I’m leading a campaign to extend the restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian migration from 1st January 2014 to December 2018 in a bid to help further reduce immigration.
On Tuesday 19th November I moved an amendment during a session of the Immigration Bill Committee on which I am currently serving. The Committee scrutinises the Government’s Immigration Bill, which has been introduced to help bring down the number of migrants, reduce illegal immigration, tackle health and welfare tourism and speed up the appeals process. This will strengthen the Government’s achievement of cutting net migration to Britain by a third since the election.
The Bill goes quite far in tackling a number of problems but it does not contain any measures specifically on Romanian and Bulgarian migrants, which is what people mention if you ask them about immigration at the moment.
We were told in 2004 that the UK would not experience much immigration at all when the restrictions on free movement were relaxed for Poland and other A8 countries including Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia. In reality, we had 100,000 per annum come here between 2004 and 2011 – the Government’s estimate was wrong by a factor of eight.
Unofficial estimates have suggested that Britain could see as many as 50,000 Romanians and Bulgarians come here per year over the next five years. I don’t think the UK economy or labour markets have sufficiently recovered from the most recent recession to cope with an influx of that number of people and people are quite rightly concerned about whether public services can cope, about what benefits they will claim and about the number of jobs they will take.
I now have the support of 55 MPs who have signed my amendment, which would extend transitional controls on Romanian and Bulgarian migration from their original expiry of 1st January 2014 to 31st December 2018.
This will be debated when the Immigration Bill returns to Parliament.
As part of my work on this, I was asked to write a column article for the Daily Express, which you may read here. I was also asked by the paper to support their ‘No to New EU Migrants’ petition, so pictured below are some supporters of both the campaign and my amendment, and a picture of my handing in the first bag of signatures to 10 Downing Street.
You can read more about my amendment here.