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France – Government to lift some labour restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians

24 August 2012

The Government announced this week that some of the restrictions weighing on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens willing to take employment in France would be lifted in the autumn, according to the Minister of housing, Cécile Duflot, following a governmental meeting on the topic.

The decision was prompted by the public uproar resulting from the recent crackdown on illegal Roma settlements. The government acknowledges that the dire state of poverty these Bulgarian and Romanian citizens encounter in France was caused by the current restrictions on their access to local jobs. Furthermore, the evacuations of illegal sites were heavily criticised by the European Commission that summoned the French government to find a humane outcome to the situation.

The Government has announced it was going to lift the blanket  €400 tax imposed on employers hiring Bulgarian and Romanian workers; and “significantly” opening up the job categories that Bulgarians and Romanians can apply for. Furthermore, it will consult with Bulgarian and Romanian authorities prior to taking any further decision. Nevertheless, the need for Bulgarian and Romanian workers to obtain a work permit has been maintained, prompting Roma people community representative to say the government stopped half way on its way to opening up the job market.

Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, but with a seven-year transition period before their nationals were allowed to get full access to the labour markets of other member states. This year, the Irish, Norwegian, and Italian governments decided to lift restrictions, well ahead of the official deadline of January 2014. 

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