Coffee House

Reducing the ‘pull factor’ for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants

7 February 2013

7 February 2013

Whisper it but the government have a fighting chance of reaching their immigration target. The main risk now is an inflow from Romania and Bulgaria when our labour market is fully opened to them next January. That is why the issue of child benefit is important; if we continue to pay it to children left at home it could greatly encourage such migration.

Opposition to the government’s immigration policy is now starting to dissipate. Much of it has come from special interest groups who stand to gain from unlimited immigration. Unfortunately for them, their raucous campaigns are colliding with the facts. It is hard to argue that business is suffering when there is no limit to the transfer of senior international staff, and when only about half of the work permits available for skilled staff have been taken up. Certainly, there are problems with the bureaucracy. That is inevitable when two or three million decisions are taken every year, but those difficulties should ameliorate over time. As for damage to our reputation as a centre for world business, much of that has been generated by the business lobby itself – no one else has talked about Britain being no longer open for business (despite the arrival of one and a half million business visitors a year).

Their latest ploy is to claim that the government will look for further restrictions on business when they fail to meet their immigration target.  With a government completely focused on growth, that is simply absurd. In any case, economic migration is no longer where the numbers are.

Meanwhile a similar campaign conducted by the universities has been blown out of the water as we have recently learned that the latest figures for non EU applications to British universities actually rose by 9 per cent – yes 9 per cent.  Where there has been a drop in numbers it has been in the college sector and in applications from the Indian sub-continent where much of the extensive abuse has been taking place.

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So the issue comes back to Romania and Bulgaria which could yet blast a hole in the government’s immigration strategy. No calculation is possible – only an intelligent estimate of the likely numbers. Our estimate, so far the only one, is 50,000 per year for the next five years.

What can be done? Recent talk of removing EU citizens after three or six months because they are not exercising one of their treaty rights as workers or self sufficient persons is just that – talk. We have very limited capacity for such removals and, in any case, there is nothing to stop those removed from coming straight back.

It follows that there is no way in which the British government can constrain access by Romanian and Bulgarian migrants next year without acting in direct contravention of the European Treaty. Any such proposal would, of course, be vigorously opposed by the Liberal Democrats and by at least some Conservatives.

The only thing to be done is to seek to ensure that our benefit system is not a further ‘pull factor’ for EU migration to Britain. Here is where child benefit kicks in. On present arrangements, a Bulgarian or Romanian working in Britain could claim for two children and receive an amount that was equivalent to a week’s wages at the minimum wage in his home country. This is a huge incentive to head for Britain, or for the Netherlands or Germany, which are the only other major EU countries which pay child benefit to non-resident children.

The focus now, therefore, must be on tightening access to this and other parts of the benefit system. A massive Polish migration during an economic boom is one thing. A substantial Romanian and Bulgarian influx during an extended recession is quite another.

Sir Andrew Green is chairman of Migration Watch UK.


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  • David Alexander

    The UK simply cannot cope with any more and MP’s need to stop this

    Sign this petition to restrict Bulgarian and Romanians from entering the UK:

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

  • fitz fitzgerald

    Guido says : “” A council in London is spending thousands of pounds housing homeless families in three and four star hotels because it has nowhere else to put them, it has been reported.

    Westminster City Council is spending up to £12,000 a month for a family to be housed in a hotel.

    According to the BBC London investigation, many of the families have been made homeless because their housing benefits were capped last year. “”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2275256/Westminster-City-Council-puts-homeless-families-star-hotels-them.html#ixzz2KIyG69SO

  • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.stevens.790 Barbara Stevens

    The truth is most of the indigenous people of these islands don’t want these people here, we’ve no housing for our own let alone them. Where are the jobs they will do? There are none. We have people here who are homeless, and people who cannot find a decent place to live. We are all just fed up with it. Lets face facts, they are not wanted, and they are economic migrants. We should cease paying for ANY child benefits where ever they come from, except our own. They should claim it in their own country. Its madness. Benefits too should only be paid when they’ve worked here for at least five years and paid NI stamps. Certainly not allowed to access the NHS or a doctors register. We simply don’t have the money to give away any more. We have to face facts. We should also have MPs and a PM who says NO, to the European Union and mean it. Its still our country not theres. I will never accept them whatever they say or do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Theo-Radu/100000142356689 Theo Radu

      Hi Barbara, I’m from Romania and I pay around £25,000 per year in tax and NI in your country (plus a few more thousand in VAT). I’ve never been to a hospital here and I don’t receive any benefits. Do you think I should take my money elsewhere? Also, the number of jobs in a country is not a fixed number. If over a period of 5 years a country’s population grows by 1,000,000 the number of jobs will increase proportionally. Even if all those people will be on a minimum wage (worst case scenario), they still need to buy things. Companies will have to produce more and expand their production line, thus hiring new people. This is how the economy works!

