United Kingdom

The UKIP Was Wrong About Bulgarian and Romanian Immigration

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Credit: Euro Realist Newsletter/wikimedia

At the beginning of this year, transitional controls on the migration of Bulgarians and Romanians within the European Union were lifted. At the time, I argued that free marketeers should welcome Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), whose members are not fans of the E.U.'s free movement policy, claimed that with transitional controls lifted, the crime rate would increase and between 350,000 and 400,000 Romanians will come to the U.K.

In fact, in the three months since the remaining transition controls were lifted there was a 3,000-person decrease in the number of Bulgarians and Romanians living in the U.K. While there has been an 18.5 percent increase in the number of Bulgarians and Romanians living in the U.K. compared to this time last year, Alan Travis points out that there will be 60,000 fewer Romanian and Bulgarian workers in the U.K. after the closure of an agricultural workers scheme.

One likely reason that there has not been a massive influx is that Bulgarians and Romanians have had the freedom to move to the U.K. since 2007; it is only the labour market that they did not have access to until earlier this year.

Scott Blinder, the director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said in January 2013 that "We just don't know" how many Bulgarians and Romanians would come to the U.K. in the wake of the change. Interestingly, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said something similar in a speech in September 2013:

And from the 1st of January next year, the risks increase massively.

The seven year period is up and nearly 30 million of the good people of Bulgaria and Romania have open access to our country, our welfare system our jobs market.

How many will take advantage of that no one knows.

The Home Office don't have any idea at all. The previous estimate was 13,000 in total. Migration Watch thinks 50,000 a year. It could be many times that.

Never mind that recent immigrants to the U.K. are net contributors to the British public finances. It is revealing that Farage accepts that he can't predict migration patterns.

Markets are much better than politicians at determining what the price and supply of labour should be. Policy makers should accept that they don't have nearly enough knowledge to manage immigration on that level, get out of the way, and let markets do their thing.

Watch Reason's recent debate on whether the U.S. should open its borders below:

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  1. Residency and citizenship has more implications that just the effect of a human widget has on the labor market.

    Culture matters, particularly when people vote.

    Is the open borders crowd eager to vote with 100 million Pakistanis on the proper mode of execution for homosexuals, adulterers, and apostates?

    1. Managing culture is not an appropriate function of government. Immigration has never resulted in cultural problems.

      1. “””Immigration has never resulted in cultural problems.””‘

        Why don’t you ask the Chinese being killed in Vietnam?

        1. Yeah, that region never had problems with inter-ethnic killing before immigration happened.

    2. Lol.

      Typical statist fear mongering. They do it with every other exercise of liberty. Believe in the liberty to use your political speech?

      “BUT WHAT IF SOMEONE JUST SPENDS A TRILLION DOLLARS AND STEALS TEH ELECTION!”

      Believe in gun rights?

      “OH SO YOU JUST BELIEVE WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO UNLIMITED NUCLEAR WEAPONS?”

      Believe in freedom to contract/travel?

      “SO WHAT IF 100 MILLION PAKISTANIS COME OVER????? BOOM CHECKMATE!”

      Well then you’re an idiot. 100 million of anyone aren’t coming over. There’s 60 million who live in the UK. Show me any 100 million person migration that’s happened in the last 100 years.

      How about you just start admitting that living next to 100 Pakistanis, much less 100 million, just freaks you out because you think they’re gross?

    3. Yeah, but overall Romanians and Bulgarians come from cultures more skeptical of less progressive values than the UK (many lived under Communism), and with much lower crime rates (especially violent crime rates, which are very low in that part of the world). So they might have a positive influence on British society, unless they learn how to start bar fights and kill fans of opposing soccer teams from their new hosts.

      1. *edit: cultures more skeptical of progressive values than the UK

  2. “Policy makers should accept that they don’t have nearly enough knowledge to manage immigration on that level, get out of the way, and let markets do their thing.”

    Unthinkable to the kinds of people who are ‘policy makers’.

  3. Policy makers should accept that they don’t have nearly enough knowledge to manage immigration on that level, get out of the way, and let markets do their thing.

    …and with a sniff and a snap of his hanky, he flounces off into the night!

  4. One problem is that markets are very much not able to “do their thing,” as immigration comes along with a juicy assortment of welfare bennies. So there is some stake in immigration for everyone.

    Plus, the whole culture thing, and race, which thankfully don’t exist so we need not consider them. (But…)

    1. immigration comes along with a juicy assortment of welfare bennies.

      RTFA and the data. I am tired of pointing out your BS.

      Plus, the whole culture thing, and race, which thankfully don’t exist so we need not consider them

      Obvious bigot is obvious.

      1. Yeah, nobody can disagree with open borders unless they’re bigots. Besides, studies!

        1. Yeah when someone’s beef with immigration is the “race/culture” issue then I’d say that you are a bigot.

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