Official report: Bulgarians and Romanians won’t come here

Bulgarians and Romanians will mostly head to Spain, Italy or Germany when they win the right to live in other EU countries, an official report has found.

Foreign Office-commissioned National Institute of Economic and Social Research report found those who did come to the UK were unlikely to exploit benefits systems and public services.

"The main destination countries for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants are Spain and Italy, and to a lesser extent Germany," the report found.

"These choices reflect restrictions and freedoms on the right of Romanians and Bulgarians to work across the EU, employment opportunities and similarities in language.

"As time goes on, the presence of social and economic networks of existing migrants may mean that EU2 continue to migrate to Spain and Italy rather than other EU member states."

Researchers found migrants who did arrive would be young – mostly under 35 – and largely without families. They would therefore have a limited effect on public services.

Those arriving would be generally healthy although there could be high rates of TB.

Unlike the wave of eastern European immigration in 2004, they would likely centre in London and the south-east, rather than across the country.

The report was immediately rejected as a "whitewash" by Migration Watch chairman Sir Andrew Green.

Home affairs committee chair Keith Vaz criticised lack of estimates for precisely how many people would be coming and demanded a full government study.

Researchers said any effort to provide forecasts of numbers, as Migration Watch have done, would be inaccurate and misleading.

There are currently 26,000 Bulgarians and 80,000 Romanians in the UK. They have slightly higher levels of skill than migrants from the rest of Europe and tend to work in hospitality, cleaning and construction.