Home February 2009 House of Commons -Community Studies-Living Transnationally-Click for presentation

House of Commons -Community Studies-Living Transnationally-Click for presentation

by Ionela Flood

Romanca Society was invited to take part in a project aiming to rise awareness about the hidden communities in the UK .

The project was organised by Runnymede Trust ( www.runnymedetrust.org)with a starting point on specific academic research on each community.
The study for Romanian community was prepared by Andreea Torre’s and published on http://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/file/LivingTransnationally-2008.pdf
Andreea Torre study was focusing in the most recent Romanian migration into UK, using a qualitative method.

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney, chaired this event, taking place on 10 February, 5-7pm in the House of Common, London,UK.
The communities introduced in the seminar are chosen from over 200 ethnic minorities living in the multicultural British society. In this specific meeting were invited to take part Romanian, Moroccan, Thai, Nepalese and South African.

Photo Marcel Istrate

The audience consisted mainly of politicians and policy makers (national as well as local), civil servants, police, community organisation representatives and researchers. The main aim was to draw attention to the ways in which ethnic diversity in Britain is changing, and that a range of government policy agendas need to recognise the increasing diversity between and within minority ethnic groups. This diversity is in itself complex, not only in terms of a myriad of identities, but also in terms of experiences and trajectories. As a result, the the factors that influence migrants’ and BME socio-economic integration are composite and can differ from place to place, from group to group and from individual to individual. It follows, then, that there is an urgent need for policymakers and practitioners to better understand the complexity of factors that influence integration.

We had the chance to draw attention to the negative effects of work restrictions that are maintained this year for Romanians in UK.

I would like to give my thanks you to all that have supported this project and make it a success: Anreea Torre , Kjartan Sveinsson, Carmen Podgorean, Cristina Narcisa Nita,Bogdan Carpa Veche,Daniela Raileanu,Inno Brezeanu, Cristina Irimie, Istrate Marcel and to all our members of society that has inspired me.


You can see the notes for the speech below:


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Members of the House,

Dear Speakers and Guests,

I would like to express my thanks for being invited to speak on behalf of the Romanian community in the United Kingdom. We are just one of over 200 ethnic minorities currently living in the UK.

From the beginning, it is essential to note that historically, culturally and spiritually, Romania has always been part of the European family. As a result, Romanian citizens have been able to integrate into other European countries, and become a less visible ethnic community. Moreover, our Latin linguistic roots help us learn to speak English more easily.

The migration study, Living Transnationally that Andreea Torre presented at the beginning of the discussion focuses only on the recent aspects of the Romanian migration into the UK, but many of our ancestors have their gravestones in Hadrian’s Wall from the Roman invasion of Great Britain. Other traces of our forbears can be seen in the Column of Trajan, in Rome, as a testimony to their contribution to the wealth of the Roman Empire.

To see the whole picture of the last 2000 years of history, I have added a few geographic and historical notes of my own.

From being conquered by the Romans in 106 AD, Romania has gone through a long process of political maturity and finally gained its independence in 1877.

The last 100 years has taken Romania from a monarchy with King Carol the 1st of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen to a pernicious communist regime that started in 1947 and ended with a popular revolution against Ceausescu in 1989 – and that would lead to the democratic government of the present day.

From the 1st January 2007 Romania has been one of the 27 countries that are part of EU. We are a country in the heart of new Europe.

On 18th of December 2008, the British authorities communicated the decision to maintain the restrictions applied to the Romanian and Bulgarian labour force on Great Britain’s labour market.
The access of skilled and highly-skilled Romanian and Bulgarian workers will be permitted only with the fulfilment of the criteria imposed by British regulations. The low-skilled workers will be granted access on the labour market only if they obtain work permits under the seasonal agricultural workers scheme (SAWS) or the sector-based scheme (SBS) for food processing. For 2009, the authorities have decided to supplement by 5000 the places for Bulgarians and Romanians admitted to work in agriculture (from 16,250 places to 21,250) and approved a quota of 3,500 places for the sector-based scheme for food processing.
It is estimated that some 10% of the Romanian population (around 2 million) currently work outside the country, the bulk of this migration occurring in the early part of this decade. Already, there are signs that this migration has a cyclical outlook. Some Romanians are coming back after having worked for a couple of years abroad. Others take only seasonal employment abroad.

For cultural, linguistic and community reasons, Romanian migrants have overwhelmingly preferred Mediterranean or geographically close countries – Italy (29%), Spain (22%) and Germany (13%) – to other parts of Europe. There have also been some outflows to North America. A Report by the European Commission on Immigration, released on the 18th November 2008, shows that the UK is the preferred destination for Polish, Slovak and Lithunian citizens, whilst Romanians have mostly chosen Spain and Italy.

For cultural, historic and geographical reasons, the UK is not, nor has it ever been, a primary migration destination for Romanians. This view is supported by a recent International Organisation for Migration (IOM) survey in Bulgaria and Romania which found that only 5 per cent of the Romanian population surveyed would consider working in the UK.

