Immigration from Romania and Bulgaria to the United Kingdom is at its highest ever levels, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates.
The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report for February 2017 records there has been a “statistically significant increase” in arrivals from the so-called EU2, Romania and Bulgaria. Migration from these nations was up to 74,000 for the year to September 2016, an annual increase of 19,000.
European Union (EU) rules on Free Movement, which demand unlimited and largely unvetted migration between EU member-states, were extended to Romania and Bulgaria in 2014. The crime rate among Romanian nationals in the UK is unusually high, and arrests surged by up to 80 per cent in 2015.
Romania’s former foreign minister, Titus Corlatean, told UK politicians who warned of an influx at the time that “The benefits are much more substantial than the risks mentioned by the xenophobic and populist politicians in the UK about the so-called migration.”
He claimed that there would be no influx, because “Romanians who wanted to leave, they left even before we joined the EU … They went to Italy and Spain; we are Latin and it’s easier to speak the language and integrate.”
The number of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria was at an all time high: up 19,000 to 74,000 which is the highest estimate recorded @ONS
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) February 23, 2017
Overall, net long-term immigration to September 2016 was estimated at +273,000; a “not statistically significant” decrease from the previous year, aided in part by the emigration of 128,000 British nationals.
Of the 180,000 EU nationals who claimed to be travelling to the UK for work, some 47 per cent admitted to having no definite job to go to.
Gross immigration to September 2016 was estimated at 596,000. However, the ONS recorded 626,000 National Insurance Number registrations by EU nationals and 198,000 National Insurance Number registrations by non-EU nationals – a significant discrepancy.
Significant shortcomings in the International Passenger Survey (IPS) data on which official figures have long been recognised, with the Public Administration Select Committee going so far as to describe them as “little better than a best guess”.
The IPS gathers information on just 0.2% of the 200 million people who enter and leave the United Kingdom every year, and members of the present government were extremely critical of it while in Opposition – an inquiry chaired by Michael Fallon, now Secretary of State for Defence, even condemned it as “not fit for purpose, having been designed to provide data for tourism and business travel purposes”.