Polish communities in Spalding are “very scared” there are not enough jobs in the town for a new influx of migrant workers.
From January, residents of Romania and Bulgaria – two of Europe’s poorest countries – will be entitled to travel to the UK.
Prime Minister David Cameron has attempted to reassure the British public about new EU migrants by announcing a plan that will stop them claiming benefits.
However, Diane Gajek – who moved to Spalding ten years ago and runs the Polish Education Centre – is not convinced this will be enough to deter the Romanians.
She said: “I was there when it happened in Poland. Romanian men were sending women out with their babies to beg on the streets.
“In the end they got deported.”
Ms Gajek said she realises being able to claim benefits is not popular, but stressed that was not why the majority of Polish people moved to Spalding.
She said: “They came for a better lifestyle and a better job and to pay for their homes.
“People in Spalding are already struggling to find jobs. The town can only take so much.
“We are very scared – it’s going to be a mess.”
South Holland District Council is not so concerned. A spokesman said: “The 2011 Census information from the ONS has provided a valuable insight into levels of migration that have been experienced since 2001 and enable us to provide fair and equal access to services for all residents, regardless of their nationality”.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper told the Spalding Guardian: “Our tough reforms are working and net migration is down by nearly a third.
“Last year there were nearly 100,000 fewer people immigrating to the UK than in 2010.
“We are bound by the treaties and directives that successive governments have signed and no EU national has unrestricted access to the UK.
“By addressing the factors that drive up immigration we are doing everything within our power to discourage it from the EU.”