UK immigration: Fewer than 30 Romanian arrivals since border restrictions lifted, says country's ambassador to Britain

Diplomat also says ten UK companies had been in touch with his embassy, wanting to employ Romanians

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The Independent Online

Fewer than 30 Romanians have arrived in the UK since the lifting of border restrictions on New Year's Day, the country's ambassador to Britain estimates.

Ion Jinga offered the estimate in a comment piece in the Telgraph, insisting that the restictions' lifting was "the beginning of a win-win game" for both countries.

On 1 January this year, people from Romania and Bulgaria gained the same working rights as other European Union citizens in eight countries, including the UK, Germany, Austria and France. It was hyped in some sections of the press as the day floods of migrants would sweep the country, further encumbering the welfare state.

But Mr Jinga wrote that these floods never materialised, though exact numbers aren't available. In the UK, new arrivals aren't made to register with local authorities, but he inferred the numbers from those arriving in the Netherlands, where registration is required.

He wrote: "What we know is that on the flight into Luton airport on the 1 January, only two Romanians took advantage of the lifting of border restrictions in Britain.


"We also have figures from the Netherlands, where the registration is requested: in the first 10 days, 21 Romanians and 15 Bulgarians have registered. I do not see any reason why Holland would be less attractive than the UK, with the geographic proximity playing in favour of the Dutch."

He further cited UK Government figures showing that Romanians accounted for only 0.03 per cent of Britain's working age benefit claimants. He wrote: "Romanians are net contributors to the public purse, not a drain."

Mr Jinga also claimed that ten UK companies had been in touch with his embassy, for help in attracting Romanian employees.

"We advised them," he wrote, "to advertise their job offers to Job Centre Plus."


The claim comes in the week that the EU's social affairs chief said there was no evidence of any influx of Romanians and Bulgarians travelling to Britain since the lifting of restrictions.

Speaking in Brussels, Commissioner Laszlo Andor criticised the “over-emotional and misguided discussion in certain member states,” and said: “Once people see in the UK that after 1 January there is no influx of Romanians and Bulgarians, the evidence will help to  alleviate the existing concerns and people will pay more attention to the fact that the migrant workforce actually brings a lot of benefits."

And David Cameron’s trade advisor, Ken Clarke, told the Financial Times that migrants have contributed to making Britain more dynamic.

Rejecting claims that immigration had reached unmanageable levels, he told the newspaper: “I just don’t think it’s true that the EU is responsible for unacceptable waves of migration.”

But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told the Telegraph: "Immigration in the decade up to 2010 was allowed to be out of control. The Prime Minister has been very clear about that. It was too high."