The UK work permit restrictions that were in place for Romanians and Bulgarians have been lifted.
On the final day of 2013, transitional controls were removed, giving Romanians and Bulgarians the same access to the UK labour market as established members of the European Economic Area (EEA).
The change in law means that Romanians and Bulgarians will no longer need to apply and risk rejection for work permits if they want to take paid employment in the UK. From now on, they will be able to stay in the UK for as long as they wish if they are “exercising treaty rights as a worker, student, self employed or self sufficient person”.
If they do not fall under the above categories, they will need to request permission to stay in the country if they want to remain for more than three months. Individuals from within the EEA looking to stay beyond the three-month period without working are usually required to be able to support themselves and their families and have comprehensive medical insurance.
The removal of the working restrictions prompted concern among right wing press in Britain, who suggested that the government risked running a repeat of the high levels of Polish immigration seen under the last Labour government.
However, reports suggest that an influx to one destination is highly unlikely. Laszlo Ander, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, has said that there are around two million unfilled job vacancies in the EU, making cross-border migration a useful thing for the continent as a whole.
He added: “It is unlikely that there will be any major increase following the ending of the final restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers.
“The free movement of people has been one of the cornerstones of EU integration. This right is one of the most cherished by Europeans, with over 14 million of them studying, working or retiring in another EU state.”