The number of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants to the UK has increased by 13,000 since labour restrictions were lifted in January, but analysts say the figures still prove that "scaremongering" Ukip overestimated its projections by nearly 20 times.
The number of Romanians and Bulgarians employed between April and June rose nearly 10% compared with the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics revealed on Wednesday. A total of 153,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were employed in the UK in the quarter, an increase of 9,000 when compared with the last three months of 2013.
The previous batch of data, from January to March 2014, appeared to suggest the predicted surge of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria to Britain had not transpired as the numbers actually dipped over the turn of the year by 4,000 workers.
People prepare to board a bus to London via Germany and France at the central bus station in Sofia
“Today's figures expose the scale of scaremongering by Nigel Farage and Ukip over Romanian and Bulgarian migration," Atul Hatwal, director of the Migration Matters Trust said.
"Farage predicted there would be 5,000 a week arriving for several years. Today’s government statistics show that in the first 6 months of the year, the total rise in the numbers of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals was just 7,000. By the end of June, according to Ukip’s forecast on Romanian and Bulgarian migration, the number should have been 130,000 – an over estimate of almost twenty times."
Hatwal said some of the increase could be due to the arrival of seasonal workers who come for "short periods, lasting a few weeks or months".
Hatwal added that the numbers were the equivalent of a 4% year-on-year increase. "Nigel Farage has been conclusively proved to be wrong and owes the country an apology for his reckless scaremongering last year," he said.
But Sir Andrew Green, chairman of of the anti-immigration group Migration Watch UK, stood by their estimates: "Once dependents are factored in, it is likely that the increase in population over the whole year 2014 will be between 30,000 and 70,000 as we predicted. Our central estimate of 50,000 remains a very likely outcome."
The Home Affairs Select Committee earlier this year criticised the government for failing to commission estimates of the numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians who would come to Britain at the turn of the year, saying the decision not to obtain official estimates played into the hands of those who ''wish to inflame tensions about immigration for political gain''.
In May, it was revealed that it is British employers who are fueled the rise in the number Romanian workers in the UK throughout last year, by advertising tens of thousands of jobs solely to eastern European candidates.
UK jobs offered to Romanians outnumbered applicants by about 55%, according to the country's biggest jobs website Tjobs.com.
The highest number of jobs in all of Europe are offered by Britain to Romanians. The UK offers double the number of the second biggest recruiter, Germany.
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