The UK immigration controls on migrants from Romania and Bulgaria will not be extended past December 2013.
Home secretary Theresa May confirmed in an interview on the Andrew Marr Show that an extension of the curbs on work permits for Bulgarians and Romanians past the December date would be against European Union law and is not something she is pursuing.
The restrictions were imposed when the two countries joined the EU in a bid to control the inflow of workers. However, despite calls from the Labour Party to attempt to extend the ban, the controls will be lifted at the end of next year as planned.
Experts are predicting a large influx of migrants looking for work when things change, but Ms May has said that she will do what she can to limit any negative impact to the UK economy when the regulations are relaxed.
Unfortunately, there is no official Home Office data available at the moment estimating numbers but the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has told the Home Office that there is evidence that some Bulgarians will likely move to Britain to find work when the rules change, adding that the situation is likely to be similar for Romanians.
The home secretary explained that she is looking at alternatives for controlling or at least monitoring the number of people coming from the EU to work in the UK. “I am looking at free movement generally across the EU,” she told Mr Marr.
“There is a growing group of countries in the EU who are very concerned about the abuse of free movement. That is looking particularly at issues like sham marriages, forged documents and so forth, and we are working together to reduce the abuse of free movement.”