What Would You Choose? The Practical Choices Faced by Romanians

Throughout this blog series, I have introduced you to the situation of Romanian Roma migrants working in London, their profiles, and the main challenges facing these migrants while they are trying to make a living in the UK.

Highlighting the current situation of Romanian Roma in London is important because these individuals are legally stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not only do they not have the right to work or a clear path to legalisation, they are facing harsh discrimination made worse by the stereotypes and denigrating images in the tabloid press of the Romanian Roma coming to cheat the system.

Whether a student migrant, day labourer or night worker, whatever the status of these Romanian migrants or the stage at which their application for a work permit is, they face some serious questions that don’t have easy solutions. But, the question is do these migrants have any options once arrived in their host country, like the UK? Here are some of their options, which we leave with you to ponder over:

Stay in UK

1. Apply for work permit and work legally

2. Go underground and work illegally

 Because being refused a self-employment application or access worker card means:

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  • No right to employment
  • No earnings, and therefore no basic costs met
  • Unable to maintain contact with family abroad due to lack of money
  • Venture into other venues, such as unseen work sector – e.g. night work
  • Poor living conditions and eventually homelessness
  • No rights to invite or register a spouse/family
  • Not possible to pay the Income Tax or receive tax credits
  • Rights to free movement threatened after three months of residence with no work


Return to Romania

3. Contact UK official and get assistance in return

4. Save money and attempt to travel home 

No option, but return to my home country:

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  • Face the destitute situation at home
  • Not being able to pay the bills
  • No future prospect in my country
  • Eventually, return to the UK – chances are I will find low paid work, but better paid than home


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