The British Home Secretary John Reid may cut by half the number of jobs available for Romanian and Bulgarian workers after the accession of the two countries in the EU in January 2007.

According to The Sunday Times, quoting a secret Home Office document, Reid planned to force British agriculture employers to replace immigrant workers from non-EU countries such as Russia or Ukrain with Romanian and Bulgarian workers.

Reid’s argument, according to the newspaper, was that after the 2007 wave of enlargement Britain should use labor from EU countries, not from beyond the Union borders, according to European legislation.

But the move is opposed by food industry companies and farmers who threaten to protest the Government if forced to abandon seasonal workers from Russia or Ukraine, who’ve been working in the country for years, according to the newspaper. The pressure forced Reid to reduce the number of permits for Romanians and Bulgarians to 10,000 from the original 20,000 announced earlier this month.