    • Grrr8

      Ironically, for someone who urges “facing facts” there isn’t a single one in your post.

  • Robert Mason

    You still omit to mention immigration from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, etc. from whence twice as many immigrants came and still come. They also often go back home to find a village girl to marry and bring her back to have lots of children.

  • pimpmypost

    This is a vicious article. Bigoted, blind, and beastly.

    Why is there no mention of the enormous amounts of UK citizens overseas?

    Free movement of capital is fine (so that the financiers might beggar us more easily) but no free movement of labour.

    Auf weidersehen, pet.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Your starter for 10

      What do you call people who randomly throw accusations at others of being bigots?

      (as you clearly lack intellectual rigour here’s a hint ~ the answer is in the question)

      • pimpmypost

        No hints please – spell it out!

        I am very rigorous but in a special area when my girlfriend ‘teases’ it. I m not a bigot but a ‘big’un’! Whoops! “Put half of that away, Pimpy”, she says.

        That’s the ‘Pull Factor’ I love so much.

        • LEngland

          Q E D. Smithers’ point proven.

          • pimpmypost

            Hi Little Englander.

            IQ of a dung beetle.

            • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/CWRNLZZ3WSSUSQJSKLVOBZC5SU Ken

              Is that the best you can do? ‘Dung beetle’?

              • pimpmypost

                OK…bung deetle.

    • Rob

      Most of these “UK Citizens overseas” (of which I am one) are working under strict work and residence permit conditions in countries which do not provide such “guest workers” with any of the rights or benefits available to their own citizens.

      • pimpmypost

        “Most”? How do you know that? You made that up. You faked your point. And I caught you.

        If it’s so bad, then leave. “Guest workers” are not Bulgarian workers who have the right to work anywhere in the EU as you do. So come back to Europe Robbie! Stop whining.

        You may have the brains of a dungbeetle, Rob. I fear for you.

        • Rob

          “most” is no more imprecise than “enormous” and far from “whining” I was pointing out that other countries outside the EU have done a much better job of protecting their existing workforces…..
          Don’t waste your time “fearing” for me….I’m fine thanks

          • pimpmypost

            You’re not fine – you are moaning like a whingeing Pom.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/CWRNLZZ3WSSUSQJSKLVOBZC5SU Ken

          Outside the European Economic Area, UK citizens need visas or work permits to live and work in the countries where they are living. Fact. And they certainly don’t have access to public funds – New Zealanders in Australia used to be able to claim the dole there, now they have to wait two years like everyone else.

  • Daniel Maris

    Sir Andrew Green is our leading advocate for non-racist immigration control i.e. common sense, in this country. He deserves maximium respect for what he has done to expose the lies of government and promote sensible migration policy.

    However, I am not sure he has got it right here.

    For one thing, it would surely be very easy to circumvent these controls. Mum comes over for a few weeks, claims to be living in this country and then goes home “on holiday”. Meanwhile money goes into her account. She can access it abroad or get her husband to access it in the UK.

    For another, I am not sure Sir Andrew has yet addressed the issue of categories of immigrant. Do our migration figures include Russians and Chinese who buy properties here and then come here for multiple holidays every year for instance. Chelsea Davy, whom we are told is “Zimbabwean”, seems to spend a lot of time here. Is she ever included as a migrant? Or is she just “on holiday” – for maybe 100 days a year all told.

    In London, this is becoming a big issue. Even the Mayor is having to admit that nearly all the new housing is going to rich incomers and not benefitting Londoners – hence his idea of ring fencing London’s stamp duty proceeds to fund house building in London. But any such new build social housing would quickly pass into the private sector again and feed the relentless flow of incoming migrants.

