Coffee House

Home Office won’t produce estimate of number of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants

14 January 2013

12:43 PM

14 January 2013

12:43 PM

Eric Pickles says he’s waiting for figures on how many Romanians and Bulgarians are expected to come to the UK when transitional controls on their freedom of movement expire on 31 December 2013. The problem is that the Home Office isn’t producing those figures, arguing that such an estimate would be impossible. I’ve spoken to a Home Office source, who told me:

‘There are no Home Office figures in terms of a projection of the numbers because there’s not really very much point in guess work about this because it really is just guess work. Instead, our view is that we should be focusing on the factors that are bringing Europeans here to Britain and cutting out abuses of freedom of movement such as sham marriages, and looking at access to benefits and public services.’

If you look carefully at the transcript of the interview that Pickles did with Andrew Neil yesterday, the Communities Secretary does initially say that the preparatory work is being done by boroughs, rather than by the Home Office.

[Alt-Text]


As David Cameron said this morning, it’s important that any figures that are released are correct. The government is mindful of the predicament that Labour found itself in, having failed to predict quite how many people would come to Britain from an earlier wave of Eastern European countries. Ed Miliband and John Denham found themselves apologising for this last summer, with Denham saying ‘it became clear that the estimates that we’d relied on of the number of people coming into the country were vastly wrong… you can see the impact: there is an impact on wages and an impact on public services that people were concerned about’.

The lesson that ministers have taken from Labour’s experience is that not only do voters grow very grumpy when a government gets the figures wrong, they also become rather unhappy when a government isn’t prepared for a change in freedom of movement. Avoiding estimates will certainly remove the former as a risk, but the problem is that it could give the impression ministers won’t be ready for the impact on public services that Denham mentioned in his apology. The Home Office is still working on those measures to cope with the change at the end of 2013: expect to hear much more about these than you do about estimates.

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Show comments
  • Dacus

    As someone who has lived in London for 20 years, I know that non-EU immigration is the real problem but media and politicians avoid the subject, for fear of being taxed racists. Romanians are the perfect scapegoats for the immigration debacle, they are white, poor and have no significant communities in the UK. Nobody can be accused of hate mongering when blaming Romanians for all Britains’s problems.
    While 110000 NI numbers were given to Romanians between 2007-2012, more than 3 millions of NI number were given to non-EU immigrants.
    Romanian did not create Britain’s immigration problem but for PC reasons (namely racism) they are blamed for it. The hate campaign against them is just incredible.

    • Dacus

      errata: British government should be read British Establishment. Mea culpa

  • Daniel Maris

    “The lesson that ministers have taken from Labour’s experience is that
    not only do voters grow very grumpy when a government gets the figures
    wrong, they also become rather unhappy when a government isn’t prepared
    for a change in freedom of movement.”

    That’s not the way it is at all. Non-immigrants in the UK long ago grew completely disillusioned with the way mass immigration is encouraged by the politicians and licensed by the (mental) judges. People don’t really give a t*ss about the estimates and whether they are wrong or not. All it does, when the government get it spectacularly wrong, is deepen by one notch the sense of disillusionment.

    What you have to be concerned about is not whether politicians receive a slap on the wrist from the voters but whether at some point this disillusionment and resentment is going to suddenly rebound to the surface in an unpleasant form under pressure of events. It’s certainly happened in other countries at other times. We aren’t immune but our government seem to think we are.

  • Dacus

    The comparison with the number of Poles that came in 2004 is misleading. The Poles came in such a big number because the other European countries put the same restrictions on working that Romanians and Bulgarians are currently subject in UK and many other countries in Europe. Not being able to work in France and Germany, they all came in UK.

    With Romanians and Bulgarians the situations is different. In 2014, all working restrictions will be lifted so they would be able to work in Germany and France, italy and Spain countries with a much better economy than UK or where are established Romanian/Bulgarian communities. The number of Ro/BG immigrants to UK will actually DECREASE as these people will be able to go those countries or elsewhere in EU. Many Romanians working in Uk would be tempted to move back on the continent.

    I would ask the MPs who are blaming Romanians and Bulgarians for every single UK problem (housing, jobs, benefits etc) why they don’t mention the 300 000+ non EU-immigrants that are settling down in UK every single year (according to UK ONS data). They don’t create any housing, job and benefit problems?????? I am eager to find out their replies?

    The data is here:

    • coffeehousewall.co.uk

      Very odd that we have two posts supporting unlimited immigration within a couple of moments of each other. Surely these could not be part of a co-ordinated campaign?

