As the UK prepares to lift working restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians, Birmingham City University – in association with BBC Radio 4 – is hosting a public debate to explore wider immigration issues.

From 1 January 2014, migrants from Romania and Bulgaria will be able to work freely across Europe in countries such as the UK, Spain and Germany. Previously restrictions have been in place whereby migrants from these two countries could only work in the UK if they were self-employed or doing seasonal jobs such as fruit picking.

Posing the question “Is there such a thing as too much immigration?” the debate will be held at Birmingham Conservatoire on Tuesday 17 December at 6.30pm.

A recent report by Think-tank, Democracy Institute, predicted that at least 385,000 migrants will move to the UK from Bulgaria and Romania over the next five years. The report warns that Britain will be opening its borders to a “not insignificant, uneducated, unskilled group” planning to “avail themselves of the smorgasbord of government-provided benefits.

However the European Commission have hit back at reports stating immigrants to Britain from European Union countries have paid far more in tax than they received in benefits and therefore are an economic bonus. The European Commission has claimed because migrant workers tend to be young and active, they generally contribute more in taxes than they cost in public services.

For the high-profile debate, BBC Radio 4’s Ritula Shah, will bring together migration experts, academics and members of the public, to explore and discuss whether there is any real benefit for the UK when it comes to immigration

EU Flag - FreeFoto.com

EU Flag – FreeFoto.com

Paul Collier, the distinguished Oxford economist, and David Goodhart, Director of the think tank Demos, have both recently published controversial books challenging the traditional thinking of the liberal left on immigration. The two men will go head to head with Migrant Voice Director Nazek Ramadan and Susie Symes, Chair of the Museum of Immigration and Diversity, in front of a live audience in one of the country’s most diverse cities – Birmingham.

Immigration: Good for whom? will take place on Tuesday 17 December 2013 . The FREE event will be hosted at Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, B3 3HG, at 6.30pm. The debate will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 1 January 2014 at 20:00.

Register for your ticket at Eventbrite. For further information on the City Talks series or to see highlights from previous talks visit our webpage.

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