Monday 22 April 2013

Concerns about Romanian and Bulgarian immigration aren't xenophobic

There has been some criticism of UKIP's warnings about Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants recently from both the pro-EU media and the Bulgarian government itself with one Bulgarian politician calling UKIP leaflets "propaganda".

Top marks to Gandul for
the ad campaign
The facts about Romania and Bulgaria and the potential for mass immigration into the UK are quite simple.

Romania and Bulgaria are the two poorest countries in the EU and their own governments have expressed concern at the number of people their own polling tells them are planning to leave for the UK as soon as immigration controls are relaxed.

As well as the very poor Romanians and Bulgarians, there are hundreds of thousands of ethnic-Romanian Moldovans who are even poorer and are being given Romanian passports.  There are 3.6m people living in Moldova and 800,000 of them have applied for a Romanian passport and are sat in the backlog waiting to be processed.  Over 1m Moldovans have already left Moldova with nearly a million more waiting to follow them.

We've already written about the Bulgarian residency permit loophole that is being used by organised crime gangs such as the Russian mafia to gain EU passports.

We have seen what happens when you allow a poor eastern European country to join the EU and its people are allowed to migrate freely - they end up here in huge numbers.  There are more Poles in the UK than Irish despite sharing a land border and centuries of shared history.  Romania and Poland are top of the list of EU countries for citizens living in another EU country and the UK has the fourth largest EU immigrant population after Germany, Spain and France.

UKIP doesn't believe that all immigration is bad and despite repeated claims to the contrary, doesn't want to ban immigration.  We have skills shortages that immigrants can fill and of course some people want to move here for family reasons - to get married, to care for family members, etc.  What we don't need is millions of unskilled or low-skilled immigrants competing for jobs and houses that are already in short supply.  This isn't xenophobia as some have claimed, it's common sense and the sort of basic maths that an infant (but apparently not the BBC) should be able to understand.

Very few people in the UK - if any - dislike Romanian or Bulgarian people.  Most people will almost certainly never have met a Romanian or Bulgarian and even fewer will have actually been to either of those countries.  People are worried about the impact on the economy, jobs and housing not the fact that they're foreigners.  No amount of spin, humorous ad campaigns or dodgy maths is going to stop those concerns and when migration restrictions are lifted at the end of the year I have every confidence that UKIP will be proven right once again.