Romanians in the United Kingdom

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Romanians in the United Kingdom
Distribution of Romanian citizens in England, Northern Ireland and Wales by local authority
Total population
Romanian-born residents
83,168 (2011 Census)
539,000 (England and Wales only, 2021)
Regions with significant populations
London, Birmingham, Northampton
British English and Romanian
Romanian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Protestant, Judaism
Related ethnic groups

Romanians in the United Kingdom refers to Romanian immigrants in the United Kingdom, both citizens and non-citizens, along with British citizens of Romanian ancestry. The number of Romanian-born people resident in the UK has risen from 83,168 at the time of the 2011 United Kingdom census to an estimated 539,000 in England and Wales alone in 2021.

Romanians constitute the fourth largest group of immigrants in England and Wales as of 2021, only behind those from Pakistan, Poland, and India. The decadal growth of 576% was the highest of any immigrant group and was driven by the relaxation of work restrictions.[1] Furthermore, as of late 2022, given the big rise of Romanian immigrants to the United Kingdom, the Romanian language became the third most spoken foreign language in the UK after English and Polish.[2]

History, population, and settlement[edit]

A map showing the distribution of Romanian passport holders in Greater London in 2021. Over 30% of Romanian citizens in the UK live in London.
  15% and greater
White Romanian population pyramid in 2021 (in England and Wales)

The small number of Romanians that first arrived in Britain were primarily Jews fleeing persecution during the Second World War.[3] The activities of the Romanian exiles started in 1941, through the effort of individuals such as Ambassador Viorel Tilea, Major George Emil Iliescu, and legal counselor Ecaterina Iliescu. They founded the Anglo-Romanian Refugee Committee (ARRC) in 1948. The Free Romanian Orthodox Church was active in parallel to the ARRC between 1950 and 1955, under the leadership of Father Gildau, with a Parish Committee chaired by Mihai Carciog. This later transformed into the 'Romanian Orthodox Women's Association in the UK', which, in turn, became in 1956 the British-Romanian Association - also known under its Romanian name of ACARDA ("Asociația Culturală a Românilor din Anglia") - through the initiative of a representative group of individuals from the small Romanian community, including Ion Rațiu, Horia Georgescu, George Ross, and Leonard Kirschen, Marie-Jeanne Livezeanu, Gladys Wilson, Sanda Cârciog, and Mihai Cârciog.[4][5]

Ion Rațiu was the President of the British-Romanian Association between 1965 and 1985,[6] followed by Iolanda Costide between 1985 and 1996.[7] Rațiu became honorary president of the organisation in 1985.[6]

At the time of the 2001 Census, 7,631 Romanian-born people were residing in the UK.[8] In the 2011 Census, the Romanian-born population grew to 83,168 people throughout the UK, with 79,687 in England & Wales,[9] 2,387 in Scotland,[10] and 1,094 in Northern Ireland.[11] The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that, in 2012, 101,000 Romanian-born people were resident in the UK.[12] By 2019, this estimate had risen to 427,000.[13] This estimate fell to 345,000 in 2020.[14]

As of 2021, approximately 1,350,640 Romanians had applied to the UK government's post-Brexit European Union Settlement Scheme, with 670,560 receiving pre-settled status and 435,720 receiving settled status.[15][16] However, the ONS notes that not all applicants to the EUSS will be resident in the UK.[17]

A particularly concentrated community exists in the Edgware-London suburb of Burnt Oak which has gained the nickname "Little Romania".[18]. Large communities also exist in the London Boroughs of Brent and Newham.

Historical population
2001 7,631—    
2004 14,000+83.5%
2005 17,000+21.4%
2006 17,000+0.0%
2007 24,000+41.2%
2008 42,000+75.0%
2009 59,000+40.5%
2010 82,000+39.0%
2011 83,168+1.4%
2012 106,000+27.5%
2013 136,000+28.3%
2014 170,000+25.0%
2015 220,000+29.4%
2016 310,000+40.9%
2017 390,000+25.8%
2018 392,000+0.5%
2019 427,000+8.9%
2020 345,000−19.2%
2021 539,000+56.2%
Note: Besides for 2001, 2011, and 2021 when a census of the population took place, figures are ONS estimates of the number of Romanian-born residents. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95% confidence intervals.
Source: [19]
Evolution of the number of Romanian nationals living in the UK (2010–2017)[20]


Most Romanians belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church religion and there are several Romanian Orthodox churches throughout the UK, such as those in Aberdeen, Ballymena, Birmingham, Boston, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Caterham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Luton, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, or Poole.[21]

Social issues[edit]

