The number of Romanian and Bulgarians who passed through the UK immigration system and now live in Britain has increased by almost 80 per cent from 230,000 to 413,000 within the past 12 months, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The significant increase in numbers is thought to be partly due to the outcome of the EU referendum in 2016, while the government suggests the removal of restrictions to their rights to work in Britain in 2014 will also have had an impact on the number passing through UK immigration.
According to the data, 80 per cent of Romanians and Bulgarians living in the UK and of working age are in jobs, while only 11,500 are unemployed. The rest currently study, class themselves as homemakers or have retired early.
The figures have been highlighted as part of the past six ONS reports on migration between Britain and the EU, focusing on those people most likely to feel the impact of Brexit.
Many of these people are currently awaiting the government’s UK immigration white paper, due to be published later in 2017, which is set to lay out details of a temporary residence permit system for new EU migrants following Brexit.
Commenting on the figures, Rich Pereira, deputy director for population statistics at the ONS, has suggested that the statistics highlight an unbalanced view of migration between the UK, Romania and Bulgaria, with Britain “evidently proving an attractive labour market for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens since those countries’ full accession to the EU.”
“This presents an obvious area of concern for both those large numbers of citizens who have moved to the UK,” he added, “and for the jobs they have been doing, as the UK continues its negotiations to leave the EU.”