The Government today released figures, which showed that the number of workers from the new EU Member States registered in the UK has exceeded their initial estimates.
This was something which UKIP's Nigel Farage was quick to seize on, blasting the figures “nothing short of an outrage.”
According to Home Office statistics, around 232,000 applicants from eight countries - Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the three Baltic states - have registered under a special scheme, allowing them to work in Britain. The scheme was set up before the May 2004 enlargement to prevent abuse of the UK's social benefit system.
“UKIP has said over and again that we have lost control of our borders. The government tried to ignore us but now the truth is out. The only way we can get out of this mess is to take back control of our own borders instead of allowing Brussels to dictate who and who cant come to our country,” said Farage.
However, the news is not as devastating as UKIP would have you believe. The scheme set up to monitor these workers has helped the British economy remain the strongest in Europe. The new workers have filled a valuable role in helping British industry remain competitive.
The employees from the new member states are mostly employed in factories (41,000) and restaurant kitchens (12,000), taking jobs the British employers have found hard to fill. They are overwhelmingly young - between 18 and 34 - and rarely claim social benefits. In total, around 1,700 people have applied for benefits (out of 232,000), and only 50 claims have been considered further.
All the while the UK continues to have a booming economy and record low levels of unemployment.
Source: EUobserver UKIP