French employers will no longer have to pay extra taxes to the government when hiring Romanian and Bulgarian nationals, following an announcement last week [22 August].
The tax can be as high as €1,800 (£1,420) per worker, restricting access for Romanians and Bulgarians to the French labour market.
The relaxation in the tax rules follows the dismantlement of a number of makeshift Roma (Gypsy) camps near Paris, Lyon and Lille earlier this month, and the deportation of around 240 Roma back to Romania. Both moves were criticised by human rights organisations and the European Commission.
The vast majority of the estimated 15,000 Roma migrants in France are from Romania, and the rest from Bulgaria. Both countries joined the EU in 2007.
France, the UK and six other EU countries have also maintained labour market barriers for workers from Bulgaria and Romania. France and other EU countries are mandated to open their labour markets to Romanians and Bulgarians in January 2014.
Romania’s foreign minister Titus Corlatean welcomed France’s decision to make it easier for Romanian immigrants to obtain work and residence rights. “We hope that France’s example will be followed by other Western European countries that are still limiting work rights for Romanians,” he said.