UK & World News
Immigration: Claims Of Anti-UK Campaign
Ministers are working on plans to put off Bulgarians and Romanians from moving to Britain when controls are lifted at the end of this year.
Downing Street confirmed it is looking at how it can curb the influx from the two countries amid predictions that 250,000 people could flock here over five years.
David Cameron's official spokesman said the Prime Minister wants to prevent potential damage to the UK labour market from a fresh flood of migrants.
But he acknowledged that Britain will have to operate within European Union rules on the right to free movement.
The confirmation came amid reports the Government is considering using an advertising campaign to highlight the pitfalls of life in the UK, including the bad weather.
Other plans could include deporting anyone who failed to find work in three months of arriving or to show they could support themselves for six months.
Temporary restrictions in place since 2005 limiting the rights of 29 million Bulgarian and Romanian citizens to live and work in other EU states will expire in December.
The Government is coming under pressure to publish an estimate of the scale of expected immigration from the two newest EU states.
So far there has been no formal prediction, with ministers wary of repeating what happened with Poland when estimates were far exceeded.
Mr Cameron's spokesman, in a briefing to reporters, played down the idea of an ad campaign warning of low-paid jobs and the British rain.
But he confirmed that ministers were considering ideas which might prevent a surge in immigration.
"As you would expect, the Government is considering what options there may be and the process of looking into these and considering them is under way," he said.
"The issue here is around dealing with potential damage to the UK labour market and potential scope for curbing immigration to that end.
"We are in the process of considering what we may be able to do. Clearly, there is a European legal framework within which we have to operate."
The National Institute for Economic and Social Research has been commissioned to look at the potential impacts of Bulgarian and Romanian immigration to the UK, he said.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has admitted the influx would "cause problems" with services such as housing, particularly in London.
But he insisted it was not "reasonable" to assume 300,000 people would move to the UK - the figure suggested by some Tories based on migration levels from other countries.
Chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, Keith Vaz, said: "I have asked the Home Secretary several times to give us an estimate as to how many Romanians and Bulgarians will enter the country in 2014, but she has not done so.
"Successive governments have failed to provide accurate estimates. The spending of public money on advertisements and propaganda trying to stop Romanian and Bulgarians coming to Britain borders on the farcical.
"On the one hand, the Home Office doesn't want them in but on the other hand, the minister for Europe is saying there is freedom of movement. The Government is in danger of actually encouraging more people to come.
"These kinds of tactics have been used in the past and been found to be counter-productive. Ministers would be better off working with their Romanian and Bulgarian counterparts and the EU to address the reasons migrants want to come here in the first place."