Impact of Bulgarian, Romanian migrants on Britain likely to be modest: report

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Friday said in a report that immigration into Britain from Romania and Bulgaria is likely to have only modest impacts on the country's public services.

The FCO report came ahead of a planned lifting of immigration restrictions on migrants into Britain from the two of the European Union's (EU) newest member countries.

"Our research suggests that there will not be a major impact on services of any further migration from Romania and Bulgaria once restrictions have lifted," said Heather Rolfe, one of the authors of the report from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research NIESR.

"The main reason for that is that migrants are young and healthy and often come without families, and make few demands on services," she told Xinhua on Thursday evening.

Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. However, Britain and other older EU nations have instituted temporary restrictions on citizens of those two countries until the end of 2013 due to fears that large numbers of migrants would move to Britain seeking work and claiming social benefits.

Immigration has become a serious issue in British politics as the country has seen significant growth in immigration since 1993, which coincided with a period of prolonged economic growth until 2008.

In 2011, 12.3 percent of the British population, or 7 million people, were foreign-born, compared to 7 percent in 1993. Statistics by the Center for Migration, Policy and Society at Oxford University also showed that foreign-born people made up 42 percent of the population of inner London in 2011.

A statement from NIESR, which published the report, said no estimates of the numbers of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants had been produced as future migration is highly dependent on economic, political and social factors in Bulgaria, Romania, Britain, Europe and beyond.

The NIESR report pointed out that future migration was unlikely to have a significant impact on health or the welfare system. However it warned that migrants' use of the education system could put pressure on primary schools in areas with fewer spare school places.

"A widespread public perception persists that migrants pose a disproportionate burden on the social housing market, yet evidence to date does not substantiate this," the report read.

Impact on housing was more likely to be felt in the private rented sector, the report added, but that would be variable and was affected by local housing supplies.