Romanian influx We're already here says envoy (AND we built the Olympic village)Ambassador says most of the Romanians who want to be here already areHe says his countrymen were the ones who built the Olympic villageDr Jinga said fears that many Romanians would come was a ‘false problem’
, according to the country’s ambassador.
In a provocative intervention yesterday, Dr Ion Jinga said it was thanks to his countrymen that the Olympic Stadium was built.
Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007 but under ‘transitional controls’, low-skilled workers have continued to require permission to come to the UK.
On the way: Romanians at the British Embassy in Bucharest. Romanian ambassador Dr Ion Jinga says the Romanians who want to be in the UK are already here
A quota of about 20,000 was fixed for such jobs as agricultural work. But a loophole meant, if a person declared themselves self-employed, they could by-pass controls.
In a TV interview yesterday, Dr Jinga suggested this had happened in a large number of cases. He said: ‘Those Romanians who have wanted to come to Britain, they have already done it.
‘There are some restrictions for some areas of activities but no visa requirements, so those who have wanted to come, they have done it.
‘It is always a possibility to find a job, even if it is under restrictions, and that solution is to declare yourself self-employed, and many Romanians have done so.’
He added ‘in the construction sector, there are many Romanians here and that is why your Olympic village was built up last year’.
Figures from the Olympic Delivery Authority appear to back up the statement.
At the end of December 2011, the combined workforce of the Olympic Park and Olympic Village was 8,465, of which only 60 per cent were British.
The largest non-British nationality was Romanian, at 8 per cent.
Influx: A scene outside the British Embassy in Bucharest. Romanians will have access to UK jobs come January 1
Diplomats in Romania and Bulgaria are angry at the suggestion that, when transitional controls expire at the end of this year, new restrictions could be put in place. They claim this will be a breach of EU free movement laws.
Officials also deny large numbers of migrants will come here. Dr Jinga said fears that many Romanians would come was a ‘false problem’.
‘I do not expect the UK to be overwhelmed by a wave of our nationals coming.
'When we look at the experience of
other countries over the last seven years, this has not happened and
there is no reason to believe that this would happen in the UK in the
January of next year.'
– Bulgarian foreign minister Nikolay Mladenov
He added: ‘Romanians’ immigration pattern is not towards the UK but towards Spain, Italy and France, for instance because of the language proximity, Romanian being a Latin language.
‘We have one million Romanians already living and working in Spain, one million in Italy, probably half a million in France.’
Bulgarian foreign minister Nikolay Mladenov said there was a danger that fears about thousands of immigrants descending on the UK could ‘dampen’ relations with Bulgaria.
He added: ‘I do not expect the UK to be overwhelmed by a wave of our nationals coming.
‘When we look at the experience of other countries over the last seven years, this has not happened and there is no reason to believe that this would happen in the UK in the January of next year.
‘I think people in the UK, given your history, must understand that immigration has always been beneficial to your economy, just as Britain’s membership of the European Union has been beneficial to not only jobs creation but prosperity.’