Why Employ Workers From Bulgaria And Romania?
Bulgaria and Romania are to become the next two members of the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2007. Lets start with a look at a few interesting facts about two of the poorest members of the EU most people know very little about.
A few interesting facts about Bulgaria
Until 1989 the country was known as the People’s Republic of Bulgaria (PRB) and was ruled by the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP). By the time the impact of Mikhail Gorbachevs reform program in the Soviet Union was felt in Bulgaria in the late 1980s, the Communists, like their leader, had grown too feeble to resist the demand for change for long and they moved towards democracy.
Unemployment remained high and when Bulgaria was given a chance to join the EU after leaving Communisim behind, it jumped at it as it means greater access to markets. Bulgarians associate their dreams of European citizenship with the salaries of the Germans, the houses of the French and the holidays of the Scandinavians. Before joining the EU Bulgaria has had to tackle lots of economic and social problems including high crime rates.
A few interesting facts about Romania
Romania is the largest country in Southeastern Europe and borders many countries including Hungary and Serbia. In 1940 during World War II, Romania was occupied by the Soviet Union, Hungary and Bulgaria respectively. Romania was then proclaimed a republic, and remained under direct military and economic control of the USSR until the late 1950s.
Following the end of the Cold War in 1989, Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe, the country quickly applied for membership in the EU in June 1993 and became a member of NATO in 2004.
From 2000 onwards, the Romanian economy was transformed into one of relative macroeconomic stability, characterised by high growth and low unemployment. Almost half of Romanias population is still rural.
What about these workers that are coming to the UK and other European countries?
The European Commission says that the two countries rapid growth and highly motivated workforce will be an asset for the EU economy but is there a need for these workers? Since the EU enlarged in 2004, over half a million workers have joined the UK economy with the Poles forming the largest group with over 450,000.
For all those that come to the UK, pulling up roots from their homeland can be traumatic. It truly is not an easy decision to make, and a number of those who leave their native country choose to return, finding that adjusting to a new society is too difficult or that work is not readily available. Many EU nationals come to the UK not speaking English and with very little money in their pockets. When they failed to find employment within a few days due to the availability of jobs and language requirements, many EU nationals have found themselves destitute and even homeless. This has been a problem especially in London.
The easiest transitions occur when the economic migrants can find a community made up of people from their native country. They can keep a lot of their old customs while integrating the new countries language, values and culture. Experience seems to indicate that to be happy they need to wholeheartedly try to assimilate the new way of life. Many parts of Scotland are welcoming Polish immigrants as the population is falling and these migrants are needed to fill gaps in the workforce. Local churches are also happy as the religious Poles are filling the church pews once again. Many Poles like it in Scotland as they say that the climate and terrain is similar to home wet and full of hills!
Some plan to remain in the UK temporarily and send the money back to their family in their country, others wish to remain permanently and strive to own a home of their own. They learn the new language and educate their children in the new ways.
Migrants have made enormous contributions to the UK economy and cultures of their new countries, yet these are often made with tremendous difficulty. In 2001 it was calculated that migrants contributed £2.5 billion in taxes to the UK economy.