Bulgarian and Romanian migrant figures fall after visa restrictions lifted

21 May 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The number of Romanian and Bulgarian people working in Britain has fallen since UK visa restrictions were lifted at the start of the year.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number fell during the first three months of this year when compared to the final quarter of 2013.

A total of 140,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were working in the UK in the period from January to March. However, the number was up by 28,000 compared to a year ago.

The figures come despite claims from the Migration Watch UK organisation and the UK Independence Party that lifting the UK visa restrictions would lead to a surge of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants coming into Britain.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, told The Independent: “The very modest numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians coming to work in Britain this year is in stark contrast to the inflammatory rhetoric of earlier this year.”

The Migration Watch UK group said the statistics for the first three months of the year should be taken in context of the wider rise in migration and claimed that quarterly figures “always fluctuate”. The group has predicted that the British population will rise by 50,000 a year over the next five years solely as a result of arrivals from the two Eastern European countries.

The most recent figures for net migration to the UK stand at around 210,000. More up to date statistics are set to be released later this month. The Government is aiming to reduce the net migration figure to tens, rather than hundreds, of thousands.