The Bulgarian Invasion of the UK: Reloaded BG Careers Fair @UK
BG Careers Fair @UK

Failure of the Bulgarian and Romanian hordes to arrive in the UK

As one of the people behind the For Equal Students Rights of Bulgarian and Romanian students campaign that started in the end of 2012, I have followed the immigration debate in the UK very closely. Since January 1st 2014, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals do not face any restrictions when it comes to access the labor market of any member state of the EU. The reason is that the transition period, as per the Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria and Romania has now lapsed. Some people in the UK were expecting a large influx of immigrants (or were pretending to expect for political gains). However judging by the initial reactions that failed to materialize. In fact, according to the Romanian ambassador, fewer than 30 Romanians have arrived since January 1st with the intention to work in the UKIt seems that the majority of the hordes of Bulgarians and Romanians have failed to arrive.

Bulgarian and Romanian student numbers in the UK 

At the same time, in mid January, the Higher Education Statistics Agency published its newest release regarding student enrolments in the UK in 2012/2013. According to Table 5 there were 6460 Romanian students and 6060 Bulgarian students in the UK in 2012/2013. It is interesting to note that as evident in Table 5a, while there was a significant increase of first year Bulgarian students in Scotland in 2012/2013 (550, +26% compared to 2011/2012), both the number of first year Bulgarian and Romanian students in the UK in 2012/2013 has decreased when compared to 2011/2012. In fact, in 2012/2013 there were a total of 2300 Bulgarian first year students (-9% compared to 2011/2013) and 2480 Romanian first year students (-13%). Therefore, there is a noticeable trend of reduction, as well as a shift of interest from England and Wales towards Scotland, possibly due to the rise of tuition fees in the former two countries.  

Bulgarian Careers Fair in the UK

While the numbers of first year Bulgarian and Romanian students are going down, the ones that are about to graduate or have graduated already have started to show a substantial interest in returning back home. A group of Bulgarian students in the UK (including myself) have organized a Bulgarian Careers Fair in the UK. It is organized by students, for students with the assistance of the Bulgarian Embassy in London, the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in London, as well as a number of NGOs (United Ideas for Bulgaria, Tuk-Tam, back2bg etc). 

It is running for a second consecutive year and is scheduled to take place on the 8th March 2014 in London and the 9th March in Edinburgh. A number of leading companies working in Bulgaria and specialized in different areas have already confirmed their participation and are interested in attracting highly-qualified individuals with international education and/or experience. In addition to an open careers fair, there will also be the possibility for individual interviews, as well as a number of company presentations, seminars and workshops aiming at successful professional development etc. The companies and organizations that have confirmed their attendance so far include: VMware, First Online Solutions, Questers Group, EY Bulgaria, Telus International, Despark, Publicis, Marc Group, Bulwork, Uni2Pro, Zaedno v chas (Teach for Bulgaria), back2bg, Tuk-Tam etc. 

You can get more information about the forum on our website , as well as on Facebook. The event will be free to attend, however all Bulgarian students and young professionals are invited to sign-up for the event online

Events such as the Bulgarian Careers fair in the UK show that British people should not be worried about a Bulgarian invasion. In fact, they should be worried that the Bulgarian students themselves are actively pursuing professional development back home. Could this be the spark of a new brain-drain in the opposite direction?  

Edited by: Lisa Enocsson