Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

The EU’s role in UK immigration

Just a quick note for future reference, as most people who blame the EU for “uncontrollable” immigration (*ahem* UKIP *ahem*) tend not to know what they’re talking about – but also tend not to believe anything you say unless it’s from an “unbiased” (read, “eurosceptic”) source.

As such, from today’s Daily Mail – one of the most fervently anti-EU newspapers in the UK:

“Officers told the migrants that, under EU rules, if they haven’t worked for the last three months they can removed from their host country…

“People from EU countries have a right to travel freely in the EU and can live in the UK for up to three months if they can support themselves.

“After that time, they can only stay in the country if they are working, they are registered students or they are self-supporting.”

See also the (eurosceptic) Daily Telegraph:

“Migrants who have not found work and are sleeping rough will be deported because they are not protected by the EU rules on right to free movement…

“Under EU rules, citizens have the right to stay in another member state for up to three months but after that time they must be able to support themselves either through working, studying or be self-sufficient.

“If not, they can be deported to avoid them becoming a burden on the state and taxpayer.”

And more from the decidedly anti-EU Daily Express:

“Migrants from EU countries can travel freely in the EU and live in the UK for up to three months with no questions asked if they have the funds.

“After that they are only ­entitled to stay here if they are working, are registered students or are self-supporting.”

And finally the (violently anti-EU) Daily Star:

“People from European Union countries can travel in the EU and live in the UK for up to three months.

“After that, they can only stay here if they are working, registered students or self-supporting.”

(And yes, it’s safe to say that I never thought I’d use the Mail, Express and Star to prove a point about the EU…)


  1. You know, I’ve this terrible feeling that this is bullshit.

    There are two entirely different groups of “EU citizens” at present. There are those from the newly joined countries and there are those from the old 15.

    I have this very strong feeling (and sure, if I’m wrong, please do shoot me down) that the 3 month limit applies only to the newly joined countries. Those who are “fully EU” do not face such a limit.

  2. Can’t be bothered to dig into proper sources at the moment, but Wikipedia seems to think not:

    “Member States can distinguish between nationals and Union citizens but only if the provisions satisfy the test of proportionality. Migrant EU citizens have a “legitimate expectation of a limited degree of financial solidarity… having regard to their degree of integration into the host society” Length of time is a particularly important factor when considering the degree of integration.”

    Sounds to me like there’s some kind – ill-defined – time-limit anyway. The “degree of integration” is an especially interesting one. Unable to speak the local lingo and trying to scab off the state? Grounds for deportation, I’d say.

  3. (Hugely over-simplified, that, naturally. But not as much as UKIP policy simplifies the immigration situation…)

  4. “You know, I’ve this terrible feeling that this is bullshit.”

    Self-referential comment ahoy!

    It’s certainly true that if you are economically inactive and want to move to France from *any* EU country, you need to demonstrate that you are self-supporting or be removed.

    Therefore, either the UK does the same as France for all EU citizens, or it chooses not to do the same despite the fact that it’s allowed to do the same as France under EU law (in which case, the UK government is solely responsible and the EU not at all responsible for that choice).

  5. Tim Worstall, of course, lives in Portugal. He’s very happy to take advantage of the freedom of movement the EU gives us, while campaigning to have it taken away from everyone else.

  6. “Tim Worstall, of course, lives in Portugal. He’s very happy to take advantage of the freedom of movement the EU gives us, while campaigning to have it taken away from everyone else.”

    Have a look at the names on the bottles of Port next time you’re in hte supermarket. English people have been coming to live in Portugal for centuries before the existence of the EU.

    Just to rub the point in, I’ve also lived and worked in Russia and I’ve also lived and worked in the US. Places we don’t have ever closer union with.

  7. I am not particularly comfortable with the present UKIP policies over immigration, face coverings or Britishness, it is beginning to sound like the BNP on these issues.

  8. Tim Worstall, of course, never had the right to live and work in the US or in Russia. He has the right to live in Portugal. He wants to take it away from the rest of us.

  9. Again, no. People from EEA and EFTA states also have the right to live and work in all such states. It isn’t necessary to have political union in order to have free movement of labour.

  10. Tim – as I pointed out to you in a similar discussion just the other day – you’re stating the obvious @9.

    The EU isn’t politically unified, so *of course* you don’t need political union to have free movement of labour.

