Bulgarians Nine Times Richer by Moving to the UK
by Martin Brown
Bulgarian and Romanian migrants would be nearly nine times better off if they move to Britain when access restrictions are lifted at the end of the year, a study revealed yesterday.
A family of four from Bulgaria could boost their weekly income from £62 at home to £543 here, it said.
Similar families – made up of one individual on minimum wage with a dependent spouse and two children – from Romania would see their weekly income soar from about £70 a week.
Elsewhere, single workers from eastern European countries would be four or five times better off, the study by MigrationWatch UK found.
Its chairman Sir Andrew Green said: "The wage differences turn out to be simply stunning.
"The previous government made a huge mistake agreeing to accession treaties that granted full access to our labour market to workers from countries that have only a fifth of our gross domestic product per head.
"Given that the economic incentives for Romanian and Bulgarian workers are twice those now enjoyed by Polish workers, it would be absurd to suggest that there will not be a significant inflow."
Temporary curbs were imposed on Romanians and Bulgarians in 2005 to protect the British labour market but they expire in December.
The Government has refused to provide an estimate on the number of Romanians or Bulgarians it expects to arrive in Britain but Migration- Watch previously said it could be up to 50,000 a year for the first five years.
A single person in Romania on the minimum wage would have a weekly income of about £55 whereas in the UK that same person could earn £254. In Bulgaria a single person on minimum wage earns around £49.
MigrationWatch said child benefit for two children, even if they remain in their home countries, equals a week’s take-home pay at the minimum wage in Romania.
If the worker should lose his or her job in Britain, unemployment benefit in the UK is equivalent to more than twice the take-home pay at the minimum wage in Romania or Bulgaria.
Leading politicians in Bulgaria and Romania have dismissed fears of a wave of immigration to Britain.
Bulgarians would prefer Germany, Spain and Italy because of stronger business links, said Bulgarian foreign minister Nikolay Mladenov.
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