Britain does not fear an "influx" of immigrants claims UK Ambassador to Bulgaria

Despite polling and concerns raised by Members of Parliament, British Ambassador to Bulgaria Jonathan Allen has said the UK does not fear an influx

by The Commentator on 5 April 2013 12:44

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Britain's doors are to open to a potential new wave of immigration after both Bulgaria and Romania are approved access to EU labour markets at the beginning of 2014.

The deal, as part of their drawn-out EU ascensions, will allow Bulgarians and Romanians to move to Britain and other EU countries in the same way that other Eastern European nations like Poland have enjoyed for years.

But despite growing concerns over another large wave of immigration, the British Ambassador to Bulgaria has told the country and its residents that the UK does not fear an influx.

Speaking on Bulgarian National Television, Allen assured Bulgarians and Romanians that they will be are treated no differently than any other EU citizens, and that, "young and well-educated Bulgarians are expected to arrive in the UK after the restrictions are eased at the end of 2013." Critics have blasted Allen as, "living on another planet" after his recent remarks.

Citing a report of the independent National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Allen noted that Bulgarians and Romanians are likely to head towards Spain, Italy and Germany instead of the UK.

The analysis comes after UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced moves to prevent immigrants – including new arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria – abusing free health care and the benefits system and jumping the housing queue. Cameron recently remarked, "What we can do is make sure that those who come here from the EU -- or further afield -- do so for the right reasons,” Cameron said. “That they come here because they want to contribute to our country, not because they are drawn by the attractiveness of our benefits system or by the opportunity to use our public services.”

But public polling in the UK shows serious concerns over the upcoming deadline, with 79 percent of Brits claiming that restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians should remain. A ComRes poll in January 2013 reflected that nearly 8 in 10 Brits think, "There should continue to be controls on the numbers of Bulgarians and Romanians that can settle in the UK after 2014." Just seven percent disagreed, claiming, "There should not be controls on the numbers of Bulgarians and Romanians that can settle in the UK after 2014".

Tim Aker, spokesperson for the Get Britain Out pressure group  said: "The ambassador is living on another planet. Our polling shows majorities across all regions and all parties want immigration controls on

Bulgaria and Romania to remain, especially after previous waves of EU immigration we simply cannot control. His message should be that only outside the EU can we properly manage our borders. To say anything otherwise is being disingenuous with the Great British public."

While critics have argued that UKIP, the eurosceptic party, is creating divisions over the impending deadline, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour voters are all broadly against the move, the ComRes poll shows.  Conservative MP Stewart Jackson recently presented Commons Bill calling for fresh limits on Romanian and Bulgarians coming to the UK. He said: “We don’t want to make the same mistake as we did in 2004 which was to import a very large number of low-wage, low-skill workers and embed welfare dependency in our indigenous workforce.”

UKIP leader Nigel Farage told a BBC Question Time audience, "It is completely irresponsible, wrong and stupid to be opening up our doors next January to 29 million people from Romania and Bulgaria."

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