The issue of restricted freedom of movement of labour has gained disproportionate weight in the public conscience, casting a shadow over an otherwise excellent relationship between Romania and the UK.

Romanian citizens, including those that settled in the UK a long time ago and fully integrated into British society, are unhappy about the restrictions and displeased by the idea of different treatment compared to the one applied to A-8 nationals.

Every responsible nation gathers up and promotes its values from fields such as science, education, and culture. Currently, there are 2,500 Romanian students in the UK, joined by an impressive number of researchers, professors, doctors, artists and architects. A significant number of Romanian nationals are bringing their direct contribution to the good functioning of the public services in the UK. There are almost 600 Romanian doctors and nurses working in the British national healthcare system.

However, it is disappointing to see that most of the media coverage of the Romanian community is of a less positive nature. Romanians in the UK overwhelmingly tend to be young: more than 70% are aged 18 – 35. This demographic is generally recognised as making minor demands on health and education services.

The employment rate among the Romanians in the UK is of 94%, which is more than 10% higher than the employment rate among the A-8 workers, and around 20% higher than the employment rate among the British nationals. An overwhelming majority of the Romanian nationals have paid taxes and social contributions in the UK whereas an insignificant number have claimed any support from the UK public system. Restricting the access to the labour market may drive some Romanians into the ‘grey’ economy with negative consequences as the Andreea Torre study concludes.

The Romanian community in the UK has already organised itself around local churches of various religious persuasions: Christian Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, and Baptists. Also, there are several Romanian associations working for the preservation of Romanian customs and traditions, just like our own organisation, together with a series of Romanian language newspapers.

Romania’s accession to the EU in January 2007 has benefits for both Romanian and British citizens, encouraging both cultural and economic exchanges.

There are over 3,000 British companies currently operating in Romania, with investment that total over 4 billion Euros.

Thus we the Romanca Society, strongly encourage the UK to support the successful integration of our nationals who have settled in the UK, in order that they may play a full part in the multicultural British society.

Ionela Flood,

Romanca Society


Seminar cu participarea romaneasca la Camera Comunelor in Londra.

Societatea Romanca din Londra Marea Britanie, a fost invitata recent sa ia parte intr-un proiect al carui scop este acela de a constientiza opinia publica asupra comunitatilor etnice mai putin vizibile in Marea Britanie.

Proiectul Studiul Comunitatii a fost organizat de catre Runnymede Trust (www.runnymedetrust.org) pornind de la studiile de cercetare conduse in mod specific pentru fiecare dintre comunitatile etnice minoritare invitate sa participe la eveniment.
In aceasta intilnire au fost inviatati reprezentanti ai comunitatilor marocane, filipineze, nepaleze si tailandeze carora s-a alaturat si cea romaneasca.

Studiul de cercetare a fost pregatit de Andreea Torre , doctorand la London School of Economics , folosind metoda calitative si fiind publicat pe:
Acest studiu isi concentreaza atentia pe migratia recenta a romanilor in Marea Britanie , de aceea concluziile studiului satisfac partial descifrarea mecanizmelor migratiei romanesti in Marea Britanie.

Comentariul din partea comunitatii romanesti a fost sustinut de catre Ionela Flood, Presedinta Societatii Romanca .

Meg Hillier, Deputat in Hackney, a prezitat aceasta intilnire ce a avut loc pe datea de 10 February, 5-7pm in House of Common, Londra.

Au fost invitati in special politicieni, factorii de decizie , functionari publici la nivel local si national, organizatii reprezentative si cercetatori, presa.

Scopul principal al intilnirii a fost acela de a atrage atentia asupra modului prin care cele 200 de etnii din Marea Britanie interactioneza in
diversitatea etnica, si cum in acest proces de schimbare este necesar a se recunoaste cresterea diversitatii dintre si in interiorul fiecarei minoritati etnice.
Aceasta diversitate este in sine complexa , nu numai in termenii multimii de identitati , dar deasemenea si in termenii experientei si traiectoriei.
Ca urmare factorii de influenta ai migratiei si ai integrarii in societatre multicultural britanica sunt complexi si pot diferi de la loc la loc ,de la grup la grup si de la individ la individ.
In concluzie sunt necesare de urgenta o legislatie si o politica activa pentru a intelege practica si complexitatatea factorilor care influenteaza migratia.

Aceasta participarea in panelul de discutii a oferit un prilej potrivit pentru a atentiona din nou asupra efectelor negative generate in comunitatea romanesca de mentinerea restrictiilor pentru dreptul de munca al romanilor in Marea Britanie .

Doresc sa multumesc tuturor celor care au sprijit acest proiect pentru a deveni un suces: Anreea Torre , Kjartan Sveinsson, Carmen Porgorean, Cristina Narcisa Nita,Bogdan Carpa Veche,Daniela Raileanu,Inno Brezeanu, Cristina Irimie, Istrate Marcel si tuturor membrilor societatii care m-au inspirat pentru pregatirea acestei participari.

Ionela Flood,

Societatea Romanca

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