Healthcare services in Northern Ireland are turning to Romanian workers to fill job vacancies after restrictions on the UK labour market were lifted.
UK employers are advertising 5,000 positions on Tjobs.ro, a Romanian website which claims to help 160,000 find work.
As the first Romanians and Bulgarians with unrestricted access to the UK labour market started to arrive yesterday, Tjobs.ro was advertising 80 positions in Northern Ireland – all in healthcare
That is four times more than the 20 jobs up for grabs in Wales, but a tiny fraction of the 4,896 jobs advertised as available in England. There were 24 in Scotland.
Among the jobs being advertised in Northern Ireland are 20 nursing positions. The website said it had received eight applications for the £21,000-£30,000 jobs. Another 20 jobs for private sector care workers are being advertised – 14 had applied for the jobs, which pay £12-13 per hour.
Forty positions are also advertised for registered general nurses/mental health nurses, also paying £12 per hour.
All the jobs require qualifications and experience.
Workers from Romania and Bulgaria are now able to work freely in the UK after temporary labour restrictions were lifted under EU Treaty rules.
But Raluca Stefanescu, of Tjobs, said a major influx was unlikely because many of the Romanians who wanted to move to the UK were already here.
"Most of the Romanians (who travel to the UK) choose to leave the country for economic reasons, and according to our statistics more than 80% are planning to come back," she said.
Romanian Honorary Consul in Britain, Roxana Carare, said there was demand for Romanian and Bulgarian labour.
"The reason is they are highly skilled. They have developed in a country that has not been at the top of the EU for economic progress, so they have had to develop manual skills," she said.
Of the eight other countries whch imposed similar curbs as the UK, Austria had 245 jobs advertised on Tjobs.ro; Belgium 25; France 591; Germany 2,055; Luxembourg 50; Malta 95; Spain 130, and The Netherlands 214.