Just a trickle of Romanians and Bulgarians could come to Britain when restrictions on them living and working in this country are lifted at the end of the year, previously unpublicised Whitehall research suggested tonight.
The statistics cast doubt on claims by the UK Independence Party and some Tory MPs that a large influx of people from those two nations could head to this country within ten months.
According to the study, commissioned by the last Labour Government, the impact of the move could be to attract 8,100 Romanians and 4,600 Bulgarians to the UK.
Ukip has claimed that between 350,000 and 400,000 Romanians and Bulgarians could come to Britain, while a Tory MP has put the number at 270,000.
David Cameron and Cabinet Ministers have refused to be drawn on any projections on the possible extent of migration from the European Union's two newest member states when restrictions on their movement of travel are scrapped in January. They have confirmed estimates have been drawn up with Whitehall, but would not publish disclose the conclusions.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, yesterday revealed the existence of the estimates, which were published on his department's website 18 months ago - a year before controversy erupted over the possible impact of Romanian and Bulgarian immigration.
Brandon Lewis, the Local Government minister, said: "This analysis was produced by the last administration and should be treated with extreme caution given how unreliable their statistics have been historically."