THE majority of Romanians arriving into the country on the first day after restrictions were lifted already live and work here, according to an MP who visited an airport to welcome new arrivals.
Controls imposed in 2007 which restricted the numbers coming from Romania and Bulgaria came to an end on New Year’s Eve prompting fears of a new influx of immigrants similar to that seen from Eastern Europe from 2004.
It has been claimed that workers from Romania and Bulgaria are being actively recruited by employment agencies from across Europe. Romanian representative Roxana Carare, an Honorary Consul in Britain, said the number of people travelling to the UK will not change but admitted there was demand for Romanian and Bulgarian labour.
She said: “I hear that people are being recruited, so they are coming in response to the demand for work. Romanians are being recruited by work agencies from everywhere in Europe, not just UK agencies.
“It’s down to the employer to decide who they are going to offer a job to, but if agencies are going to recruit workers from Romania then there is a reason for that.
“The reason is they are highly skilled.”
Romanians landing at Luton Airport were greeted by Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz, who said that those arriving provided just a “snapshot” of those expected to come to the country over the coming months.
The 180-seat aircraft from Tirgu Mures only had 140 passengers on board, he said, most of whom “already live and work in the UK”. Mr Vaz criticised the “panic measures” ahead of the temporary curbs imposed in on citizens of Romania and Bulgaria being lifted.
Ninety senior Conservatives attempted to block the move in a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, arguing he could invoke a clause in EU law to keep the borders shut. But Ministers denied such a move would be feasible.
Mr Vaz also repeated demands for the Government to commission estimates of the numbers expected to enter Britain in the face of unofficial research predicting as many as 50,000 people arriving from the eastern European countries each year.
The Labour MP for Leicester East added: “There are already 141,000 Romanians and Bulgarians living in the UK.
“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 were came into this country or were coming into this country.”