  11. Ukip are simply anti-immigration, Poles or Pakistanis and other awful Muslims in their veils. They just don’t like foreigners, a bit of anti-EU rhetoric hides their blushes.
    Ukip, and other anti-immigration types (usually on green and Malthusian grounds), do have one point, though. Britain’s political class has ducked having a debate over immigration, from the EU and beyond, on the ground that Britons are too vicious and stupid to have it.
    Immigration then legitimates the idea of an enlightened authority versus the dangerous masses while still allowing the government to scapegoat immigrants for Britain’s infrastructure failings. This pattern tends to be played out elsewhere in the EU.
    Most EU countries have regrettable registration schemes, for residency and identity purposes, where means of support, especially for social security, must be shown. In practice, in countries such as Belgium, such ID schemes restrict freedom of movement by making life difficult for foreigners. All EU countries reserve the right to reintroduce border controls in the event of mass movements of people or if “public safety” warrants it.
    Europeans are rather glib and parochial because the limited free movement within the EU’s Schengen area also comes at a price for people outside it. Schengen has ushered in a new era of surveillance, fingerprinting and repression for millions of non-Europeans (human beings nonetheless).
    It also has civil liberties implications for the rest of us (injustice usually does) from biometric passports to fast-track arrest warrants and the rise and rise of the securocrats who are so at home in the EU’s administrative labyrinths.

  12. It goes back to the fact that we are unsuited to this project .
    Yes, there is room for manouver in the EU rules – but our civil service and politicians cannot take advantage of it.
    So if we were out of the EU, we would have less problems with these new migrants.

  13. Given that UKIP is second only to the BNP in anti-immigration stupidity, I think it is fair to say that Tim is a hypocrite for being a member of that party.

    And why is he bringing up the EEA? Obviously he wants us to leave the EU, but does he want us to leave it for the EEA?? Become a fax democracy?!

  14. This is pretty much the situation, the rights are detailed in the Citizen’s Rights Directive 2004/38.

    In the UK, for the big bang eastern European countries (“A8” countries, which are basically the 2004 joinees minus Malta and Cyprus), people have to register their work and changes in employment with the Home Office for a certain period (perhaps 5 years, but I’m not 100% sure of that). For Romania and Bulgaria, the rules are much, much stricter, and the options are pretty much student or self-employed (I think there might be a high skilled worker application, which requires forms from the home country, but I’m not sure on that).

  15. You will find quite a few Romanians and Bulgarians working on building sites,warehouses, transport,farming etc. When asked , they will say I have got a National Insurance number.
    Who is giving permision for them to be issued with NI ?

  16. Robin, there’s this wonderful thing called the internet these days. You can find these things out yourself from a website called Google. First result for a search for national insurance numer eligibility? This.

    It’s not hard to get a national insurance number. Nor should it be – because without one, you can’t get taxed.

    Or would you prefer that foreign nationals work in the UK illegally?

  17. Immigration into the UK is the big elephant in the room – the Leftwing people of course largely ignore it, while the Rightwingers make out this elephant to be whole herd of stampeding elephants.

  18. Nosemonkey,

    Those foreign nationals are working illegally, funnily enough with the connivance of our bureacracy .
    When there`s malpractise about, and the EU at the bottom of it, Google doesn`t highlight it.

  19. Erm… Didn’t you say that they had national insurance numbers? If so, then why do you say that they’re working illegally?

  20. Hi, Robin,

    Thanks very much for your support – I’m happy to say my wife’s application for permanent residence in the UK was successful.

    But it certainly wasn’t easy. The whole process cost over two thousand pounds (including paying for the application, translation costs and lawyer’s fees), and we had to prove that we had the resources to support ourselves in the UK (i.e. we had to prove we wouldn’t need state benefits). I have no idea if Britain was a “soft touch” on immigration in the past, but it certainly isn’t now.

    My wife is a highly skilled migrant (she’s working on her PhD), speaks fluent English and we won’t need to apply for benefits in the UK. Of course, she’s not an EU national (she’s South African), and the situation is obviously easier for migrants with EU passports.

    However, it cuts both ways. I’m living and studying in Italy hassle-free because of my EU passport. If I feel like it, I can hop across the border to Austria (only a couple of hours on the train) and apply for work there. I don’t even have to change money – which is always a massive hassle whenever I visit a non-Eurozone country.

    Isn’t your line of work freight transport? You must find yourself crossing borders all the time, without getting asked for your work permit. That’s got to be worth something.

  21. Nosemonkey,

    That`s the point. They should not be given NI numbers, but they they have them . Why ?


    Glad to see your wife can make her home here .
    For me, past Empire/Commonwealth countries should have a higher priority to come here than European countries who have little connection with the UK. Although I`m happy that you are suited at present, unfortunately it does not make the whole situation acceptable .

