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Dr Ion Jinga Headshot

Time Now to Stop the Scaremongering Against Romanians?

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I have said in various occasions last year that there is no evidence that an important influx of Romanians (and Bulgarians) will come to the UK once restrictions lifted on 1 January 2014.

The estimation was in accordance with the figures recorded in the period 2011-2013 and based on the fact that seven years after the borders were opened, Romanians who wanted to emigrate already did so, and our community in the UK is significantly smaller than in other EU member states, such as Spain, Italy, France or Germany.

Romanians have now another interesting destination: their own country, because Romania's economy records one of the highest growth rate in Europe and the unemployment is relatively low.

Bigger wages in Western Europe could be an attraction, but the decision to leave your home for a foreign country needs a much more complex analysis.

Alarmist "experts" predicted that 385,000 people will migrate from Romania and Bulgaria to the UK over the next five years. Migration Watch advanced 50,000 persons a year. Ukip spoke about 29million people, the entire population of the two countries combined, to flood the British shores.

The official figures released today by ONS prove I was right.

They show that there were 140,000 Romanians and Bulgarians employed in the UK in the first three months after restrictions on the labour market were lifted. This was down by 4,000 on the final quarter of 2013.

These figures do not show how many Romanians and Bulgarians arrived to work in Britain between January and March this year, but how many were in employment during that period.

After the liberalization of the labour market at the beginning of 2014, many Romanians who were already here but did not receive the NINO because of the previous restrictions, have asked for an official registration of their presence and therefore I expected a certain increase in their number to be visible in statistics. But on the contrary: they are fewer now than at the end of 2013.

It is too early to say how many will come by the end of the year. They are EU citizens and enjoy the same rights and obligations as, for instance, the British citizens who travel or seek work in another EU member state, Romania included.

But I believe it time now to stop the scaremongering and unfair campaign against Romanians (and Bulgarians, Poles and East Europeans in general) and to concentrate on what we can do together for our common future. The Romanians' flood to the UK is over even before it started.