Flood of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants 'unlikely', says report

Analysis also casts doubt on estimates from Ukip and Tories suggesting hundreds of thousands will be on their way to Britain

Claims that a flood of Romanians and Bulgarians will place massive strain on public services when restrictions are eased on their right to live in Britain are dismissed in a Foreign Office-commissioned report published today.

It also played down predictions that huge numbers will opt for a new life in Britain, suggesting they are more likely to head for Spain, Italy or Germany.

The analysis, by the independent National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), casts doubt on warnings by the UK Independence Party and some Conservative MPs that hundreds of thousands of people from the two nations could soon be on their way to Britain.

It also came after David Cameron announced moves to prevent immigrants – including new arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria – abusing free health care and the benefits system and jumping the housing queue.

However, NIESR concluded that migration from the two countries was “unlikely to have a significant impact”. It said: “Economic migrants, in particular, are generally young and healthy and as such do not make major demands on health services.”

It also quoted studies which found people from eastern European countries such as Poland were “less likely to claim benefits than other migrant groups”.

The report said newcomers’ families could potentially add to pressure on primary school places, although it pointed out that evidence suggested the presence of migrant children did not affect the performance of schools.

It added: “A widespread public perception persists that migrants pose a disproportionate burden in the social housing market in particular, yet evidence to date does not substantiate this claim.”

The study refused to forecast how many Romanians and Bulgarians would come to Britain when controls are scrapped in January, describing estimates as probably “inaccurate and misleading”.

But it added: “Available evidence suggests the UK is not a favoured destination for Bulgarians and Romanians who are considering migration as a future option.”

New arrivals were likely to settle in London and the South East, unlike the last wave of eastern and central Europeans migrants who travelled to all parts of Britain after their home countries joined the European Union.

It acknowledged its prediction was uncertain because of the economic problems in southern European nations with large numbers of incomers from the two countries.

Last month the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles admitted the Government had “no idea” about the size of the possible influx and ministers have refused to make predictions.

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.

However, research commissioned by the last Labour Government suggested the number could be 8,100 Romanians and 4,600 Bulgarians.

According to a British Labour Force sample survey, there are currently 26,000 Bulgarians and 80,000 Romanians living in the UK. They are likely to be low-skilled workers - employed in construction, catering, hospitality, and as carers or cleaners, the report said.

The Minister for Europe, David Lidington, described the research as “a welcome contribution to the debate on migration”. He said it would “help to shape this Government’s work to build an immigration system which works in the national interest”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas