Question #2 – How many Romanians and Bulgarians will come in 2014?
Despite the 50,000 a year prediction made by Migration Watch and predictions made by UKIP, there are no official government statistics being released at the moment. Eric Pickles says he has seen figures but is not confident enough about their accuracy to release them.
Fifteen smaller countries and Italy have already opened their borders, and this will be followed by other major countries which may also be desirable. Wages in Britain are far higher than the £300 monthly average in Romania and Bulgaria which could be economically appealing.
However the vast majority of immigrants tend to be young people and Britain is currently suffering from high youth unemployment. In February to April 2013, 950,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed. This puts the youth unemployment rate in the UK at 20.2 per cent, whilst the youth unemployment rate in Germany is just 7.5 per cent, followed by Austria at 8.0 per cent and the Netherlands at 10.6 per cent.
As well as looking for employment opportunities, they may find a degree of stability moving somewhere where they have friends, family and historical ties. The 2008 municipal census in Spain revealed that there were 731,806 Romanians there. Many Romanians from rural and underdeveloped regions were attracted by the higher wages of Spain, but also the linguistic similarities between Romanian and Spanish, as well as Romanians’ Latin identity. A Guardian writer was told by businessman and philanthropist Nicolae Ratiu: “It’s easier to go to Italy and Spain. In a month a Romanian can speak Italian and Spanish and Portuguese. It’s easier to learn those languages. Language makes a big difference. We are closer in terms of history and culture to the Latin countries. More people choose to go to France than the UK. A lot will choose Austria and Germany.”