The number of Romanians and Bulgarians living in the the UK has increased by a margin of 76% over the last two years, according to figures released today.
Restrictions on migrants from Romania and Bulgaria, known as the EU2, were lifted in 2014, triggering a rush in arrivals from the two countries.
The official figures show that there were 413,000 EU2 figures resident in the UK last year, an increase of 80% on the 234,000 living in the country in 2014.
Just 6,200 British ex-pats live in the two Eastern European countries.
Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007 but they were not given immediate unrestricted rights to live or work in the UK until 2014.
It is estimated that on average 328,400 EU2 citizens were resident in the UK from the start of 2014 to the end of 2016, of which 78% were Romanians and 22% were Bulgarians, according to the ONS analysis.
81% of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals living in the UK over the three years were aged between 16 and 64, and nearly four in five in employment.
Of those considered to be of working age, 4%, were estimated to be unemployed, 5% were estimated to be inactive due to study and 12% were “otherwise economically inactive”.
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Statisticians found that for both nationalities the most common employers are the distribution, hotels and restaurants industry and the construction sector, which together account for nearly half (46%) of the EU2 workforce.
Of Bulgarian citizens in employment in the UK, 18% work in banking and finance, while 14% of Romanian nationals are employed in the industry.
Rich Pereira, ONS deputy director for population statistics, said: ‘The picture of migration between the UK and the EU2 countries clearly shows a somewhat lopsided balance of movement, with the UK evidently proving an attractive labour market for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens since those countries’ full accession to the EU.
‘This presents an obvious area of concern for both those large numbers of citizens who have moved to the UK, and for the jobs they have been doing, as the UK continues its negotiations to leave the EU.’