Earlier this week the Sofia News Agency reported that the Government is expected to ease entry requirements for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens before Christmas. What this actually means is that the visa requirement currently in force for Bulgarian and Romanian visitors will be dropped a month or so before there is a legal requirement to do so – when both countries join the EU on January 1, 2007.
The Government has stated that it will adopt a gradualist approach to opening the labour market to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals by applying “transitional controls” – according to last Monday’s Daily Mirror
So what has any of this got to do with Andrew Rosindell? Well he was reported by the Sofia News Agency as saying "Any indication that they are going to be more easy-going on this is not sending out a very good signal and people need to be concerned, Caution is what is needed rather than an easy-come, easy-go attitude."
Somehow I doubt that removal of the visa requirement for Romanians and Bulgarians a few weeks early is going to make much difference to anything. Romanian and Bulgarian citizens arriving in the UK will be subject to the same control as other non visa nationals.
Immigration rules have not changed radically over the last 15 years since I worked as an immigration officer: if, for example, an immigration officer is not satisfied that a person seeking entry as a visitor then he or she is liable to be refused entry. I have no idea what form the transitional controls will take but it looks as if there may be a return to the sort of controls applied to Greek nationals after Greece’s accession – Greek nationals were not free to take work in the UK for seven years after accession.
Rosindell was also in “rent-a-quote” mode in the Daily Express last month, a newspaper that usually contrives to find an immigration angle to any story.
The story in question concerned new low cost air routes from Romania and Bulgaria to cater of course “for waves of workers from Romania and Bulgaria” when they join the European Union. Rosindell feared that the increase in low-cost flights was a "worrying sign”. He said: "It is a sign that the low-cost airlines are ready to benefit by potentially encouraging people to fly to Britain.”
Okay I am being a bit disingenuous by stopping the quote there He went on to say that “The Government needs to think very carefully before they allow another avalanche of people turning up on our doorstep looking for work.".. Conversely, perhaps, Sofia and Bucharest should be quaking in its boots at the prospect of an avalanche of Britons seeking a cheap place for a drunken stag night…