Britain says it will control the influx of Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers after the two east European countries formally enter the European Union in January.

Britain's Home Office, in a statement Tuesday, said the British labor market will be opened slowly to citizens of the two countries. Under the new policy, low-skilled workers will be limited to working in the food processing and agriculture sectors.

Most skilled workers will need work permits, and will have to prove they are performing work that cannot be done by residents. Authorities say the restrictions will be reviewed annually.

The controls mark a shift in British immigration policy from the unlimited access that London gave citizens of 10 countries that entered the union in 2004.

Analysts say the old policy resulted in the unexpected influx of hundreds of thousands of eastern Europeans into Britain.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.