Migration from Romania and Bulgaria to the U.K. following the removal of border controls in 2014 may hit 50,000 a year, a pressure group that pushes for controls on cross-border movement of people said.
Migrationwatch based its estimates on similarities between the two countries now and Poland in 2004, when the British government underestimated how many people would come to the U.K. following the accession of the first eight eastern European countries to the European Union. Bulgaria and Romania followed in 2007. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said this week he wasn’t publishing an estimate yet because he had no confidence in the numbers his officials were giving him.
“It is not good enough to duck making an estimate of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria,” Andrew Green, chairman of Guildford, southern England-based Migrationwatch, said in a statement. “It is likely to be on a scale that will have significant consequences for housing and public services. It will also add further to the competition which young British workers already face.”
The pressure group said the government should make it harder for migrants to access welfare, to discourage them from coming.