      • Dacus

        My post doesn’t support the unlimited immigration but to stop MPs and media misleading ordinary Britons on the “Romanian invasion” of UK. The ONS data are publicly available.
        The Romanian invasion did not happen in 2007 when the entry visa was lifted and won’t happen in 2014 either. Remember The Sun waiting on the Heathrow airport for the Romanian invasion.. There were only 2 Romanians coming to UK that day.

        • Colonel Mustard

          One of the problems is the absence of proper statistics and that means the absence of proper accounting and control. ONS estimates 94,000 +/- 13,000 and DWP have issued 111,000 NiNos. That is more than 2.

          • Dacus

            Yes, and more than 3 millions of NINO given to non-EU immigrants during the same period.

    • Tony (Somerset)

      The Ro/Bu population will only decrease if we don’t pay the benefits !

      • Dacus

        Please do not pay them. Keep benefits for your uneducated unemployable Brits, to allow them to watch Jerry Springer in peace.

        • Framer

          So what is your interest not being a UK national?
          So Ro/Bo nationals are going to go home from next year? Come on, that is as likely as the imaginary departure of Poles – the net figures are inward.

          • Dacus

            I am an UK citizen, a Romanian who came in Britain 20 years ago and got naturalised in 2000. I am a higher tax payer and a voter. As someone who has lived in London for 20 years, I know that non-EU immigration is the real problem but media and politicians avoid the subject, for fear of being taxed racists. Romanians are the perfect scapegoats for the immigration debacle, they are white, poor and have no significant communities in the UK. Nobody can be accused of hate mongering when blaming Romanians for all Britains’s problems.

  • Andrew Saint

    This “free movement of peoples within Europe” mantra is a load of bollocks because 99pc of the movement is one-way – i.e. from Poland, Slovakia, Romania, etc. TO Great Britain. Eventually, Britons MIGHT start moving to these and similar countries but it will take at least 50 years. Effectively, this means that current indigenous UK citizens are being used as guinea pigs (and paying for it through higher taxes and lower wages) to project a huge demographic change by the Brussels Eurocracy.

  • Cheese Blunder

    I’ll make a few points regarding Romania and Bulgaria (A2) versus the A8 immigration numbers post 2004.

    Firstly in 2004 the UK was one of only 3 countries to allow uncontrolled immigration so it was more of a static model – people came where it was easiest. Now, of course there are no restrictions anywhere for the A8 countries as these ended by law in 2011. These means the migrant flows are more diffused plus there are also significant improvements to some of the A8 economies so there is less incentive to move.

    The static model will not apply for Romania and Bulgaria when these restrictions come to an end on 31 Dec 2013 as all countries will open there borders. Indeed several countries already allow free immigration for the A2 nations.

    Secondly, you will recall there are transitional controls on A2 migrants to the UK. These means only that there are some restrictions not total freedom to work. The self-employed for example are free to move and set up in the UK and UKBA figures measured this for a time. You can still pick up the data from the Office for National Statistics. What this means is there is no ‘floodgate’ to be opened. There have already been A2 migrants coming since 2007 which makes it significantly different from the A8 expansion in 2004. What might happen is a switching of status from self-employed to employed as this will be easier for moving within the Labour market but these people will not represent new migrants as they are already here. But yes, it does suggest some small pressure on the job market where this is measured as full time PAYE type employment.

    Next, for a variety of cultural reasons Spain and Italy are overwhelming the main destinations for Romanians and it is unlikely that settled migrants there will suddenly upsticks and head for the UK just because its labour market is now open. There is little reason to believe A2 nationals will target the UK when language and culture are so much more amenable in southern Europe – or indeed Germany. The economic problems in Spain do, however, detract now from the attractiveness of that nation.

    To turn to Eric Pickles remarks on east London, indeed there are some parts of the city where there are identifiable Romanian communities. Wembley is another. So it is reasonable to say these areas may be the more likely destination for those few Romanians that do chose to come to the UK.

    Personally I’d be hugely surprised if more than 20,000 new migrants arrive from the A2 nations next year. Nor will they all target London as significant Romanian communities are across the UK – just look at where the Romanians have honorary consuls in the UK for a clue.

    To conclude, Nigel Farage has stirred this up in his typical fashion and the Conservatives have made the right noises about being concerned both as pragmatic position following the problems of previous estimates and as part of their medium term EU renegotiation strategy.

    A2 migration will be a damp squib.

    • Framer

      I detect you are in the business, Blunder. On whose staff in Oxford?
      Labour promised 15,000 migrants from the A8 countries and we got 1,500,000.
      Is that 20,000 more form the A2 countries than would otherwise have come or 20,000 more overall?
      Do you accept that the government figures are nonsense so you can never be proved right or wrong?

