The 14 Words

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Hundreds of thousands from outside EU could head for UK in passport loophole

Hundreds of thousands from outside the EU will be eligible to work in Britain from today because of a passport giveaway by Bulgaria and Romania. It will give some of the poorest in Europe the right to live and work here.

Bulgaria and Romania are offering national status to minority or ethnic groups living in non-EU states including Moldova, Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey.

Officials in Bulgaria have already issued 90,000 passports to Macedonians, while Romania is offering all of Moldova’s four million population the opportunity to obtain Romanian nationality. A further 300,000 in Turkey can apply for Bulgarian passports.

Hungary has granted EU passports to those in neighbouring countries. There are only two conditions – a direct ancestor who was a Hungarian citizen and a basic knowledge of the language.

Some 100,000 from Serbia have applied. Meanwhile Malta has announced plans to sell EU passports to foreigners for 650,000 euros from today.

Thousands of migrants have used Bulgarian or Romanian passports to move to other EU countries since the two states joined seven years ago. From today they will be able to do the same to get into Britain, as the working restrictions on those with Bulgarian and Romanian passports are being lifted.

Romania has offered a passport to all four million of Moldova's citizens 
while Bulgaria has issued 90,000 passports to Macedonians

When Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in January 2007, temporary curbs were placed on the type of work their nationals could take in the UK. The curbs have been lifted from today because under treaty rules they cannot be extended any further.

Bulgarians and Romanians will be entitled to claim the same benefits and NHS care as other EU citizens.

Yesterday the Mail revealed how many flights and coaches from Romania and Bulgaria to London this week are fully booked, while some experts have predicted a 50,000-a-year surge in migrants from the two countries.

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