    • LEngland

      What is ‘non – racial immigration control’ ? Is it intrisically a good thing for us all ? Anyone ?

  • 2trueblue

    Well hopefully now that Cameron has got his bill through, the government can put their minds and efforts to sorting these aspects of our benefits system to protect the country.

    We need our politicians to get on with the job of looking after things that matter on a daily basis and over which we will all be in agreement with.

    • telemachus

      All residents who have a right to be here must be treated equally
      We cannot be creating second class citizens

      • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.stevens.790 Barbara Stevens

        Firstly, they will not be citizens they are guests here. Stop giving them status they don’t deserve. They will be second class as they are not Brtitish and any British subject should come first. That’s been the problem throught he years not enough support for our own. Well that’s changing and attitudes. I certainly don’t want them here, we’ve enough rubbish here already, and plenty of our own, who don’t work and have the life of riley without adding to it. I’m sick of paying taxes for people like this.

        • telemachus

          The message of two world wars is that we are all now European citizens

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/CWRNLZZ3WSSUSQJSKLVOBZC5SU Ken

            No, that’s the decision of the European Union.

  • Wilhelm

    ”only an intelligent estimate of the likely numbers. Our estimate, so far
    the only one, is 50,000 per year for the next five years.”

    Usually with statistics, you add a couple of zeros to get the true figure.

    • telemachus

      Ok so that is 50,000 to promote growth compounded yearly for five years
      With the build for growth program to start in 2 years we are on our way to prosperity

  • Wilhelm

    The Left believes the worlds black, muslim, gypsy population is British and it’s their human right to live in Britain. They don’t believe in nations or frontiers. They’ve even got a highly irritating slogan ” One Race, The Human Race.” This goes back to Fabian socialist HG Wells and his idea of a happy clappy, one world government.

    Parts of the Right also believe in this globalism, they babble dementedly on about the economy, and nothing about the nations culture, to them, we’re just bipedal work units.

    • Daniel Maris

      I’d have thought you’d approve of HG Wells. He thought there were inferior races who had to be exterminated and believed in a global dictatorship led by a gifted individual.

      Now who does that remind you of?

      • Wilhelm

        Josef Stalin.

        • telemachus

          I see this only with pride and reflect on the reverence I saw last Thursday at the Hall of Heroes

        • Daniel Maris

          Close – I was thinking of his erstwhile ally.

          • huktra

            Who?

            • telemachus

              He who is the hero of the home counties retriever brigade

      • Fak_Zakaix

        Trotsky?

    • telemachus

      No no no Wilhelmina
      Not all
      But as I keep posting the Bulgarians help and expand our economy

      • Smithersjones2013

        Given you have taken my late mother’s name in vain can I enquire whether you seriously think trying to berate someone by using the feminine of their name is either mature or in itself is not a gross example of sexist bigotry?

        So do tell on what planet is sexist bigotry acceptable?

        • telemachus

          Truth is that was generated by my iPad and I did not notice
          Wilhelm is much more dangerous than to deserve a diminutive
          Our society is plagued by those who bully and abuse minorities

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Theo-Radu/100000142356689 Theo Radu

      You can still have your own culture even without frontiers. Look no further than Scotland. And yes, we should all be free to live and work anywhere in the world. That’s what we should aim for, all people are equal.

    • notamused

      I would much rather see someone taking away your “human right” of voicing your xenophobic tendencies and talking about frontiers with such Fascist pathos. This circus going on only paints the British as a bunch of whining bigots who are too busy with the possible, though quite improbable, wave of “gypsy” (as you,Sir, put it) immigrants, to solve their current issues. Won’t you leave the EU,close you borders, eject all “black, muslim, gypsy population” and find thus your lost paradise?

      • Fak_Zakaix

        The cherry orchard. Yes, our beloved cherry orchard.

        • notamused

          You’re right. and they cast Romanians and the other immingrant “populations” in the role of emancipated serfs… What a farce! Just saying “population” is so telling: these people don’t belong to a nation, they don’t have their own culture, tradition, they’re migrants that want our money. Believe or not, there are no Romanians on their way to cut down your cherry trees.

    • Fak_Zakaix

      You are intelligent Vilhjálmr. Be careful.

