Migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania will only be allowed gradual access into the United Kingdom after these two countries join the European Union, a UK government minister said Tuesday.

The European Union has said that the two Eastern European countries will be invited to join the EU from the beginning of January next year. UK Immigration Minister Liam Byrne spoke to Sky News and said the situation for Bulgarians and Romanians entering UK, is different from 2004 when migrant workers from eight other Eastern European countries were granted access to UK.

Our view is that actually circumstances are different this time round to the days when we were asked whether Poland and other A8 countries as they're known should join, said Liam Byrne. Actually we think this time our approach should be different. We think that access to jobs should only be gradual.

Byrne did not however give further details on how he thought the situation had changed since the eight countries joined the E.U. on 1 May, 2004. He said the government was currently considering a lot of different options on how to apply controls on immigration from Bulgaria and Romania. Byrne confirmed that the best solution will be presented to Parliament at the end of next month.

The European Union lifted worker restrictions on A8 countries that joined in 2004. Countries such as Cyprus and Malta had previously been granted access into the U.K. labor market.

The A8 countries are Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia.