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UK Revamps Olympics 2012 Emergency Plans over Bulgarians, Romanians

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | December 11, 2013, Wednesday // 13:50| Views: 1129 | Comments: 0
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Fears of an influx of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants into the United Kingdom as of the beginning of the new year have prompted the government to draw up emergency plans, based on its experience from the Olympics 2012.

“Over the immediate period after the lifting of transitional controls we’re putting in place arrangements across Border Force rather similar to the arrangements with the same kind of management structure as we put in place for the Olympics, just to be absolutely sure that our frontline staff are prepared should there be any surprises,” Mark Sedwill, the Home Office permanent secretary, told MPs .

During London 2012 Olympics huge numbers of immigration officers were drafted in to carry out passport checks in a bid to avoid queues developing at ports and airports.

On 1 January 2014, Bulgarians and Romanians will be able to work anywhere in the European Union as the last of their membership restrictions are lifted.

At the end of November British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a crackdown on so-called "benefit tourism", citing fears over mass immigration from Bulgaria and Romania.

Eligibility rules for out-of-work benefits will be tightened and access to housing benefit will be curbed.

But some ministers from Cameron's government and MPs from the opposition are calling for a rebel amendment to the Immigration Bill that would restrict the free movement of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants into the UK until December 31 2018.

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