Interesting - the government's Migration Advisory Committee are running a consultation on whether the UK should renew or abolish its labour market controls on people from Romania and Bulgaria.
They note that: "The Government is obliged by EU law to notify the European Commission if it intends to maintain labour market restrictions on nationals of Romania and Bulgaria beyond January 2009."
The list of questions they sent us in the post are below.
If it weren't for rising unemployment, and the fact that Brown was traditionally more in favour of the controls than Blair, we would have thought it was a cert that the restrictions would have been lifted - but now? Hard to say.
What do you think?
Questions for MAC work on Bulgaria and Romania
Policy and economic context
1. What would be sensible policy objectives in terms of deciding whether or not to lift the restrictions (eg. maximise GDP per head, fill skill gaps etc)?
2. What was the economic rationale for current restrictions placed on Bulgaria and Romania (A2)? Have the economic and other circumstances that provided a basis for the current A2 restrictions changed, and how?
3. What restrictions are in place in other EU countries (A2 and A8) and how and when may that change in the future?
4. How have restrictions in other countries affected the magnitude and characteristics of A2 (and A8) migration flows into the UK?
5. What happened to flows of in and out migration in countries that opened up their borders to A8 migrants and those who did not? How did the policies on A8 interact across countries?
Labour market context
6. What type labour (skill, experience, qualifications and education levels) is available in the A2 countries? Which workers will want to come to the UK?
7. What is the economic situation in A2 countries and how might this affect the potential supply of A2 labour? What can we learn from our experience of the A8?
8. Is there evidence of labour shortage (low skilled or other) or a mismatch between supply and demand in the UK that A2 workers may help to address?
9. How might the current and likely future economic and labour market context in the UK affect the demand for, and impact of, A2 workers?
Methodology and conceptual framework
10. What are the key theories of migration flows and effects? For example, key push and pull factors, or network effects. Can these theories help to predict the effects of lifting the restrictions?
11. What have been the impacts of the current A2 restrictions on the number and type of A2 (and other) immigrants coming to work in the UK, legally or illegally?
12. What have been the labour market and other economic impacts of restrictions on the employment of A2 and A8 nationals (or lack thereof) in other EU countries?
13. What is the likely impact of the lifting of restrictions on the number and type of A2 workers wanting to come to the UK?
14. What is the likely impact of lifting the restrictions on particular (low skilled or other) labour shortages (reducing or exacerbating them)?
15. What is the likely impact of lifting the restrictions on wider economic variables (eg. GDP per head, fiscal position etc)? What happened in the case of A8?
Policy considerations and recommendation
16. How would a decision on A2 affect the working and effectiveness of the PBS (including the work of the MAC)?
17. What are the likely impacts on the A2 countries of the UK lifting, not lifting or partially lifting restrictions?
18. Should restrictions on A2 workers be lifted, not lifted, or partially lifted? If partially lifted, then how? If not covered above, what is the basis for this belief?