January 2014 saw the lifting of working restrictions for Romanians and Bulgarians coming to the UK, providing them with the same rights to work as other UK and EU citizens.
But for months prior to the change - and indeed the months following - the UK media whipped up a storm of outrage and exaggeration, leading to public resentment, discrimination and even hatred towards Romanian and Bulgarian migrants.
Headlines such as “Send them all back home!”, “How Romanian criminals terrorise our streets” and “Roma migrant invasions will start UK riots” added fuel to the fire and public opinion quickly turned from ill-informed irritation to something more sinister all together.
Our project – a collaboration between freelance photographer Sid Ali and freelance journalist Annie Makoff - is a reaction against this growing xenophobia.
Xenophobic Britain: Voices from Romania and Bulgaria is about telling it like it is, from the direct experience of those who came to Britain for a better life.
We may not change public opinion, but by providing an honest, alternative view from the words and images of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants themselves, it may go some way to changing individual attitudes.
A project by Sid Ali and Annie Makoff