The number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in Britain has gone down since border controls on them were fully lifted in January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The first official numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians in the UK workforce undermine predictions that hundreds of thousands would come to Britain once the doors were fully open to them. One ex-Ukip MEP even claimed 1.5 million would come looking for work.
The Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said the figures “give the lie to Ukip’s scaremongering on immigration”, while the chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, Keith Vaz, claimed that those who “predicted the end of the world on 1 January” – such as Nigel Farage – now owed the public an apology.
The labour force survey figures show that there were 122,000 Romanian and Bulgarian nationals working in Britain in March this year – a fall from 125,000 in December, just before the last of the seven-year transitional controls were lifted on the new EU members on 1 January.
This was 19,000 more than in March 2013, showing that the numbers increased by 20% before the controls were lifted. During that time, self-employed migrants and those working for multinational companies were able to come to work in Britain
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