The UK government has given itself less than five weeks to decide what labour controls to put on Romanian and Bulgarian migrant workers after the countries were shown the green light to enter the European Union in 2007.
A European Commission report yesterday recommended that Bulgaria and Romania be allowed to join the EU on New Year’s Day.
Almost 450,000 people have come to the UK from the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004, prompting criticism of the government’s decision not to impose restrictions on migrant workers.
Now politicians from the 25 current member states will now decide what access to allow the new immigrants to the jobs market.
UK immigration minister Liam Byrne told GMTV: “There is a case for only very gradual access. We will be thinking through the sorts of controls that are needed over the next month and a half before reporting back to Parliament before the end of October.
“We have always argued that Europe should be bigger – we think that it is good for the British economy. But the question to which people, I think, will turn quite quickly is whether Bulgaria and Romania should be given an open-door access to labour market jobs in the UK.”