MP's call for calm over mass immigration as Bulgarians and Romanians arrive in the UK

Bulgarian and Romanian citizens will now be free to live and work in Britain

The first Bulgarians and Romanians benefiting from unrestricted access to the UK labour market have begun to arrive as politicians move to appease fears that Britain could be flooded with migrants.

Romanians landing at Luton Airport were greeted by Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs select committee, who said the number of arrivals provided just a "snapshot" of those expected to come to the UK in the coming months.

Mr Vaz highlighted that there is no evidence to support claims that eastern European migrants have "rushed out and bought tickets" to the UK as suggested by several media reports earlier this week.

He said: "Just on the conversations we've had with people who have come here, a lot of them are returning people, they already work in Britain and they're coming back after a holiday so they're not people coming here for the first time."

Mr Vaz criticised the Government's refusal to publish or commission estimates of the number of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants expected to enter the UK as restrictions are lifted. He suggested that the lack of information has fuelled "unnecessary" concerns.

Unofficial figures estimate that as many as 50,000 migrants could come to the UK each year. But this has not been officially confirmed. 

The Labour MP for Leicester East added: "The concern of the committee has always been the lack of robust estimates of people coming here and we still feel very strongly the Government ought to have asked the Migration Advisory Committee to have conducted a piece of research which would have told us the number of people who came into this country or were coming into this country.

"We think that would have been extremely helpful. The fact that we don't have those estimates means that we have this kind of drama at the end, which is not helpful to anybody."

His comments come after 90 senior Tories urged Prime Minister David Cameron to keep the borders shut and extend controls on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants.

Philippa Roe, Conservative leader of Westminster City Council, suggested that most eastern Europeans would abuse "our welfare system", "pickpocket", "aggressively beg" and “defecate” on people’s front doorsteps – but failed to provide evidence to back her claims.

A cross-party group of MPs has called for calm and criticised the inflammatory language used by politicians that is stoking up tension against migrants.

Andrew George, a Lib Dem MP who is chairman of the group, told the Guardian: "They already exist in an environment of deep prejudice and community tension anyway.

"This is just setting them back after making some progress in some of the areas in which they have improved their relations. There is collateral damage going on for the wider traveller community."

The European Commission said that it is unlikely that Britain would see a mass influx of eastern Europeans since Bulgarian and Romanian citizens have already been allowed to work without restrictions in 19 EU countries.

Laszlo Ander, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, said: “It is unlikely that there will be any major increase following the ending of the final restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers."

He added that the free movement of people has been one of the "cornerstones of EU integration" that is "most cherished" by Europeans, who are allowed to study, work and study across the union.

The Romanian government has also moved to dispel fears insisting that the UK is "not the preferred destination" for their citizens. Romanian representative Roxana Carare, an Honorary Consul in Britain, added that the number of people entering the country will not change.

Speaking on the BBC, she said: "Britain is not top of the list because this is an Anglo-Saxon country and Romania is a Latin country. People are more likely to go to Italy, Spain and other Latin countries."

Damian Draghici, adviser to the Romanian PM, suggested that the British government should worry about the bankers who are "stealing billions" instead of the Roma begging on the streets for one euro.

The UK imposed the seven-year restrictions on Romania and Bulgaria after they joined the EU in 2007 – only allowing citizens a visa if they were self-employed, had a job offer, or were given a specialist role.

 

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam