UK

Few Bulgarians And Romanians Making Plans To Move To UK, BBC Survey Finds

22/04/2013 11:21 BST | Updated 24/04/2013 18:48 BST

Update: 18:46, 24 April 2013 - possible immigrant numbers from bulgaria and Romania based on percentages

Only a tiny percentage of Bulgarians and Romanians who say they intend to come to the UK to work have actually got on a plane or made any plans for a move, a new survey has found.

More than a quarter of Bulgarians questioned in a BBC survey said they intend to come to the UK to work, taking advantage of a relaxation in restrictions which come into effect next January.

bulgaria

A waiter serves two women in a hotel lobby in Sofia, Bulgaria

An initial poll carried out for BBC Newsnight by Vitosha found that one in four people in the country wanted to take advantage of a relaxation in the restrictions.

A month later, just 2.8% had attempted to find a job through a recruitment agency, only 4.7% had made any contact with the UK.

A similar picture has emerged in Romania, where a Gallup poll found that 1.5% were in contact with people in the UK about moving over and 0.3% were in touch with recruittment agencies while 0.7% were looking for work independently.

Newsnight said that only 1% of Romanians and 4.2% of Bulgarians were looking for work in the UK in 2013 and 2014. However, a number of other media organisations such as the Express have calculated that this will equate to 153,000 and 196,000 people respectively, based on publicly accessible population figures.

Romanian recruitment agencies have previously told HuffPost UK that Romanians are in high demand from UK employers. Tjobs, Romania's largest foreign jobs website, advertised 47,832 jobs in the UK last year.

More than 90% of those jobs were for skilled workers, from cooks to housekeepers, to taxi drivers to healthcare assistants, doctors and architects. Only the remaining 10% were for unskilled labourers.

The UK was the first-choice country to move to for just 9.3% of Bulgarians and 4.6% of Romanians, with many preferring France or Germany.

Peter Flade, director of Gallup UK, told BBC Newsnight: "I think if you're looking at who's making concrete plans, say who's spoken for instance to a recruitment consultancy or who has a firm job offer, I think yes the sample sizes there are a bit small to say specifically who are the numbers who are coming."

SEE ALSO: In Britain We Are Being Flooded By Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Romanian Rhetoric - Who Is it Helping? (BLOG)

It comes as MPs prepare to debate the possible impact of immigration from Bulgaria and Romania.

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard said: "EU migration has had a real impact on many communities throughout Britain. There are genuine concerns about the number of new Romanian and Bulgarian migrants likely to enter Britain when the transitional border controls are lifted later this year.

"EU migration has brought many benefits to Britain - but there are also dis-benefits.

"This is a debate that needs to be had - and meaningful policies put in place to protect social cohesion, public services, and to restore public trust in a workable, credible, and well-managed migration and immigration system.

"The coalition government has made good progress - but there is still more to do".