Damian Green
Damian Green, warned that troops would be deployed at borders if civil servants don't work on 30 November due to impending strike.

In an attempt to curb immigration numbers, the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals will be extended till the end of 2013, according to the Immigration Minister, Damian Green.

The restrictions mean Bulgarian and Romanian (EU2) nationals who intend to seek employment in the UK, will continue to need permission from the UK Border Agency.

"Maintaining these controls will make sure migration benefits the UK and does not adversely impact on our labour market. The government is radically reforming the immigration system, and has already announced an annual limit on work visas and tough new rules for students to ensure net migration limit," Green said.

The decision favours the government's commitment to trim down employers' dependence on migrant workers, mainly for lower skilled jobs. This will encourage unemployed people to find work and acquire relevant skills to boost the economy.

Meanwhile, a report from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which analysed the effect on the domestic labour market if transitional controls were scrapped, found that abandoning current restrictions may perhaps encourage more EU2 nationals to seek employment in the UK, particularly for low-skilled jobs, where there is a big risk of dislocation of resident workers and adverse effect on wages.

"The Migration Advisory Committee has made a clear case for extending the existing restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians. This government has also made clear that we will always introduce transitional controls on all new EU member states as a matter of course," Green added.

Work permission will usually be granted where the worker has a particular job offer and work is in skilled employment for which the employer is struggling to find a more relevant and qualified resident worker.

Meanwhile, the quota-based arrangements for lower skilled jobs in the agricultural and food processing sectors which will stay at the same level for 2012 and 2013. However, the extension of restrictions does not affect the position of those who have already been authorised to take employment in the UK.