The government’s strict stance on immigration from Bulgaria and Romania has been welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) at its annual conference this week.
Home secretary John Reid yesterday unveiled measures to limit immigration from the two eastern European countries when they join the European Union on 1 January 2007.
These include £1,000 on-the-spot fines for working illegally in the UK, and £5,000 fines for the organisations employing them.
Doubts were immediately voiced about the need for the restrictions and the ability of the Home Office to impose them.
But CIPD chief economist John Philpott told delegates at Harrogate that the government was justified in its approach.
He said: “While the steady flow of workers from central and eastern Europe since 2004 has had an overall beneficial effect on the UK economy, there has been evident pressure on social infrastructure and possible adverse consequences for less skilled workers and disadvantaged communities.
“There is, therefore, a prima facie case for restricting access of less skilled Bulgarians and Romanians to the UK labour market when these countries join the EU.”
Reid said yesterday: “Employing illegal workers undercuts legitimate business and leads to exploitation. It will not be tolerated.”