'Romanians' has become a dirty word in Whitehall
The Home Office is privately examining the possible impact of restrictions being lifted on Romanians and Bulgarians who want to live and work in Britain.
The Government privately acknowledges that the issue is politically toxic for the Coalition, pointing to signs that the UK Independence Party is seeking to exploit the subject by linking immigration to the European Union. Only limited numbers of people from either country are likely to travel to Britain next year when restrictions on the freedom of movement of citizens of the two newest EU member states are scrapped, senior government sources believe.
But the subject is preoccupying Whitehall, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has commissioned private research on the likely demands on public services from newcomers.
Although the FCO has taken the lead on the issue, the Home Office has also been conducting internal talks on the potential effect of ending the restrictions next January. One of the issues on the agenda is whether Roma families could attempt to escape poverty and discrimination in Romania by heading to the UK.
Ministers are wary of releasing projections about the potential numbers of newcomers. One minister said: "I don't think you'll see us getting into the numbers game. It is really unknowable, but our sense is that the numbers coming here will be pretty low."
A separate Whitehall source said: "It's not possible and it would be unhelpful to say we anticipate x number of people to come to this part of the country at this time of the year. The consensus is that it would be incredibly imprecise."
Home Office officials believe Romanians are more likely to be drawn to Italy and Spain, where they have language links, and large settled communities are already in place. Nations such as Germany, Austria and Hungary could also prove attractive because of their proximity to Romania. Bulgarians are considered most likely to choose Greece or Spain to work.
The FCO commissioned the National Institute of Economic and Social Research to examine the possible effect of the lifting of "transitional controls" on Romania and Bulgaria. It has completed a draft report that is being considered by civil servants, who have been liaising with UK embassies in Bucharest and Sofia to examine any evidence of people preparing to seek work in Britain next year.
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Executive is required to...
£16000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued expansion, an ...
£65000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A long-established, tech...