British Romanian Relations

British Romanian relation goes back to 1880 when these countries established diplomatic relation with each other wherein the United Kingdom has an embassy in Bucharest and Romania has an embassy in London and they have bilateral foreign relations. Both the countries are part of the European Union (EU) and NATO.

Initially lot of Romanians who arrived in the United Kingdom, mainly Britain, were primarily Jews who fled World War II prosecution and as per 2001 Census, 7,631 Romanian-born population grew to 83,168 throughout the United Kingdom, with 79,687 in England and Wales, 2,387 in Scotland and 1094 in Northern Ireland and as per 2012, there were 101,000 Romanian-born people were resident in the United Kingdom and by 2015, this estimate had risen to 220,000.

Romanians in the United Kingdom

Romanians in the United Kingdom refers to the phenomenon of Romanian people who moved to the United Kingdom as its citizens or non-citizen immigrants, along with the British citizens of Romanian descent. It was in 2007 when Romania joined the European Union, when the migration of Romanians increased and it was on 1st Jan 2014, when thousands of them migrated to UK. Romanian migrants are one of the smallest migrant groups in the United Kingdom as compared to French, Spanish or German migrants and out of the lot, only 45,000 of them are based in London. Romanians residing in London are quite high skilled workers who have decided to stay in the country for good rather than taking up just temporary jobs.

Romanians in United Kingdom

Most of the Romanians belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church religion and there are several Romanian Orthodox churches throughout the UK, such as those in Aberdeen, Ballymena, Birmingham, Boston, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Caterham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Luton, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford or Poole. Generally, Romanians hold high professional qualifications and most of them are working both in the sectors experiencing staff shortages such as doctors, nurses and social workers and also in the areas of great interest for the British economy and society such as agriculture, construction industry, home care services, owner of small businesses and according to the figures provided by some professional organizations, there are an important number of highly qualified Romanians working in the UK where most of them are doctors, artists, architects, professors, ICT and finance specialists and researchers and they are considered as quite esteemed and reputed.

Romanian citizens who arrive in UK for a shorter period of time with the purpose of employment, regardless of the work performed, whether skilled or unskilled, are valued for their ethics, seriousness, punctuality, qualities which is valued by the British employers. In case you are coming to the United Kingdom from abroad, you need to meet the conditions of Habitual Residence Test (HRT) in order to claim certain means-tested benefits and in order to meet the conditions of habitual residence test, you must prove:

  • That you have a legal right to live in the United Kingdom and can claim these benefits. It is also called a right to reside.
  • That you intend to settle in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Ireland and make it as your home for the time being, which is also known as habitual residence.

Until 01st January 2014, as a Romanian national, you could reside in the United Kingdom only if you fall in one of the following categories:

  • If you were self-employed.
  • If you were self-sufficient.
  • If you were a student.
  • If you had completed 12 months authorized employment with fewer than 30 days of non-working time within that period.
  • If you were working in authorized employment and had registered with the Workers Authorisation Scheme.
  • If you were a family member of an EEA national in the United Kingdom who themselves have a right to reside.

However, from 01st January 2014 onwards, you are no longer required to register with the Workers Authorisation Scheme if you are working in the United Kingdom and all the nationals, including the Romanian nationals, have the same rights as other EEA nationals to live and work in the UK.

As per the Office for National Statistics, immigration from Romania to the United Kingdom has risen to its highest level on record in the months following the Brexit referendum result. The rise in immigration from Romania and Bulgaria was partially offset by a fall in the number of migrants from the countries like Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, and the fall in the number of the immigrants from these countries was 10,000 however the immigration from the rest of the European Union was broadly flat and if statistics have to be believed then approximately 65,000 European Union citizens came to the United Kingdom, 164,000 non- European Union citizens came to the United Kingdom whereas approximately 56,000 British citizens left from UK in total.

Effects of EU on Romani Immigration

Romania, like other European Union country, has benefited majorly by the free movement of the people and the immigrants from Romania, have been able to set up their businesses in UK and also manage to send money home to their people back in their country i.e. Romania. To quote Mr.Issac Magnet Dumitru, a Romanian immigrant, who has built a mansion back in his hometown, Tanderei, Romania, with the help of the money which he has earned while working in the United Kingdom, he is going to stay in the UK whatever happens as a result of Brexit vote and so is his family.

In case of Mr. Issac Newton, his father Gheroghe, who is not able to read and write, works as a cleaner in Edmonton Green where he earns £7.50 per hour. He came to UK in 2004 and has his family settled in the UK where his brothers and sisters are working with him and his sons, including Issac, owns a car dealership firm in London.

However, the net number of Poles and some other immigrants from other eastern European migrating to Britain has decreased and in the wake of the Brexit referendum, it was believed that a good number of people such as farmers and those from the food production have left leaving a big void in the low-skilled sectors because it was for them, immigrants, who were working in low skilled sectors such as local coffee shops, kebab shops etc.

And during the same time, when the immigrants from other European Nationals were decreasing, the immigration from Romania, who were given freedom of movement in 2014, rose to 64,000 from 16,000 and as per the statistics, they, the Romanian immigrants, account for 28 percent of all immigrants to the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Romanian immigrants in the United Kingdom, have settled themselves in the foreign country by taking up low skilled jobs. There are certain Romanian websites which also promote Romanians working in UK. Suburb of Burnt Oak, which is also the north-west London, is now called as a Little Romania in the recent years, and is also pronounced as Bontoc. Romanian community, is one of the fastest growing community in the United Kingdom, and their strength in 2005 was approx 223,000 and more National Insurance numbers were issued to the Romanian community than to any other nationality in the year 2015 which was 179,000 in total as per 2015 statistics. And since National Insurance Number ensures that you are legally authorized to work and potentially claim benefits (housing benefits, child benefits) in the United Kingdom, more number of National Insurance number issued to the community means, more number of Romanian immigrants have legal rights to work and stay in the United Kingdom. Majority of Romanian immigrants work in the construction sector and if talks have to be believed, then it is virtually impossible to pass a building or a construction site in London without hearing Romanian spoken. It is for the Romanian immigrants that most of the construction work gets finished on time because they are more than willing to take up the work and in case housing market falls down, then many would risk losing their jobs which will affect their livelihoods. Although Romanian immigrants are majorly employed as bricklayers and plumbers but there are cases when they are also doctors and nurses. However, demand is more for bricklayers and plumbers.

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