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Immigration Row: 'Romanians Are Not Coming To The UK To Claim Benefits' Expats Say

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Romanians are not coming the to the UK to claim benefits, say Romanians | Alamy

Romanians coming to live in the UK are not migrating to claim benefits, but to work, one of Romania's leading recruiters for Britain has said.

David Cameron has warned those coming to Britain they can no longer expect "something for nothing," and is to reveal tougher curbs on benefits for immigrants.

But Brindusa Deac, who works for Romanian recruitment website Tjobs.ro, told the Huffington Post UK the number of job openings available shows Romanians do not need to claim benefits.

More than 47,000 job openings were advertised on their job site offering Romanians positions in England last year, many for doctors and nurses.

Cameron is due to say in a speech on Monday: "We should be clear that what we have is a free National Health Service, not a free International Health Service."

But Miss Deac said she had no idea why the prime minister would suggest Romanians are emigrating to be treated on the NHS as their own health service currently offers free treatment.

She said most Romanians came home for medical attention, as it was much cheaper.

"We think since there are that many job openings in the UK, Romanians aren't going there for benefits, what would be the value of that?," she told The Huffington Post UK

"More than 90% of Romanians who go to the UK come back. Usually contracts last between three and six months, sometimes a year. The reason Romanians go to work in the UK are specifically for money, they are highly paid and can sometimes earn five times more. They want to earn money and save up and then go back to Romania.

"There will always be a few cases of people who don't want to work, but these are the kind of people who cause problems even in Romania. I'm sure even in the UK there are people who want to stay on welfare, but this is a problem with the system, not with Romania."

She said it was unlikely Romanians would come to the UK just for the NHS, explaining: "We already have a healthcare system. It isn't the best but if you have an emergency you can be treated for free. The Romanian healthcare system is pretty much the way it was conceived in the socialist era.

"Some illnesses like cancer may be better treated in other countries but there are high costs associated with doing that. You have to move, to have someone who can look after you and you have to pay for travel.

"What we do know is some Romanians are coming back to Romania to be treated as it is much cheaper. Romanian people in Italy are not being treated in Italy but coming back to Romania because they have to pay less. I don't know why they are saying these things about Romanians."

A carpenter running his own business just outside of London also echoed her testimony.

After coming to the UK from Romania four years ago, Cornel was employed as a carpenter for three years before setting up his own business in 2012. He employs one other person and said he has only ever claimed child benefit - and that was a year and a half after already paying taxes here.

Cornel said he came to Britain for a better life, after finding it impossible to earn money in Romania. "If you work hard here you can get something," he said.

"In Romania because of the corruption it is impossible. People don't have the money to pay you. I was working for a company there for 12 years and I have nothing. If I want to buy a laptop in Romania I have to work four or five months. "

He said his wife volunteers in a school and added: "I pay taxes I think I give something back. I don't think it's true what I hear on the television about Romanians. Even us Romanian people in Britain are wondering how it is possible to give benefits to people who don't work."

Ion Jinga, the Romanian Ambassador to the United Kingdom told the Huffington Post UK: "As EU citizens, Romanians exercising their right to free movement to the UK do not ask for a special treatment.

"They just expect a fair, non-discriminatory status, similar applied to the other European citizens and to the British citizens who live in Romania.

"More than 70% of Romanians in the UK are of an age average between 18 and 35 years old. They are a young community that ask very little for health care or for social benefits.

ion jinga

The Romanian Ambassador Ion Jinga (middle) stressed the important role Romanian immigrants played in the community

"The Romanian community in the UK is characterised by a high proportion of specialists and includes more than 6,000 Romanian students, professors and researchers in British universities, 4000 doctors and nurses working in the British hospitals, while thousands of highly skilled Romanians have been employed in the performing arts, financial, IT or trade sectors.

"Many Romanians living in the in the United Kingdom work in shortage occupations, such as health and social care, others run their own business or work in construction."

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, said immigrants were "significantly less likely" to claim benefits than people born in the UK - and that those coming from EU countries put more into the economy than they took out.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that arrivals were mostly younger people whereas the bulk of spending went on healthcare and pensions for older people.

"All the evidence suggests that people who come here from within the European Union make a substantial net contribution to the public finances - they pay in far more than they take out," he said.

He also played down the impact of health tourism as a "minuscule" part of a wider funding issue.

"The problem with people coming from outside the UK in order to sponge off our health service - that may be a problem and we should certainly deal with abuse - but the figures tell us that they impose rather small costs on the health service and certainly, compared to the scale of the problem, it is minuscule," he said.

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