Ambassador criticizes UK over Bulgarian, Romanian workers

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Romania's acting ambassador to the United Kingdom, Raduta Matache, has criticized the UK's decision to keep their labor market closed to workers from Romania and Bulgaria.

"I still have to get a convincing explanation from a British official why they are imposing restrictions on a people who are not coming here, who do not have the UK as the prevalent destination," she told BBC Radio.

Figures released in August showed that 3,990 Romanians and Bulgarians came to work in Britain during between April and June of 2007, a 21 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2007. The figures included those who were self-employed and self-sufficient -- an additional 3,980 were issued permits under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS).

Most of the migration influx to Britain since the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 and 2007 came from countries such as Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Matache expressed "regret" to Liam Byrne, Britain's Immigration Minister, stating that Romanians accounted for less than 1 percent of the migrant workers in the UK.

She said the continuing exclusion of Romanian and Bulgarian workers is a symbolic gesture in response to the government's gaff at under-estimating migration figures.