Around 75 per cent of women trafficked to the UK are from Romania, with the majority being victims of sexual exploitation.[22] In October 2020, an online summit was held to discuss the problem. Ahead of the event, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on commercial sexual exploitation, Dame Diana Johnson, argued that "The industrial-scale sexual exploitation of Romanian women by UK men is a national scandal".[23]

Romanians in the UK have faced discrimination and xenophobic abuse, and were targets of some hate crimes following the Brexit referendum.[24] In the autumn of 2019, the Romanian government launched an advertising campaign to attract emigrants back to Romania, suggesting that a million jobs awaited them.[25] In October 2019, Minister of Labour and Social Justice (Romanian: Ministrul Muncii și Justiției Sociale)[26] at the time Marius-Constantin Budăi told the ITV that he wished for all overseas Romanians to come home as soon as possible.[25]

Notable Britons of Romanian descent[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "International migration, England and Wales - Office for National Statistics". Retrieved 2023-06-30.
  2. ^ Miriam Burrell (29 November 2022). "Big rise in Romanian speakers with 7.5% speaking the language in Harrow, ONS reveals Romanian is now the third most common language spoken in UK after English and Polish". Evening Standard. Retrieved 3 September 2023.
  3. ^ Cesarani, David (1994). "The era of Asher Myers and Israel Davis, 1878–1906". The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo-Jewry, 1841-1991. Cambridge University Press. p. 74. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511470509. ISBN 978-0-521-43434-8.
  4. ^ Leustean, Laurentiu (2009). Orthodoxy and the Cold War: Religion and Political Power in Romania, 1947-65 (1st ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. p. 245. ISBN 978-1-349-30411-0.
  5. ^ Mazurkiewicz, Anna (2019). Mazurkiewicz, Anna (ed.). East Central European Migrations During the Cold War: A Handbook. De Gruyter Oldenbourg. pp. 243–285. doi:10.1515/9783110610635. ISBN 978-3-11-060753-6. S2CID 241456445.
  6. ^ a b "Ion Rațiu". Cotidianul (in Romanian). 15 October 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Fotograme din exil: Iolanda Costide, marți la "Lumea și noi"" [Photograms from exile: Iolanda Costide, Tuesday on "Lumea și noi"]. TVR (in Romanian). 10 July 2014. Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  8. ^ "Country of birth database" (XLS). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original (XLS) on 11 May 2005. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  9. ^ "2011 Census: Country of birth (expanded), regions in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Country of birth (detailed)" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Country of Birth – Full Detail: QS206NI". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  12. ^ "2012; Estimated overseas-born population resident in the United Kingdom, by country of birth (Table 1.3)" (XLS). Office for National Statistics. August 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Table 1.3: Overseas-born population in the United Kingdom, excluding some residents in communal establishments, by sex, by country of birth, January 2019 to December 2019". Office for National Statistics. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95% confidence intervals.
  14. ^ "Table 1.3: Overseas-born population in the United Kingdom by country of birth and sex, January 2020 to December 2020". Office for National Statistics. 17 September 2021. Retrieved 3 November 2021. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95% confidence intervals.
  15. ^ "EU Settlement Scheme statistics". Home Office. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  16. ^ "EU settlement scheme statistics table: total applications by nationality up to 30 June 2021" (ODS). Home Office. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  17. ^ Lindop, Jay (2 July 2021). "Are there really 6m EU citizens living in the UK?". National Statistical. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  18. ^ McNamara, Paul (1 December 2016). "Immigration: The suburb in London dubbed 'Little Romania'". Channel 4 News. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Dataset: Population of the United Kingdom by Country of Birth and Nationality". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  20. ^ Baciu, Paula (10 September 2018). "What brings Romanians to the streets". VoxEurop/EDJNet. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Parohii din Regatul Unit al Marii Britanii și al Irlandei de Nord" [Parishes from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland] (in Romanian). Mitropolia Ortodoxă Română a Europei Occidentale și Meridionale. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  22. ^ Sleigh, Sophia (26 October 2020). "UK has become a 'pimp's paradise' for sex traffickers, senior MP warns as she calls for website ban". Evening Standard. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  23. ^ Weaver, Matthew (26 October 2020). "Priti Patel urged to stop UK being 'pimp's paradise'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  24. ^ Touma, Ana Maria (1 March 2017). "Romanians in UK Worried by Suspected Hate Attack". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  25. ^ a b Choi, Chris (11 October 2019). "Romanian workers go home - says Romania". ITV News. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  26. ^ Florea, Daniel (19 November 2018). Stănescu, Claudia; Giurgiu, Irina (eds.). "Dăncilă despre remaniere: Întotdeauna e loc de mai bine, Guvernul trebuie să răspundă unor provocări noi" [Dăncilă about the reshuffle: There is always room for better, the Government must respond to some new challenges]. AGERPRES (in Romanian). Retrieved 15 August 2021.

External links[edit]