As promised in my previous work, I am going to discuss the issues regarding the “quality” of Romanian immigrants in the UK. Meaning their level of education and the nature of their employment where they are able to settle in (which tends to differ substantially oftentimes).  To be unequivocal: how productive are Romanians who come to the UK, and in what ways do they become an addition (or sometimes burden) to this society?

Notable Romanians

Firstly, we should take a look at some notable Romanian-born naturalized citizens. There are quite a few businessmen who made their name in Britain which includes Botnar (founder of Datsun UK, later Nissan UK) or Iacobescu. Also there are many prominent Romanians who excelled in arts, many in music (Maistorovici, Diana Ionescu,Cojocaru, Sarbu) but in fine arts as well (Neagu, Cantacuzino, Mirodan). Yet there are a few who need to be mentioned with distinction, first of whom is Vera Atkins, recipient of the CBE order thanks to her valuable work for the secret services during WWII. Others include Moses Gaster, a linguist, philologist and lecturer at Oxford, and David Mitrany, a notable academic in international relations theory. The list goes on, but this should be sufficient to show that there were many Romanians who became a productive addition to their new society.

Romanian Workforce today

Now, let’s continue with the current situation, where one faces many assertions and allegations about the influx of Romanians. Yes, greater immigration entails a vast number of consequences, many of which are negative (as "foreseen" by some decision makers), but is this the overwhelming formula when one speaks about it in terms of Romanians? The answer is quite multifaceted! For example, Romania has been experiencing negative effects of brain-drain. Doctors, most notably, are constantly leaving the country which leads to a shortage of doctors there. Some estimate that there are thousands of Romanian doctors working for the NHS, thus contributing to its functioning, instead of abusing it…

However, this is not the case for the majority of immigrants (just like in any other group, not all of them are highly skilled). The easiest way to find jobs is to do some kind of manual labour. Due to this, there’s a tradition of enticing uneducated people, who barely speak English, to work illegally as day labourers. This saves employers a lot of money, as they don't have to pay taxes or insurance after them. What’s more frustrating is that they don't need to take safety issues into account, which leads to many work accidents that go undocumented. Hence safety measures are circumnavigated. Construction sites remain a hub for such abusive employers who can be seen picking up groups of men on the outskirts of cities.

The traveling paupers

Lastly, the case of rough sleepers remains a delicate topic. The number of these people has tripled in London lately according to some estimates (490 from 170), which in itself still isn't a substantial number. However, many of these rough sleepers demand to be housed, since they claim to be entitled to it as EU citizens. Whilst sleeping in underpasses and metro stations, they are literally becoming an obstacle for the daily movement of locals. More importantly, when they are sleeping on the streets of the city centre, they are damaging local chic businesses by deterring potential customers. Yet, here one has to note that the majority of rough sleepers are usually Romas …whose lifestyle is similar in Romania as well.

Click to read more