    I dont cross borders anymore (the permits used to be for the truck, not drivers, who may have needed special visas ). This is due to being in the EU and our civil servants incompetence in dealng with it.

  22. Robin – why shouldn’t they? National Insurance numbers mean that they can work legally in this country (contributing to this country’s economy). Which means that they can pay taxes in this country (contributing to this country’s state finances).

    Why on earth would you want to prevent someone from working legally and paying taxes if they want to?

    (Oh, and you really ought to look up the definition of the word “illegal”, by the sound of things. It doesn’t mean “something I personally disapprove of”.)

  23. The bad immigration policy we’ve had in the last 13 years has not been down to the EU per se or even most of the immigrants, but the companies and their government cronies who wanted cheaper and easier to control labour on tap. Populalist parties like the outright fascist BNP and the comparatively toned down (but still nutty) UKIP are not the answer, you honestly think the influx of hundreds of thousands people a year into the creaking, densely populated UK is a good idea? Especially when the economy has imploded and there’s not many jobs going.

    Until very recently, Germany and France did let in that many economic workers from the less developed EU member states. However at least Polish plumbers, builders, and electricians put more into the UK economy than Cadbury’s did by relocating its factory to Poland.

  24. Nosemonkey,

    1) Are Romanian and Bulgarian nationals allowed to work in the UK ?

    2) Did not the Government say it would not give full accession rights to RO and BG citizens for a number of years ?

    I do hear a lot of people saying that Tony Blair took us into an “illegal war “. If that is so it shows the Government can act illegally .

  25. The Polish people by and large seem honest and hard working enough, even if many of them are given lower wages by the corporate slugs and cramed into bad accomodation by sleazy landlords. Romanians and Bulgarians seem less common since even the government felt it was more trouble than it was worth, with the Romany Gypsies mixed with the regular Romanians and Bulgarians.

    And Britain has opened its borders with little consent from the public, but however that said our cheaper, faster, and widespread transportation makes closing the borders difficult to do without cutting off our noses to spite our faces, degenerating into a xenophobic hermit kingdom.

  26. Big Orange,

    I fail to see why a nation that is an island would have much difficulty in policing its borders and dealing with bogus asylum seekers ,foreign criminals, benefit and NHS tourists .
    Unless that nation has become enmeshed into the EU.

  27. Robin – you can’t see why an island with a coastline so long that no one can even agree how long it is (estimates varying between 11,000 and 19,500 miles) might have trouble stopping people pulling up at night in a secluded cove?

    Seriously – how can we effectively police a border that’s ten times the length of that between the US and Mexico? I’d be genuinely fascinated to hear.

  28. Robin – Sorry, just noticed your previous comment (@24).

    Off the top of my head, on the Romania/Bulgaria question, they joined the EU in 2007, and if I recall there was a two year delay on being granted full rights – so they should have them now. This may, however, have been extended, as no one’s been overly happy with Romania and Bulgaria’s EU accession. (I’m on record as saying that neither should have been allowed to join due to a combination of their poorly-developed economies and suspect human rights and justice records.)

    On the “illegal war” front, there’s a major difference between accusations of someone breaching accepted international law on the justification for military action, and accusations of something being illegal because you don’t like it.

  29. Nosemonkey,

    It`s not just illegal because I dont agree with it (the example about the Iraq war a case in point – I agreed with it ). It is how our bureacracy is actually making even a government pledge into an illegality .I know this is hard to accept when you beleive we are in a democracy and the rule of law should prevail , but if it the least line of resistance for public servants and the electorate is ignorant of it or can soon forget it, then a bit of subterfuge does not go amiss in their minds . And usually the EU is behind it .

    As regarding our borders, they are not a land border like the US/Mexico border.And as you are surely aware, the illegals mainly come over in the English Channel.In the back of lorries.
    Then once they`re here, if they are given NI numbers and any benefits, that obviously proves the powers that be are not going to consider their actions illegal. An odd state of affairs dont you agree ?

  30. Robin, until you present *any* evidence whatsoever for any of your assertions about “illegality” or illegal immigrants being given National Insurance numbers, I’m afraid I’m going to give up on this one. Logic doesn’t work with you, facts don’t work either, so I don’t think this is a discussion worth pursuing any further.

  31. Nosemonkey,

    Dont give up – just go to building sites etc and you can see for yourself.
    Perhaps I should have taken photos and shopped them , but I ve had dealings with the Immigration Service before.
    Dont know why you mention facts and logic like that . It looks as though you dont want to really debate about the EU , and therefore it`s no good coming here to test EUroscepticism .

