Some conservative activists in the UK have called the transitional controls which prevent Bulgarian and Romanian citizens to work in the UK to be extended after 31 December 2013. 90 activists, who include chairmen of constituency parties, have written to Mr Cameron urging him to extend the ban using a proviso in EU law which allows a member state to extend a ban on citizens of new member states from coming to work if the Country ‘is undergoing or foresees serious labour market disturbances’.
Most Western European countries imposed transitional controls on Bulgaria and Romania after the Balkan countries entered the European Union in 2007. Under those rules, citizens of Bulgaria and Romania needed a work permit in order to work in Britain. After 2014 the transitional rules can not be extended. This means that Bulgarian and Romanian citizens will have the right to work in the UK without the need for a work permit.
A group of about 90 Conservative MPs are said to have pressed the government to extend the controls. Conservative backbench MP Nigel Mills has proposed a referendum to the government’s Immigration Bill that would extend the controls until 2018, after a possible referendum on EU membership is held.
According to the British Immigration Minister Mark Harper, extending the controls is not possible, because it will contradict the EU treaties that Britain has signed with Romania and Bulgaria. Any such attempt will not pass the through the courts. Mr Harper said ‘The accession treaties only give us the ability – and the other eight counties with transitional controls – to extend them to the end of the year. We’ve extended the controls to their legal maximum’.
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