Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Immigration debate

An MP has said that "tens of thousands" of immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania could come to the UK when existing immigration restrictions are lifted at the end of 2013.

Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate on 4 December 2012, the Conservative MP for Kettering, Philip Hollobone, said the number of immigrants from the EU was "seemingly getting out of hand".

The two countries joined the European Union in 2007 and are the union's newest members, until Croatia joins during 2013.

Restrictions on how many Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can work in the UK were introduced following their accession, but under European Law, the restrictions cannot continue beyond the end of 2013.

The restrictions mean Bulgarian and Romanian nationals remain restricted to jobs that are either skilled or in sectors where there is a shortage of UK labour.

Mr Hollobone said it was a "disgrace" that the Home Office had not produced figures showing how many Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants were expected to come to the UK after 2013.

However Immigration Minister Mark Harper said it was a "very difficult exercise" to produce a figure.

He said that as a number of other major European countries such as Germany were also lifting immigration controls in 2013 it was difficult to assess which country Bulgarian and Romanian migrants might choose to go to.

"There is no point in government making up a number," he concluded.

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