      • Cheese Blunder

        In fact Labour promised no such thing. In Hansard where the number is referenced for the first time you see that it is an independent study not a government study and not a figure that was officially endorsed.

        I do think Labour got it very wrong by not introducing transitional controls but the circumstances of 2004 and the circumstances of 2014 are very different, including for the reasons I pointed to above.

        My estimate is a total of 20,000 new migrants from the A2 countries in the next calendar year.

        • Rhoda Klapp

          You didn’t actually say whether you were in the business. Care to declare anything? You are not of course required to.

          • Cheese Blunder

            I was involved with the issue some years ago (2006-2008) and I retain an interest in it from that time. That involvement arose from my commercial interests in CEE, a region I have significant practical knowledge of. I represent only myself in making these comments.

  • Swiss Bob

    I can’t see the house of cards that is the welfare state lasting very long under the increased burden once another couple of million arrive.

    Is this Cameron’s poison pill for Labour, complete economic collapse?

  • Framer

    The government are exceptionally nervous of this issue because it could also
    seriously upset the credibility of their ‘reducing’ immigration target.

    Since that country’s EU accession in 2007 up to March 2012, 111,790 Romanian adults have been granted national insurance numbers (NINos) in the UK. However the government’s figure for net immigration into the UK since 2007 from Romania was 23,000 adults and children, based on its utterly unreliable International Passenger Survey.

    The figure of 23,000 goes into the immigration statistics, not the four times higher one of nearly 112,000 insured adults. [Lord Hansard written answer 2 Oct. 2012]

    Without a national insurance number, needed even for the ‘self-employed’, child and housing benefit cannot be paid. There have been next to no returns of Romanians, as is permitted by the EU, if unable to maintain themselves economically (unlike in the Republic of Ireland). Return (not that it is used) has become more difficult since under-earning, self-employed Romanians became eligible for housing benefit after a recent court ruling.

    There will soon be a tipping point where the UK is as attractively Romanian
    as Romania.

    • Dacus

      From 2007 to 2012, 111 000 NINO have been granted to Romanians, about 20 000 per year. In a single year (2011) 690,000 NINO have been granted to non-EU citizens, that makes more than 3 millions of non-EU immigrants between 2007-2012.
      The real problem is not created by A2 countries but the non-EU immigration, a tabu subject for the British politicians and media.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Lots more gypsies, as I said elsewhere. Lots and lots more foreign criminals. Lots and lots more spongers on the state.

  • Bert3000

    Has anyone told you that Stalinist central planning doesn’t work? We don’t need an estimate and we don’t need some official to plan where people are going to live. We have a market economy.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The government spent £694.89 billion on paying benefits in 2011-12 and the debt interest rose by nearly 9%. That is not the “market economy” and except in the la-la land of left wing idiots who believe in the Money Tree is just not sustainable – even before 500,000+ more foreigners arrive here to claim benefits, housing and health services.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      No we do not. We have Zombie Banks propped up with taxpayer subsidy and a controlled economy run for oligopolies in energy, food-retailing, and water supply. This is a Controlled Economy with no market orientation as this is impossible in a system where State Sector and State Employees suck the system dry

    • Tony (Somerset)

      Yes, we have a market economy, we also have a benefits economy for those who can’t or won’t work.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    I have obtained access via a secret source to the official estimate of how many. The estimate is :”Too many to be politically acceptable and likely to make us look stupid”

    Personally I think that is an underestimate.

    • dalai guevara

      Has it not occured to you that -after following the interview with AN- Eric Pickles was completely unprepared? Not knowing recent unit completion figures, not knowing that they are in further decline, not having a plan of addressing the imminent issue arising come 2013 other than referring to Boles? Clearly, they will leave it ‘to the market’, like they always have…

      • Rhoda Klapp

        No, it has occurred to me that it was an ambush question, a gotcha to which no answer could have been right, prepared or not. And no estimate could be right either, it would be a guess. The only salient fact is that however many come, we can’t keep them out. And then there’s the Romany question. Romanians hate Roma. When you are there in Romania working with the ordinary Romanians (Yes, I’ve been there) there is no hesitation in telling you that they hate the Roma, there being no PC to suppress racist speech. That is why the Roma want to come here, and the Romanians want them to come. Or go anywhere. There is no evidence that Roma improve any place they inhabit.

        • Dacus

          As Roma normally don’t work, the work restrictions have been irrelevant for them and did not stop them moving westward.

