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'Immigration flood hasn't happened'

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'Immigration flood hasn't happened'
Bulgarians heading west from a bus stop in Sofia. Photo: DPA
10:24 CET+01:00
The supposed flood of Romanians arriving in Germany this January has not happened, the country's embassy in Berlin has told The Local.

“There has been no great increase [in the numbers of Romanians arriving], but then we didn’t expect one either," a Romanian embassy spokeswoman said.

"I’ve spoken to our other consulates and they all said the same thing," she added.

January had not produced an increase in consular workload from Romanians arriving in the country needing help, the spokeswoman said.

“There’s been no noticeable difference compared to January 2013,” a spokeswoman said.

Travel and work restrictions imposed on the EU's poorest countries, Romania and Bulgaria, were lifted on January 1st, prompting populists to whip up fears of a huge influx of Romanian and Bulgarians to Germany where they can earn around five times as much as at home.

When asked by The Local, the Bulgarian Embassy in Berlin said it was unable to say yet whether it had seen an increase in its case load in January.

Official figures on the numbers of Bulgarians and Romanians to arrive since January 1st 2014 have yet to be published.

Data released by the Federal Employment Office last week showed an increase of 48 percent in the number of Bulgarians and Romanians claiming unemployment benefit in September 2013, compared with the year before.

But these figures still represent just 0.7 percent of claimants on Hartz IV unemployment benefits.

In the third quarter of 2013, the net increase in the number of Bulgarians in Germany was 7,250, while the corresponding figure for Romanians was 12,600.  

A census in 2012 showed that Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants were better educated than Germans, with 19 percent having a university degree compared to 14 percent of Germans.

Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, becoming the bloc's poorest members.

READ MORE: Germany mulls Bulgaria, Romania migrant influx

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