In 2004 the UK government saw an unprecedented number of eastern Europeans enter Britain when 10 new countries joined the European Union.
The Government estimated fewer than 20,000 would come to the UK but it was closer to 600,000 with Poland being one of the larger contributors.
It’s pretty apparent too. Walking through the city centre or into your local Asda, its pretty amazing how many eastern Europeans you bump into.
Romania and Bulgaria are to join the EU in the next couple of weeks but it looks like the UK government have learnt from these past experiences.
The UK Trade Secretary Alistair Darling yesterday revealed the government was seriously considering imposing a limit on the number of places available for new immigrants.
Britain was one of the few major EU nations to open its borders to new members in 2004 while France and Germany tightened controls.
Mr Darling hinted that decision was flawed.
When asked if the Government would allow a free for all from Romania and Bulgaria he said: ‘No. We will need to see what our requirements are so it is done in a managed way.’
I think this is pretty good news for the UK if these plans are implemented correctly. Following Australia’s lead and Identifying skills in demand could well be a good way to go.
Still, I think these plans are about 4 years too late, another reason why I’m so glad to be moving away to a country that developed a well managed immigration policy from the start.