          • Rhoda Klapp

            No, they are all self-employed selling the big Issue and entitled to benefits thereby. This is a major racket. The local seller, and this is way out in the sticks where even the Roma do not roam, is dropped and picked up every day by a BMW. She looks totally miserable, but I am sure her boss/gangmaster is OK. As time goes on the Roma being chased out of less-tolerant countries will come here. But this is not about the motivation of the immigrants, all honest folk no doubt, but about the fact that we can’t do anything about it.

        • dalai guevara

          I think you will find that historically, France has had much bigger dealings with the Roma – yes and so have we in a sense, with another set of ‘travellers’ of course, supposedly with ginger hair. Not that we could not respond to that should it become an issue?

          Scaremongering about EU immigration levels when non-EU, non-Schengen immigration levels are in fact the true issue appears to me yet another case of where we are barking up the wrong tree.

          It’s not Europe’s fault – we are and always will be in control of immigration levels that affect us most.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Please sign the petition. Send this government a clear message that enough is enough.

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41492

    • coffeehousewall.co.uk

      I’ve signed the petition

  • UlyssesReturns

    Estimates of the numbers coming here would be, as stated, pure guesswork and completely irrelevant. Recent history tells us that the numbers will be in the hundreds of thousands and that will put an even bigger strain on our transport, housing and welfare than the last wave of mass immigration. To make matters worse, these people will be coming from the least developed, most backward, regions of Europe and will add very little to the betterment of our over-mufti-culturalized society. To those who will say this is all about the free movement of people I will answer, I don’t allow a beggar or a thief into my home to live off my earnings and savings just because he allows me to live in his shithole but requires me to live by my own resources.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      Simply work on the basis of how many Somalis came here from The Netherlands and are economically inactive. they think there might be 108,000 Somalis here but who knows ? So simply assume 250,000 Bulgarians and Romanians every 9 months

      • foxoles

        Yes – an astonishing 90% of Somalians in London are unemployed.

        http://mentallyfine.com/unemployment-responsible-for-high-mental-illness/

        • Colonel Mustard

          Well, telemachus???

          • telemachus

            We are used to this racial stereotyping which flies in the face of the facts
            When combined with Islamophobia it is not very British
            I counsel you all to visit the cinema and see the Life of Pi
            (or read the book)

            • Colonel Mustard

              And yet you racially stereotype “little englanders”. Are you anglophobic? If someone expresses concern about immigration, about the EU or the lack of representation in parliament of England as a distinct nation you resort to pejoratives and stereotyping.

              Practice what you preach and RESPECT the fact that in a democracy people are allowed to disagree with you and the comrades.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

              I prefer to watch 9th Company

            • HFC

              What, will that fantasy story enlighten us about the fantasy world you inhabit?

        • EJ

          I walk past a Somalian cafe every day. It is crammed full of Somalian men at all times of the day, often spilling out on to the pavement. Further down the same road I walk past a mosque, from which at various times of the day hundreds of men in robes spill out onto the street and often block the road. This is the diversity that the liberal elite tell me I should be thankful for.

          • coffeehousewall.co.uk

            EJ, be thankful. They still allow you to walk past their cafe and their mosque. The time will come when you will not be able to because it is now their community and not yours.

            • EJ

              You’re bang on the money there Coffeehouse. It’s going to turn very nasty indeed before they do finally and inevitably overwhelm us. In my eyes the ONLY hope now is UKIP and the last chance window to turn this around is closing by the day. I don’t expect any help from the Tories.

    • telemachus

      Experience from Poland is positive
      These folk work hard and contribute both economically and by example

      • Colonel Mustard

        Not much experience of Romanian child exploitation begging gangs and AMT scammers then?

        • telemachus

          I am aware that little englanders will employ every perjoritive to deny us an integrated multicultural Europe

          • Colonel Mustard

            Where is the “perjoritive” (sic) in my comment telemachus? You think those cultural “benefits” don’t exist? You think that everyone must be coerced to accept an integrated multicultural Europe because telemachus and his imaginary “us” says so?

            You articulate a stupid generalisation stereotyping every Polish immigrant as a hard working contributor and role model and then have the audacity to call me a “little englander”? And then, unbelievably, having indulged in fatuous identity group politics twice you lecture about an “integrated, multicultural Europe”.

            Go away. You represent everything that is wrong with the UK and people of your political persuasion. All you believe in are slogans – shallow, meaningless, bogus slogans that have caused far more harm than good.

            • EJ

              Hear hear Colonel!

