to the UK. We do not blame them for doing it. We might well act in the same way in their circumstances. But it is not helpful to the people who already live in the United Kingdom. British taxpayers cannot afford it. And it is going to happen wholly because we are members of the European Union and have lost all sovereignty on this critical issue: that is a real ‘uncomfortable truth’.

Free Movement Of Workers and People

THE UK CANNOT LAWFULLY TAKE any measure of a general or systematic nature to get around the right, from January 2014, of Romanian and Bulgarian workers to come to the UK. The Treaty of Rome envisaged from the outset a common market and economic policy between members characterised by free movement within the internal borders of the European Economic Community. Currently, the EU laws that govern free movement

Treaty of Rome Signed in 1957

Treaty of Rome Signed in 1957

Signing ceremony for the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Source: Wikipedia and border controls are laid out in the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union and the Protocols of the Lisbon Treaty.

The right to free movement of workers is governed by Articles 45 to 48 of the TFEU that guarantee workers the right to free movement within the territories of the members of the Union, without any form of discrimination based on nationality but subject to limitations justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health. This right includes moving freely within the territory of member states for the purpose of the work and residing therein even after stopping work subject to conditions in regulations to be drawn up by the European Commission. 

Article 20 of the TFEU reinforces this idea, stating:

Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship. Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights and be subject to the duties provided for in the Treaties. They shall have, inter alia: (a) the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. The right to free movement for citizens is further explained thus: ‘Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in the Treaties and by the measures adopted to give them effect.’ So absolutely fundamental to the whole fabric of the EU is this right that it has a further iteration in Article 21 (1) of the TFEU:

Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in the Treaties and by the measures adopted to give them effect. 

Since the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the EU in 2007, the UK has been able to prevent any mass migration from those countries and their citizens currently have to apply for a work permit. That derogation will come to an end on December 31, 2013 and from then Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will be able to avail themselves of their full rights under the TFEU. On the face of it, Article 45 (3) permits states to prevent exercise of those rights on the grounds of “public policy, public security or public health”.

It might be imagined that that permits the UK to re-impose some or all of the restrictions which currently operate against Romanian and Bulgarian nationals but Council l Directive 64/221/EEC of 25 February 1964 on the co-ordination of special measures concerning the movement and residence of foreign nationals which are justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health makes it clear that this is not so except on an individual, case by case, basis. The directive makes clear that the UK cannot lawfully take any measures to get around the right in January 2014 of Romanian and Bulgarian workers to come to the UK from January 1, 2014





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