Britain is extending limits on workers coming from Bulgaria and Romania until at least the end of next year. It comes after the government was forced to apologise for underestimating by 300,000 the number of foreign nationals who have come to Britain to work in the decade Labour’s been in power.
The admission shocked opposition politicians and even some of the Labour government’s own members. Immigration Minister Liam Byrne admits public services are under pressure but he wants people to focus on what the government’s doing about it. “The right balance points to continuing to restrict access to the labour market for those low-skilled migrants coming from Romania and Bulgaria,” he said.
Under the scheme, low-skilled workers from Bulgaria and Romania may work in Britain under a quota system in food processing industries and agriculture, but skilled migrants are only granted jobs if they cannot be filled by residents. Britain restricted migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania when they joined the European Union in January. Previously it operated an “open-door” policy to other eastern EU members.