Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spain lifts ban on Bulgarian, Romanian workers

The Sofia Echo

The Spanish government decided to lift the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers taking jobs in Spain, Bulgarian-language Dnevnik daily quoted Spanish media on December 19 2008.

The Spanish cabinet concluded that letting Bulgarians and Romanians work freely in Spain would not affect the local labour market. The reason was that the ongoing financial crisis has made Bulgarian and Romanian expats start going home instead of staying in Spain. The tendency, according to the Spanish government, was for fewer and fewer workers from the two Balkan countries to come to Spain.

Spanish media quoted numbers from Spanish NGOs, which claimed that there were about 300 000 Bulgarians and Romanians currently residing in Spain, most of whom did not have work permits.

As Dnevnik noted, Spain is the first European Union country to lift the ban on Bulgarian and Romanian workers out of 15 EU countries who imposed such restrictions when the two countries joined the EU in 2007.

On December 18 2008, Britain announced that migrants from Bulgaria and Romania will continue to be barred from taking most unskilled jobs in the UK. The only exception to this was that 5000 more workers from the two countries will be allowed to undertake seasonal agricultural work. Restrictions will be reviewed again in 2009.

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