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Migrant Workers: Bulgaria and Romania

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what controls he plans to put in place to ensure that building workers coming from Bulgaria and Romania under the highly skilled migrant workers programme have the requisite skills. (108768)

[holding answer 13 December 2006]: The proposed Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 provide for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to be issued with a registration certificate giving access to the labour market if the Secretary of State is satisfied that they are highly skilled. They will be deemed to be highly skilled if they meet the criteria specified for the issuance of a document under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (http://www.workingintheuk.gov.uk/working_in_the_uk/en/homepage.html) or if they have been awarded qualifications specified in the Regulations.

Applications for a registration certificate on this basis will need to be accompanied by documentary evidence of qualifications, and in the case of applications that are to be considered against Highly Skilled Migrant programme criteria, other documentary evidence of previous earnings and employment.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what controls will be put in place to ensure that low-skilled workers from Bulgaria and Romania permitted to enter the UK to work in agriculture and food processing are restricted to that type of work. (108769)

[holding answer 13 December 2006]: The proposed Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 require Bulgarian and Romanian nationals intending to take employment in the United Kingdom to be in possession of a document confirming that they are authorised to work, except where they are exempt from the requirement to do so.

In the case of those coming to do agricultural work, this will take the form of a work card issued by an approved operator under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme. In the case of those coming to work in the food processing sector, it will take the form of an accession worker card issued on the basis that the employment has been approved under the criteria of the Sectors-Based Scheme.

In both cases, the document will specify the employer for whom the worker is authorised to work and will not confer permission to undertake other employment. If the holder engages in employment other than that specified on the document they will commit an offence.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what controls will be put in place to ensure that skilled workers from Bulgaria and Romania entering the UK will be employed only where there are no suitable UK applicants. (108770)

[holding answer 13 December 2006]: The proposed Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 require Bulgarian and Romanian nationals intending to take employment in the United Kingdom to be in possession of a document confirming that they are authorised to work, except where they are exempt from the requirement to do so.

In the majority of cases, the issue of such a document will be conditional upon the employer demonstrating that the employment meets existing work permit criteria. These criteria include requirements that the employer can demonstrate that he has made a genuine attempt to fill the vacancy with a suitably qualified worker from the resident labour market and that the jobholder will be remunerated with the going rate for the job.