Enlarging concerns: migration to the UK from new European Union member states

Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah

in Social Policy Review 19

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9781861349415
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303466 | DOI:
Enlarging concerns: migration to the UK from new European Union member states

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In the lead up to the accession of 10 new member states on 1 May 2004, the UK government came under public pressure to limit the right of free movement for workers, to protect the UK. In the event, the government resisted these pressures and was one of three existing member states that did not impose restrictions. Two years later, faced with similar pressures to restrict the access of Romanian and Bulgarian workers when their countries joined the EU, the UK government changed its stance and decided to introduce restrictions. This chapter examines the context in which these two different policy decisions were taken, as a way of drawing out some of the complexities and contradictions of migration policy making in the UK. It begins by looking at the environment in which the 2004 decision was made, and then reviews the empirical evidence on the scale and impacts of migration from the new member states. The chapter then asks why, in the face of the apparent benefits of a liberal approach, policy makers changed their minds on Romanian and Bulgarian workers. It concludes by considering some of the broader political challenges around migration.

Keywords: migrant workers; Romanian workers; Bulgarian workers; migration policy

Chapter.  7429 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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