Controls created in 2007 that have stemmed the flow of migrant workers into Britain from Bulgaria and Romania expired on the 1st of January 2014; giving citizens the right to live and work in England.
However, over 60 British MPs are now backing a campaign that will extend the restrictions, claiming the British economy is not ready to accept foreign migrants after the strains of the 2008 recession.
They claim restrictions should be in place for another half decade to ease the burden on public services and pressure on an already troubled job market.
Curbs on benefits and Government contingency funds
Neither the UK nor Bulgaria and Romania have released figures on the predicted numbers of migrant workers, although some campaigners believe nearly 50,000 individuals could come every year.
Yet there are curbs in place to ensure those entering England will make a meaningful contribution the British economy, including reduced access to benefits.
They will also face new charges on certain medical treatments administered by the NHS.
A Home Office spokesman has stated the UK Government is working on measures such as these to ensure the migrants are entering Britain for the right reasons.
The EU commissioner for employment social affairs and inclusion Laszlo Andor has stated there were already three million Bulgarian and Romanian nationals residing in other EU states.
“It is unlikely that there will be any major increase following the ending of the final restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers,” he stated.
Andor added that migrant workers were essential to sustain the British economy, and contingency funds are in place to protect against any strain on the welfare system.
On the other side of the coin, campaigners such as the Migrant Watch claim as many as two million further nationals from Bulgaria and Romania already working elsewhere in the EU might seek to enter the UK to benefit from higher wages and benefits including tax credits.
Whilst the Bulgarian ambassador believes only 8,000 migrants will enter the UK each year, Migrant Watch claims as many as 50,000 will enter the UK every year for the next half decade.
The Romanian foreign ministry has publically dismissed claims of an “invasion,” and that individuals would enter England with the intent to claim benefits, beg, and even steal scrap metals.
This included a report in the Sun, which printed interviews from migrants on one of the first coaches making the journey across Europe, detailing their plans to live off the state.
Romanian foreign ministry spokesperson Ms Predescu stated the portrayal of the migrant entry into Britain has been an “outright campaign.”
“There isn’t going to be an invasion of Romanians as of two days’ time,” she stated.
“Not all Romanians, young and old, are going to get on a plane.”