Rise In Migrants From Romania And Bulgaria
The number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK has risen by more than a quarter in three months, official figures have revealed.
The Office for National Statistics said that 141,000 were employed during the period from April to June, an increase of almost 26% on the 112,000 in the previous three months.
This represents a rise of 35% from the same time last year.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: "This increase of just over a third in Romanian and Bulgarian workers in the UK over the past year is a sharp increase on the previous trend.
"It suggests that still larger numbers will arrive next year when our labour market is fully open to them.
"This is consistent with our central estimate that net migration from Romania and Bulgaria will run at about 50,000 a year for the next five years"
Temporary restrictions on the types of jobs migrants from the two countries can do, imposed when they joined the EU in 2007, will lapse on December 31.
Romanians and Bulgarians will then have full rights to come to Britain and look for work. If they obtain a job, they will qualify for a raft of welfare support.
Under EU free movement laws, the Government cannot extend the restrictions and there are fears of a sharp rise in numbers.
Ministers have so far refused to put a figure on the number of people it expects to come to the UK when the labour market becomes fully open to the two countries.
Officials from Romania and Bulgaria have also repeatedly attempted to allay fears over a wave of immigration from their countries.
Earlier this year Bulgarian ambassador Konstantin Dimitrov estimated between 8,000 and 10,000 would enter Britain during 2014.
Ambassador Ion Jinga has predicted 20,000 might arrive from Romania.
A new Immigration Bill announced in the Queen's Speech will make it easier to remove people from the UK by limiting rights to appeal and tightening the use of human rights law, as well as access to health care.
Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant MP said: "How can local areas make proper plans to avoid pressures on infrastructure or public services if the Government refuse to publish their own estimates of the numbers they expect to arrive?
"The Government need to address these issues and it's clear from the figures released today that they need to do this now and not wait for January 2014.
"They should be taking action now to prevent any increase in exploitation of migrant workers distorting the labour market yet further next year."