World News‎ > ‎

Bulgarians Eye The UK As Possible Immigration Destination

posted 22 Dec 2013, 14:01 by Sam Mbale

As Bulgaria heads towards getting full access to the job market of Europe in 2014, many eye the UK as one of the possible destinations in the 28-nation bloc and say the smearing campaign of Britain's right-leaning press, which warned that "hordes" will pour in from Bulgaria, will not influence potential employers.

SOFIABULGARIA (DECEMBER 17, 2013) (REUTERS) -  As Bulgaria is set to get full access to the job market of Europe starting from January 1, 2014, residents in Sofia and Ravno Pole said they were contemplating a move to the UK, which with a minimum wage at 6.31 pounds ($10.30) - many times higher than the Bulgarian rate of 1.85 levs ($1.30) - has replaced crisis-hit Spain andItaly as one of the most popular migration destinations in the 28-nation bloc.

The gadget spec URL could not be found
"I would go there (to the UK) because life is normal and payments are more adequate than here. Nobody here receives even half of the salary one deserves for a good job done," said Biser Petrov, who has been working as a professional diver for many years.

EU rules set down in 2004 state that citizens who move around should not become "an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system" of their hosts.

Brussels cites data showing that "mobile EU citizens" are no more of a burden on welfare than locals and, being younger, are more likely to work.

Sofia-based students Snezhana and Stanimir, said they didn't have plans to leave the country and that staying in Bulgaria was probably a good thing.

"I do not have such plans at the moment. In my opinion my generation should stay inBulgaria and do their best to fix things here and make life better," said Snezhana.

"I think that there are opportunities here, not only in my field, but in all fields. But I also understand why people want to go to study and work there (in the UK), it is their decision," said Archeology student, Stanimir.

But for Rosen Yordanov, a graphic designer with 20 years' experience, the Bulgarian economy is in such dire shape that is ready to emigrate as soon as the red tape vanishes.

"The situation in our country has deteriorated a lot in the last four years from the point of view of what I am doing, in my sector. Job

opportunities for people with my qualification are getting less and payment is not satisfactory at all. All this made me think that I have to go to another country and try my luck," Yordanov said.

Yordanov, was also confident the smearing campaign of Britain's right-leaning press, which warned that "hordes" will pour in from Bulgaria, will not influence employers.

"People there (in the UK), who are interested in finding somebody with a proper qualification to do the job, will not be influenced by the negative campaign. Also the intellectual level of these people would not allow them to get scared by the media attack portraying waves of immigrants, so I do not think this would hamper in any way my plans," Yordanov added.

Britain, which opposed the tighter regulations as a burden on business, plans to unilaterally limit access to welfare for Bulgarians and Romanians.

A government report leaked to the media suggested Cameron's Conservatives aim to cap the number of EU migrants, bar them from receiving welfare benefits for the first five years and stop even highly skilled Europeans moving to Britain without a firm job offer.

The right-wing UK Independence Party, which advocates Britain's withdrawal from the 28-nation bloc, has warned that the country faces hordes of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants.

British media have railed against alleged "benefit tourism" despite studies showing EU migrants contribute much more to the welfare state than they receive and are less likely to claim benefits than native Britons.