IRELAND WILL MAINTAIN restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals working here for the next two years, the Government has announced.
The decision came as State enterprise agency Forfás warned that Ireland was already experiencing a “serious disturbance” in the jobs market thanks to the recession.
When Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, the relevant treaties set out a seven-year transition period before their citizens would automatically gain full employment rights in other EU nations.
From January 1 next year, countries can only restrict their access to jobs if they are already confronted with a “serious disturbance” in the labour market. The Government announced yesterday that it would be taking up this option – joining the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.
The Government said an analysis of the situation by Forfás concluded that Ireland was experiencing a serious labour market disturbance, which could be worsened by the lifting of restrictions.
At present, most citizens of Bulgaria and Romania require employment permits in Ireland until they have lived and worked here for a year.
Ireland is one of ten EU countries to have kept some restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals. Spain, which had opened its jobs market completely, reintroduced restrictions this year.
Unemployment in Ireland currently stands at 14.4 per cent, with the long-term unemployment rate increasing to 8.4 per cent over the last year.