If you are one of the many Bulgarian or Romanian citizens working in the UK ‘without papers’, read on.
Even though they are EU members, when it comes to employment Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not have the same rights as other Europeans, for instance from France, Germany, Poland, Slovakia or other A8 Accession countries.
When Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union in 2007 the UK government, like many other European governments, imposed limits on working the newest members of the EU. See: Free Movement of EU nationals explained.
Whilst they are free to move around Europe without a visa, they can only work in the UK as employed persons with special permission. This restriction was extended last year by the UK Immigration Minister Damian Green until January 2014.
Bulgarians and Romanians are allowed to set up a business, apply for a work permit, study or reside in the UK as a ‘self sufficient’ person, provided they can prove they have enough funds to support themselves.
Many who have obtained yellow cards as ‘self employed’ workers are actually working as employed persons via the back door. Others are working without any papers or permits at all.
Some employers are unaware of the restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians and see them as ‘Europeans’ who have full rights to work.
But other more unscrupulous employers know exactly what they are doing and choose to exploit the illegal worker by paying below minimum wage rates, usually cash in hand.
For workers who find themselves in this unfortunate position, their lives can become miserable and hopeless. In effect they are trapped and have no choice but to work long hours in poor and often unsafe conditions whilst scraping by on slave labour rates of pay.
So what can you do if you are trapped in illegal employment?
There are a number of options for legalising your stay in the UK, but the first thing you must realise is that you are a human being and you always have a choice.
Secondly, unlike most illegal workers, you have the advantage of being a member of the European Union, which means you have treaty rights in the UK, for instance the right to work and study.
Bulgarians and Romanians may freely travel to the UK to exercise their rights under Article 39 and apply for a Yellow Card registration card to work and study full time whilst studying for a vocational qualification, such as NVQ or QCF in Customer Service or Health and Social Care.
Importantly, this right can also apply to you, even if you are here working illegally or have broken the rules in the past.
This right can also apply to you if you have previously been refused yellow card.
This right applies you if you are here on a self employed yellow card, but have not really been running a business and would now like to clean up you act and get things straightened out with your employer.
In other word, whatever your situation there is usually a solution to your problem!
Once you have legal papers, you will be free to work where it suits you and where you will be paid properly, with tax deducted by your employer instead of been passed on to you to pay at a later date, at decent rates of pay.
There are plenty of good, honest UK employers looking for workers who are willing to work hard and are prepared to work on flexible shifts. Bulgarians and Romanians are popular with British employers because they are willing to do all of the above.
If you are in the UK illegally or would like advice an appeal against a refusal please email:
Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org