  • Framer

    It is correct to say properly removing EU citizens because they are not self sufficient is just talk. In 2011 the number of Romanians (criminals and such not self sufficient people) who were removed from the UK was 283 while 22 voluntarily left.
    EC Regulation 883/2004 requires that the child benefit claimant with children back home has to be paying UK national insurance contributions i.e. the parent needs to be self-employed or employed, so if they get a job here they can’t have that EU right removed. End of story there.

    The only avenue left to discourage further mass migration from these countries is to reverse the social security tribunal ruling that said a low paid self-employed Romanian was entitled to housing benefit. After which the world changed. Chris Grayling said he would amend the law but nothing happened.
    The government says 23,000 such nationals have arrived since 2007 – the statistic it uses for its net migration target figure – yet over 100,000 (adults) applied for national insurance numbers.

    The other 75,000 mustn’t have been counted in the absurd airport survey government and its Migration ‘Advisory’ Committee relies on.

    • telemachus

      who do you think is working hard to give us such little prosperity that we now have
      The benefit claimants that constitute 90% of residents of some Kirkby estates are home grown

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/CWRNLZZ3WSSUSQJSKLVOBZC5SU Ken

        Of course they are, even Somalis and Albanians have standards!

  • Bert3000

    We should send the odious ‘Sir’ Andrew Green somewhere very far away.

    • Martin Adamson

      10 Downing Street would do it

      • http://www.facebook.com/barbara.stevens.790 Barbara Stevens

        Well said.

    • Grrr8

      Yeah, a bit shocked that he gets a platform here. Then again we also have Rod Liddle, Douglas Murray …. Sir Andrew fails to mention that even if the govt changes the child benefit rules as stated above, that would also apply to British nationals. I wonder how many British nationals have children partly or wholly resident abroad. Also how on earth does one implement this, do we count entry/ exits for children at Heathrow?

    • starfish

      Yes

      After all he has been so consistently wrong hasn’t he?

      As to the snide remark ‘sir’

      “Sir Andrew Green was a professional diplomat for 35 years. He studied Natural Sciences and Economics at Cambridge before taking a three year Short Service Commission in the Royal Green Jackets. On joining the Diplomatic Service in 1965, he studied Arabic in the Lebanon. Thereafter, he spent half his career in the Middle East where he served in six posts. The remainder of his service was divided between London, Paris and Washington. He was Ambassador in Syria (1991-94) and then Director for the Middle East in the Foreign Office before serving for four and a half years as Ambassador in Saudi Arabia. He retired in June 2000.

      He has since devoted his time to voluntary work. He is a former Chairman of Medical Aid for Palestinians, a British charity seeking to improve health care for Palestinians both in Palestine and in refugee camps. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Concordis, a charity specialising in conflict resolution. And he is a board member of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights organisation which speaks for Christians and others around the world who are suffering persecution for their beliefs”

      Seems to have earned it

      The ad hominem ‘odious’ is the mark of a lefty who knows he has lost the argument

      • pimpmypost

        So this Sir Richly Fauntleroy is of the Establishment. I would insert a swift boot up where the sun don’t shine with him.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/CWRNLZZ3WSSUSQJSKLVOBZC5SU Ken

          Ooh, dear, somebody’s got a chip on his shoulder. What, are we supposed to give ambassadorships to people who are too thick to get jobs in a call centre? How many other languages do you speak? You struggle with English, so I doubt you’d be able to cope with any others. Typical multiculturalist, thinking his beliefs absolve him of the need to know anything about the world….

          • pimpmypost

            In my case I want an ambassadorchip. Especially as I am fluent in four languages. Five, if I include Latin.

      • Grrr8

        Sir Andrew is, at his core, a Malthusian. He thinks life is a war for finite resources. The logical conclusion from his position is to reduce population and conserve resources, pull up the drawbridge so to speak. If he didn’t have immigration to bleat about, he would be pushing abortions, eugenics and rationed births. His basic philosophical position is not supported by facts. Note I do not think he is a racist and his career bio supports this position.

    • Daniel Maris

      Your cogent argumentation speaks for itself.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Well why don’t you go an find some very far away places for him to go and take your time at it so you ensure you get the very best place. In fact take a lifetime!

    • pimpmypost

      Yes! where Rob is….

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