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Non-EU workers 'allowed to stay selfemployed'

Ucatt says Romanians and Bulgarians are dodging PAYE

ROMANIAN and Bulgarian workers are being allowed to continue in bogus selfemployment because they face deportation if they are put on the books.

That is the claim from construction union Ucatt officials, who fear that trade contractors are exploiting the situation to keep workers self-employed.

Bulgaria and Romania were not part of last May's EU expansion programme, which allowed workers to come into the UK unrestricted.

Migrants from those two countries were told they must start up their own businesses to qualify for residency.

London regional secretary Jerry Swain said: 'Most just set themselves up as selfemployed builders and register as CIS4s.

'Now the drive is on for direct employment and most of them should be classified as directly employed.

'The problem is that as employees they are not entitled to stay in this country and could end up being deported.'

Contractors are concerned that unscrupulous firms are now actively recruiting Bulgarian and Romanian workers in a bid to dodge the move back to direct employment.

One London subbie said: 'I know one firm that is using more than 100 Romanian workers.

'None of them are properly self-employed but the Revenue seems to be turning a blind eye in this case because of the complications involved.

'It's causing a lot of resentment on site because most of our lads aren't given a choice about moving back on the books.

'The Revenue comes in and that's it, so they get the hump when they go on jobs and find people getting away with it.'

Mr Swain said: 'It's not just Romanians and Bulgarians, but they seem to be the main problem at the moment.

'This is just compounding the problem of bogus self-employment and we want to see proper checks carried out because people shouldn't be allowed to come and work here or carry on working here on the basis that they have bogusly acquired a CIS4 certificate.

'They can also be exploited by employers and the knock-on effect will be an undermining of the working rule agreement and wages structure.'

An Inland Revenue spokeswoman said:

'We do not have the resources to check the employment status of every worker but we will always review information provided to us.'