UK authorities published on Thursday the first official balance on Romanian and Bulgarian citizens who wish to work in the Kingdom, after the two countries joined the European Union on January 2007.

Some 8,000 citizens from both countries received access on the British labor market during the first three months of the year, a public announcement on the UK Embassy in Bucharest informs.

5,075 of the candidates demanded approval for specific jobs, 2,660 were self-employed and 2,425 were season workers in agriculture. Only 200 Romanians and Bulgarians arriving in the UK declared they have the means to support themselves without working.

Circus artists, chefs and musicians were the main occupations of the Romanian immigrants.

In total figures, the number of immigrants in the UK decreased after Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU.

According to daily The Guardian, 49,000 demands for jobs were submitted during the first quarter of 2007 from East European countries, 16,000 less than Q4 in 2006. Poland still provides 70% of all East European immigration demands.

"It is too early to evaluate the full impact of Romania's and Bulgaria's accession to the EU, but the preliminary data shows that our restrained access policy for the labor market guarantees out country that only those who have something to offer get the right to work here", said the Immigration state secretary, Liam Byrne.

The Sun and other newspapers heavily campaigned against Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants, often describing Romanians as "Europe's gypsies" and fearing massive immigration waves.