  32. Robin,

    I don’t think Nosemonkey wants you to stop coming here and testing your arguments. I think he’s just saying you’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

  33. *bangs head against desk*

    Robin, how can a photo of a random builder on a building site prove *anything* about their nationality, immigration status, or anything else?

    A few basics:

    1) Just because someone has a foreign accent doesn’t mean that they’re here illegally.

    2) Just because you *say* someone is here illegally does not mean that they are here illegally.

    3) You started off asking about the right of Romanians and Bulgarians to work in the UK, but have still not done a simple Google search to find the answer yourself. (Clue: It’s here.)

    All of your other misunderstandings have stemmed from this one problem – your lack of knowledge. Yet you show no interest in finding out the answer to your own question, instead continuing to assert something that appears to be based on little more than a personal prejudice.

    This means that we never really engage in a debate – we only ever have arguments. And they’re rarely constructive ones, despite my best efforts.

    Finally, euroscepticism is about disagreeing with certain things about how the EU functions – it has nothing whatsoever to do with assuming that any Romanian or Bulgarian you see on a building site is working in the UK illegally.

  34. Nosemonkey, Robin,

    I feel a little like me and Nosemonkey are playing Good Cop / Bad Cop with Robin. How about we try and find out if we’re just going round and round in circles here, or if this really ia a productive debate?

    Robin: In the years you’ve been reading this blog, has Nosemonkey ever managed to change you mind on an issue of EU politics? Even slightly? You say you read his blog to test your euroscepticism… well – has he ever managed to convince you of something?

    If, in all this time, he’s never changed your attitude once – then we’re probably arguing round and round in circles and this isn’t a valuable exercise. If, however, you coming with an open mind to test other arguments you’ve heard, then this is a useful debate (although you should TELL Nosemonkey if he ever convinces you of something, otherwise he’ll think he’s arguing with a brick wall).

    It goes without saying that I could ask the same question of Nosemonkey.However, I suspect he’ll say he’s always found the eurosceptic influence an important part of the debate on Europe. Can’t be bothered to link to the exact post right now (which is what Nosemonkey was just being critical of) – but he has said it in the past.

    P.S. By the way, I’m not talking about you suddenly converting into a screaming Europhilia here. I’m just wondering if you ever find Nosemonkey convincing.

  35. Some appalling typos in that last post, apologies. My excuse: I was very, very hungry when I wrote it and my dinner was sitting on the table waiting to be eaten…

  36. I’ve been following Robin’s comments over several different articles Nosemonkey as written and there’s a common formula to it:

    1) Robin asserts that X is a cause of or responsible for Y

    2) a replier points out that evidence E contradicts the assertion

    3) Robin asserts that event Z (typically anecdotal) proves X is the cause of Y and then goes on to question/ignore the veracity of evidence E

    4) someone points out that Z is completely unrelated

    5) Robin invents a new event Z or reiterates X by rewording the original statement and makes an Ad Hominem attack on the replier of varying severity

    6) Go to 1)

    Complete and utter waste of time arguing with him, not once have I *ever* seen him back up anything he asserts with fact as if the Burden of Proof somehow never rests with him.

    Robin says: “the earth is flat because you can’t fall off it”

    Nosemonkey says: “it is not flat, look at the horizon”

    Robin says: “I have been all over the world and never fallen off it, and anyway, how do you know the horizon isn’t there simply because we can’t see that far?”

    Nosemonkey says: “how does travelling all over the world disprove my theory? the earth is huge and has a center of gravity”

    Robin says: “Just walk over the world and see for yourself, I guess you don’t really want to debate over the shape of the earth”

  37. Can I say a word in Robin’s defence? When I posted a bit on the EU Referendum site, he supported me against an otherwise hostile crowd, so I feel I should return the favour. He’s also given me a spot of immigration advice in this thread.

    Robin himself would probably admit he’s said some outrageous things here (the first discussion I had with him he was calling for all civil servants to be hung). But I have to say, I wouldn’t want Robin to stop commenting. He’s become almost as much an author of this blog as Nosemonkey. Robin is Nosemonkey’s evil twin (or good twin, I suppose, if you’re anti-EU).

    If I look at eursceptic blogs like EU Referendum – there are hardly ever any pro-EU comments. Anyone who does say anything supportive of the EU risks being torn to pieces (although they treated me well enough when I was still making up my mind about the EU). I wouldn’t want that to happen to the pro-EU blogosphere. We need eurosceptics, because we need open debate and criticism about the EU.

    That is all.

  38. There’s a lot of weird prejudice against the European Union in the UK. Not much of it is based on facts.

    Funny help to know who you want to vote for (deep down):

    Beware though. I wonder if this has been paid for by David Cameron.

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