No UK work permit applications made by British employers looking to hire Bulgarian immigrants have been rejected since 2007.
This is according to comments made by Konstantin Dimitrov, the Bulgarian ambassador, who added that the “anti-Bulgarian propaganda” being peddled in certain areas needs to be stopped.
He stated: “Most of all those who wanted to work here [in the UK], especially since we became a member of the EU in 2007, have managed to do so.”
The comments are at odds with the official UK immigration rules which state that the vast majority of British employers must prove that a job on offer cannot be filled by a Brit before offering it to anyone with a UK work permit.
They also call into question the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants' freedom of movement. The restrictions are due to be lifted at the start of next year, but at the moment Bulgarians and Romanians do not have the freedom of established EU member countries when it comes to employment rights in Britain.
Labour MP David Hanson, shadow immigration minister, told the Telegraph that the questions need to be addressed. He said: “This raises serious questions about what, if anything, the Government is doing to prepare for the stopping of transitional controls with Romania and Bulgaria.”
However, Mr Dimitrov stated that currently between 8,000 and 10,000 Bulgarians are estimated to move to the UK for work each year and the fact that all of these work permit applications are accepted suggests that the number of unlikely to increase when restrictions are lifted.
The comments come as prime minister David Cameron has suggested that changes need to be made to the immigration laws with regards to labour and benefits rights of European people.