Bulgarians and Romanians can now come to work in Britain—but they won’tby Jonathan Portes / January 23, 2014 / Leave a comment
Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, and their citizens immediately gained the right to travel and settle anywhere in the EU; however, most EU countries, including the UK, restricted access to their labour markets. In the UK, for example, Romanian and Bulgarian migrants had to apply for an “accession worker card” to be eligible for employment, and there were restrictions on the number of low-skilled migrants allowed to work in certain sectors. These provisions expired at the beginning of 2014. Bulgarian and Romanian nationals now have unrestricted access to EU labour markets, including the UK. They may work here just as other EU citizens can, and are entitled to welfare and NHS care.
EU countries set different limits, taking into account their own labour markets. The table below shows when EU countries admitted workers from Romania and Bulgaria and from the Central and Eastern European countries that joined in 2004: Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Migration from new member…