            • telemachus

              I study history and see our greatness started with Claudius
              Why even the Monarchy needed to be revitalised from Germany
              Why not learn again from Germany whose current prosperity is in no small part due to utilisation of the East European labour pool

              • Colonel Mustard

                Well you obviously don’t study it very carefully.

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

                Germany used an East European labour pool before 1945 because it did not want women in factories……..Germany today uses machines and has a much higher investment in machinery than the UK especially at SME level……..but Labour failed to provide a banking system to support SMEs like German Sparkasse do….instead it let banks go wild

            • BuBBleBus

              Col blimp lives on

          • boeingboy

            Get back to daytime tv.

      • boeingboy

        WTF has Poland got in common with Romania?

        • coffeehousewall.co.uk

          When is the Spectator going to do what it said it was doing and get rid of trolls like telemachus?

          • Tony (Somerset)

            telemachus is extremely irritating, but we still have free speech here. So troll away telemachus, and see if we care.

            • telemachus

              Tony
              There are uncomfortable truths which must be told

              • Colonel Mustard

                Only a fathead like you would practice the deception of calling them “truths” rather than opinions.

              • Hexhamgeezer

                Drivel

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

          both occupied by Soviet Union and left in shambles

        • BuBBleBus

          Eastern europe and excommunist.. Now hard working and entreprenteurial

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        Rubbish. You know nothing about Poland and you know nothing about Poles

    • dalai guevara

      Ulysses

      Intra-European migration has been with us for many decades now, we have all come to benefit and sometimes bite the bullet with regard to the costs of it. Surely you recall the influx of Polish plumbers not even a decade ago, welcomed due to the simple fact that our indigenous workforce did not offer sufficient qualified services. Now we find the situation has changed, surely that will affect the numbers of people coming here – no opportunity, no work, fewer numbers (compared to the previous scenario) will turn up as a result – the Polish did not come here to claim benefits, they came to work (and left again in huge number when it dried up).

      Now bearing all that in mind, did it occur to you that Britain has always been in control of its own immigration levels? We are most certainly NOT part of Schengen, for a reason. Do you remember that reason? Correct – Somalia, Pakistan, Nigeria, India et al are not in the EU. Schengen is not our game – we have always played our own game.

    • Noa

      Buy a posy from a gypsy and he will feed himself for a day.

      Buy a Big Issue from a Roma him and you will keep her and her family forever.

      • BuBBleBus

        The roma came yonks ago. Thats what they do. No regard for border controls. The next romanians will be workers.

  • EJ

    Haven’t we learned that government estimates when it comes to immigrants are woefully short of the mark? Whatever this shower spin us about the Bulgarians and Romanians you can bet it’s going to be way more than that, further transforming the entire make-up of the UK.

    This is going to be disastrous. Our cities are already collapsing under the weight of numbers coming in from the EU and the Third World. Just getting from A to B is an ordeal, let alone the drowning of our public services and the massive waves of crime.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      Yes but when cities burn it will be interesting…..Athens is showing the way with Golden Dawn

    • telemachus

      England needs foreign workers to ensure prosperity. For example, by 2020 there will be an estimated shortage of about one million professionals in the health sector alone in Europe as a whole. Migrants can help fill these and other jobs.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        Should we be stealing skills in healthcare from poor countries? Can’t we let people die of thirst using the skills we have now and let those immigrant doctors stay home and deal with sick people?

        Yes, I know the NHS relies on foreign docs and nurses. I regard that as shameful. Unless you know there is a shortage of UK applicants for medical degrees, because my understanding was that they ask for very high standards and turn down many, only to accept some fairly dodgy overseas degrees for immigrant doctors.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

          Most at UK medical schools are female and will work part-time so you will need twice as many to cover one FTE. Britain has very few Consultants because the Treasury will not pay for them so lots of Registrars emigrate because they cannot get Consultant posts

      • Tony (Somerset)

        So why aren’t we forcibly educating our unemployed under 25’s instead of allowing them to sit around on benefits?

        • telemachus

          One of the shining lights in this revanchist coalition is the IDS understanding that we must incentivise to work.
          He is going about it the wrong way but has the principle

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Utter coque

  • Colonel Mustard

    There is that immortal government phrase “looking at” again. What exactly does that mean? It doesn’t suggest that anything is actually going to be done.

    • EJ

      Exactly. And then when disaster strikes we’ll get a grudging throwaway “maybe we were wrong” (see Labour on their disastrous open-door poilcy now they know the tide is changing), and then “lines will be drawn” and “lessons will be learned”. And just for a bit of fun I’m counting how many times Call Me Dave says “let me be perfectly clear on this…”. Because HE NEVER IS!!!

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