Diplomatic row over UK plan to discourage Bulgarian immigrants

Published:  4 Feb at 6 PM
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Following the UK government’s proposed plan to rubbish Britain as a migrant destination in Bulgaria and Romania, a diplomatic row has broken out.

After the ban on Bulgarian and Romanian job-seekers in the UK ends in January 2015, when both countries become full EU members, migrants are expected to flood into the UK. The government’s recently-announced strategy of negative advertising aimed at reducing migrant numbers has provoked angry reactions from leading politicians in both countries.

Bulgarian foreign minister Nikolai Mladenov said that Bulgarians looking to emigrate would much prefer Germany, Spain or Italy with their already established business links. He added that the UK’s unfounded fears over hordes of Bulgarians descending on the country was likely to damage Bulgarian-UK relations.

Romanian Ambassador in London, Dr Ion Jinga, was equally unimpressed by the UK government’s stance, saying that many of his countrymen had already bypassed the restrictions simply by working on UK construction sites as self-employed tradesmen. Jinga also considers UK fears of more job losses to workers from overseas as totally unfounded, saying that Romanians seeking overseas work are more likely to head for Spain, Italy and France.

According to Jinga, one million Romanians are already working in Spain, with another million in Italy and around half a million in France. He added that those who wished to emigrate to the UK had mostly done so already as self-employed, thus taking advantage of the lack of visa requirements for entry.

Jinga also mentioned that a high number of Romanian construction workers had been employed on the 2012 Olympic Games site. A recent UK media report revealed that the number of local British workers employed at the site totalled only half the number of new local jobs promised in the Olympic bid.
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