End of restrictions on free movement of workers from Bulgaria and Romania
Today marks the lifting of the last restrictions on the free movement of workers from Bulgaria and Romania. From today, Bulgarian and Romanian citizens are able to fully exercise their right to work in all EU countries without a work permit.
Romanians and Bulgarians gained the right on Wednesday 1 January 2014 to work in any of the EU's 28 Member States. Nine countries lifted restrictions - Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain - becoming the latest to do so.19 countries were indeed not applying transitional measures. The European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, made a statement on the end of restrictions on free movement of workers from Bulgaria and Romania.
The change has prompted some fears of mass-migration, particularly in Britain and Germany where measures were already adopted to prevent newcomers from seeking state benefits. In Belgium, the topic was raised in the House of Representatives on 21 January 2014 (p.9). On this occasion, Maggie de Block stated that the impact of the end of above mentioned restrictions would only appear in the coming months. She however put emphasis on the fact that the Federal Public Service for Social Integration and the Immigration Office exchange data concerning citizens who benefit from the integration income and constitute an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system. The Immigration Office also cooperates with the National Social Insurance Institute for self-employed in the fight against false self-employed persons. This year also marks the beginning of data exchange between the Immigration Office and the National Employment Office.