Home secretary says Romanian and Hungarian work rights will be restricted

19 September 2006
Home secretary says Romanian and Hungarian work rights will be restricted

Work rights in the UK for Romanians and Bulgarians are likely to be restricted if they join the European Union next year, Home Secretary John Reid has revealed.

Speaking at a conference of the Police Superintendents Association today, he said immigration needs to be managed "carefully".

The government estimates that 600,000 East Europeans have moved to the UK since 2004. The majority of those are from Poland, which was one of eight former communist countries which joined the EU two and half years ago.

In his speech, Reid said: "We need to manage immigration carefully. We need to consider carefully all of the implications of the accession of new states and ensure we have all the necessary safeguards in place to reassure the public."

EU leaders are due to decide within days on whether to give the go ahead for Bulgaria and Romania to join the union at the start of next year, or whether to postpone their joining date.

Last month, British Hospitality Association chief executive Bob Cotton called for a temporary ban on migration from the two states after a BHA survey found 70% of London's 300,000-strong hospitality workforce already comes from overseas. It also discovered that 80% of workers in the capital's top 25 hotels are from abroad.

By Daniel Thomas

Employers divided over Eastern European workers>>

Government to introduce work permit system for EU>>

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