The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) is all over the media this morning. They have produced a report telling us that the impact of allowing Romanians and Bulgarians unrestricted access to British jobs in 2014 will be limited.
Still cautious after their disastrous prediction that Poland's accession to the EU would result in 12,000 Poles moving to the UK - actual immigration: a quarter of a million in the first year! - this time they are not giving numbers, just bland assurances that everything will be fine.
The report's authors are: Heather Rolfe, Tatiana Fic, Mumtaz Lalani, Monica Roman, Maria Prohaska and Liliana Doudeva. Frankly it's amazing that the NIESR has the cheek to produce a supposedly serious work on immigration with that list of names on it - only one of them (Rolfe) looks remotely British! The others may be British on paper but clearly their ancestry is far far away.Tatiana Fic is Polish; Lalani is a muslim Asian name; who the others are we know not.
The NIESR itself is not what it seems. It calls itself an independent, politically-neutral, research institute, but it is actually deeply in cahoots with the government and exhibits a noticeable left-wing bias. It receives government funding and uses a domain name (.ac.uk) in the gift of the government. Its output must be regarded as tainted.
The facts-on-the-ground about Romanian and Bulgarian immigration to the UK are: the Romanians are already here, and the Bulgarians will be coming. The Romanians especially have been here for years - working illegally. They are able to travel to the UK without problem or paperwork but cannot legally work here without being sponsored by an employer and getting a work permit. The way they are getting around this is the "Italian connection".
Italy has long been the Romanians' destination of choice. In the communist era it was their nearest "free" country just the other side of Yugoslavia, and the Romanian and Italian languages are similar enough for a Romanian to learn Italian quite easily. There is a large (and lawful, of course) Italian community in the UK and they have been using contacts back in Italy to import Romanian labour to the UK. These Romanians then work illegally in the UK, getting their orders in Italian, the men as builders, fitters, gardeners and other unskilled manual workers; the women as cleaners mainly. They are massively exploited - for them the minimum wage does not apply: £15 for a long day's cleaning work would not be unusual. The women also work in prostitution a lot! (Where at least the wages are quite a bit higher.)
The Bulgarians have a greater affinity with their southern neighbour Greece and have not come to the UK in anywhere near the same numbers as the Romanians. They do not have any equivalent of the Italian connection to ease them into this country. Once they are able to work and claim benefits in the UK this will change. The Bulgarian economy is a basket-case; the poverty is extreme. We will see them in large numbers, as will the other Northern European EU nations. Even if they cannot find work it will be worth it for the benefits.
Clearly opening our country to these migrants will be harmful to us. We have three million unemployed people, plus another two million under-employed or notionally classed as disabled but able to work given a sporting chance. Although one naturally feels sorry for these immigrants who only want to improve their circumstances and are exploited in the UK (generally not by Brits though - an "English employer" is the Holy Grail for illegal immigrants) it is not in our national interest to admit them to the country.