Saturday, August 7, 2010

Passport giveaway opens UK back door: 2m more Hungarians will have right to work in Britain

This is pretty understandable from a Hungarian viewpoint. Hungary used to be a lot bigger than it was but got chopped back after WWII. So a lot of Hungarians found themselves in another country after the war. I would imagine that most of them will now move to Hungary proper rather than Britain. The big question is whether Romania will give passports to Roma (gypsies). They are a plague and a pestilence and giving them passports would certainly send them Westwards

Hungary is set to hand passports to millions of people living outside the EU – raising the prospect of a new wave of immigration into Britain. From next year, Hungary’s leaders will begin a huge passport giveaway to minority groups who have historic or ethnic ties to the East European country but live elsewhere.

Most of the beneficiaries live in impoverished countries on the fringes of Europe. Once they are given a passport, they will be entitled to full access to the rest of the EU – including Britain.

Similar passport handout schemes – which are legal under EU laws – are under way in Romania and Bulgaria. Together, it is estimated the three countries could add nearly five million citizens to the continent’s population, at a time when it is struggling to bounce back from a deeply damaging recession and financial crisis.

Although they have some control for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals, UK ministers are powerless to place restrictions on arrivals from Hungary. That means the potential impact on Britain of two million new Hungarian passports is much larger. Hungary was one of eight Eastern European nations which joined the EU in 2004.

But Labour ministers, unlike their counterparts in Germany and Austria, rejected the option of imposing work permit controls that would have limited the numbers coming here. That led to an estimated one million arrivals from Eastern Europe – despite predictions the number would be fewer than 20,000. The restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will expire in 2013 – opening the door to the UK.

Critics called for limits on the number of new passports member states could hand out to those living outside their borders. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: ‘The sheer scale of this risks getting out of hand. 'When we granted equal access to EU citizens we had no idea that member states would be dishing out passports to anybody they could think of that had some previous link to their countries. ‘There has to be some limit to what member states are allowed to do in this respect.’

From January, Hungary intends to offer passports to millions of ethnic Hungarians living outside its borders. That includes 300,000 living in Serbia and 160,000 in the Ukraine, neither of which is a EU member.

Millions worldwide are eligible for EU passports - but those in prosperous nations rarely take up the option. It's the world's have-nots who are drawn to Europe - and the citizenships offered to outsiders are like winning the lottery. The average annual income in Serbia is around £3,700 a year, and the average Ukrainian worker earns just £1,500 annually.

Last month it emerged some 900,000 Moldovans with ethnic ties to Romania had applied for Romanian passports since the beginning of its scheme. Of those, around 120,000 applications have been approved and the remainder are being processed. The Romanian government claims it is simply giving back citizenship to people who were part of the country until 1940 when Moldova was invaded by Russia and annexed.

Romanian president Traian Basescu has said all Moldovans who think of themselves as Romanian – most of the country’s 3.6million population – should be able to ‘move freely both in Romania and the EU’.

Around 1.4million people living in Macedonia are eligible for Bulgarian passports, as are 300,000 Turks expelled from Bulgaria in the 1980s. Estimates put the total of all those eligible for EU citizenship from Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria at 4.7million. Were every one to take up the offer, it would increase the EU population – estimated at 500million – by 1 per cent.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘The new Government is determined to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands per year. 'The UK Border Agency will continue to monitor closely any changes in the numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians coming to the UK.’


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