Europe News

‘It's Horrible Here,’ UK May Tell EU Migrants

Clouds over the City of London
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There are hardly any jobs, generally low wages and it rains all the time: Not the usual picture that a country wants to portray of its culture or economy. However, U.K politicians are considering launching a negative publicity campaign in Eastern Europe to deter potential migrants from coming to the U.K. in search of jobs.

The campaign is being considered to put off people in Bulgaria and Romania from coming to Britain, when restrictions that limit the number of their citizens that can legally live and work in the U.K., expire in a year's time.

A number of British newspapers have cited a spokesman for the British Prime Minister, as saying Britain is considering launching a negative advertising campaign to fulfill its promise to tackle immigration by stemming the flow of migrants.

(Read More: Some Nations Consider Migration as Key to Avert Economic Squeeze)

One unnamed government minister was reported as suggesting that a bit of negative advertising might at least "correct the impression that the streets here are paved with gold," but Keith Vaz, the chairman of the parliament's home affairs select committee, said that the proposed campaign was "bordering on the farcical."

The Home Office has not released an estimate of how many economic migrants from Eastern Europe it expects in 2013, but campaign group Migration Watch say that 250,000 people could arrive from Bulgaria and Romania over the next five years, warning of "significant consequences" for housing and jobs in its latest report.

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With a combined population of 29 million, Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 to a muted response from fellow EU members in the 27-nation bloc.Migration controls were demanded by Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands when the countries joined. But under EU law, these "transitional" allowances cannot be extended.

Read More: As Tides of Illegal Immigrants Go Home, WIll US Economy Suffer?)

The plan is just one of a several ideas that the Conservative government in the U.K. is considering in order to fulfill its commitment to bring down immigration to the U.K.

According to official estimates, the number of EU nationals coming to the U.K in 2011-2012 fell 42,000 to 536,000.

One of the central tenets of the EU is the freedom of movement for workers. However, the U.K.'s Home Secretary Theresa May is considering limits on EU migration, a move to mollify euro-skeptic politicians and pervasive public opinion that Eastern European migrants threaten an already fragile employment picture in the U.K.