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Ireland to Block Bulgarian, Romanian Workers Too

Date: 30.08.2006

Ireland's government is planning a block on Bulgarian and Romanian tourists, the Irish Independent wrote in a report on Saturday.

Under the title "Doors Shut for Migrants," the paper says that the country is mulling ending its open-door policy for workers from the two countries.

Government sources had told the paper that Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and Justice Minister Michael McDowell want to introduce special work permits for Bulgarians and Romanians.

"The standard of living in Bulgaria and Romania is so far below the other access countries we would be swamped by workers seeking jobs here," a source told the paper. MPs fear that if they allow too many migrant workers in Ireland, voters may withdraw their support.

Still they have underlined that the policy on Bulgaria and Romania wouldn't influence the country's stance on Polish workers, who currently total about 100 000.

Ahern himself shared his fears about Balkan workers in May by saying that he'd "have to eventually look at Bulgaria and Romania but I'd rather see my colleagues being a bit more advanced."

Debates in Britain on whether workers from the two countries should be allowed in have also been going on for a while, and it seems that the government there is set on restricting the open-doors policy too.

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