A large number of influential MPs have recently criticized the government of the United Kingdom for its callous approach towards the influx of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants into the country after the lifting of bans against their immigration into the United Kingdom on the first of January this year. They have alleged that the government chose not to obtain official estimates of the number of immigrants and instead just assumed a large influx of migrants occurred. The MPs cited this decision to not commission a survey to officially estimate the number of immigrants as a major failure on the government’s part. The government unwittingly favoured the individuals who wanted to use racial prejudice for either political or personal gain.
The report went on to say that the government provided no resistance to the anti – immigrant wave that gripped the United Kingdom after the ban was lifted. They believe that had an official estimate been commissioned, they would have found that the proposed numbers of immigrants were largely exaggerated and the actual flow was more like a tiny trickle than a bursting dam. This would have greatly reduced the number of protests and hate crimes committed against these minorities during the ensuing unrest.
This issue stemmed from the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union in 2007. This inclusion meant that citizens of Romania and Bulgaria were now, in effect, citizens of the European Union and hence allowed to travel across all the member states without a visa. It also allowed them to live in a member country, work there and enjoy all the social benefits offered by it. To prevent a sudden change in the job market due to a large influx of individuals from these nations, nine member countries including France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy and the United Kingdom introduced a ban preventing nationals from these two countries to work in these nine member countries for seven years.
Many people in the United Kingdom protested the lifting of the ban, primarily because they feared that a sudden influx of immigrants may cause them to lose their jobs. Here, if the government had made an effort to determine the actual number of people who entered the United Kingdom, they could have helped allay the fears of the people. Many people proposed extending the ban on these nationals, which had an unfounded basis.
Romanian and Bulgarian nationals naturally feel that they are being discriminated against. They see that a large number of people from the nine member countries are already working in Romania or own a business there. They also state that many workers from these countries have been forced to enter the black market labour force in these nine member countries due to discrimination. This is ultimately a loss for the country as these individuals don’t pay any taxes. Again, the folly of the government is obvious. The report also said that had this estimate been obtained, the extremely tolerant nature of British citizens would have offered an easy integration of the foreign workers into British society.