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Anna Marie from Romania

Anna Marie, a bright young Romanian citizen, came to the UK for the first time as an au pair in 2003. She went back to Romania a couple of years later before her visa expired. Like thousands of other Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, she thought she was about to have another chance to work in the UK when they joined the European Union on 1st January 2007.

She returned to the UK in February and quickly found a job in the care industry. She assumed that she would be treated just like other EU citizens from former eastern bloc countries such as Poland and Slovakia. However, Anna Marie and her employer were in for a shock.

Romanians and Bulgarians do not have the same rights to work in the UK as previous new EU citizens.

When the previous A8 nations joined the EU in 2004, Britain was one of only three European member states to allow free movement of labour. All people from the new EU countries had to do in order to work in the UK was to apply to the Home Office under the ‘Workers Registration Scheme’ (WRS). This is one of the main reasons why far more eastern Europeans migrated to Britain than originally anticipated.

In 2004, Tony McNulty, a Home Office Minister, estimated that around 13,000 people would migrate to the UK from the new EU member states. The fact that over 600,000 people subsequently moved here in the last 18 months led to media driven fears of a “stampede” on 1 January 2007, forcing the government to impose restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian migrants.

The Home Office has stated that although they will not require ‘leave to enter’ (a visa) the UK, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals wanting to work will still need to obtain “authorisationbefore starting any employment, unless they are exempt from doing so.

This authorisation will normally take the form of an “Accession Worker Card”. Bulgarian and Romanian nationals will be able to apply to the Home Office for an Accession Worker Card without the need for an employer to apply for a work permit for a limited number of employment categories, including: airport based operational ground staff of an overseas airline; Au Pairs; Domestic Workers; Ministers of Religion; Postgraduate doctors; dentists; and trainee general practitioners. For a full list see the Home Office website.

If the employment does not fall into one of the above categories, the process for obtaining authorisation to work will be as follows:

  • The UK employer applies for approval of the employment under the work permit arrangements.
  • The Bulgarian or Romanian national applies for an Accession Worker card.

The qualifying criteria and guidance notes can be found on the Home Office website.

In Anna Marie’s case, the only way she could work was for the employer to apply for a work permit. Unfortunately, she did not have the required experience to qualify for a work permit at which point she contacted us for advice.

She said she was surprised by the rules and was not aware of the restrictions on working.

“The information that I got before I came here was not enough. I thought I could start working in the UK when I got an offer from an employer but it was not like that”, she said.

Many of her countrymen have also found themselves stranded in the UK, unable to work. Fortunately, unlike many of the Romanians she has met in a similar position, Anna Marie speaks good English and knows her way around the system in the UK

She has now registered as a student and enrolled in a college providing NVQ courses in Health and Social Care. The vocational course will involve working in a care home to complete the practical part of her studies.

Romanians and Bulgarians should check the Home Office website before traveling to the UK.

Employers need to be aware of the rules when employing Romanian and Bulgarian staff. Further information can be found on the Home Office website: www.homeoffice.gov.uk

If you should have any questions or need help please email Charles Kelly info@immigrationmatters.co.uk.

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94 Responses to “Romanian and Bulgarian Workers Confused By Home Office Restrictions On Work”
Read them below or add one

  1. steve@coreacademy.co.uk'

    We are looking for several hundred EXPERIENCED pork butchers. If you are an experienced pork butcher and would like to work in the UK, please contact me.

  2. zabrasherka@mail.bg'

    garians and Romanians.He wants to get rid of them ,and for Asians and Africans respect them as they have nothing to say for them. Do not think what to do to kick Bulgarians and Romanians people. and would require visas for Bulgarians and Romanians people ,and all sorts of other nonsense Why ? because it is England :)interesting that England have so many things to BulHahahha. F*** this Еngland .where there is interest puts her ass.decrease if Africans and Asians then England’s economy is stable.there are millions of people in England, however it prevent him from Bulgarians and Romanians.

  3. davidhenry456@gmail.com'
    davidhenry456@gmail.com'David Henry says :

    I have been in the fortunate position to see a Romanian family up close as they make a new life here in the UK. I am British and in some ways understand the fears that natives feel about the influx of Romanians into the country. However, I have seen how hard-working and conscientious this family has been. I have listenef to their conversations and heard their wish to be a full part of ociety and pay tax and be legal in everything they do.
    Its not the image most natives have when they think of’foreigners’ entering the country. Both daughters in the family now have degrees and one is progressing towards her goal of being a barrister. While this story unfolds I have worked with them to advise and assist others to settle in the country and understand the system…not to circumvent it but to ensure they work according to the rules and not make mistakes that could prove costly.
    I have nothing but admiration for most of the Romanians I have met and can only feel that our society can only be improved by embracing people such as those I’ve had the pleasure of calling my friends.

  4. aaaa@gml.com'

    I don’t understand why the polish people give their oppinion on this blog…probably they see bulgarians and romanians like a threat to them, anyway this goverment and home office shoud think about creating more job opportunities for all not to put restrictions for some EU countries think what positive impact will be on UK economy when all people are paying taxes…is not fare.

  5. gya_6662000@yahoo.com'

    This is really sad guys! That is so true…we have dreams and hopes but we can’t really blame the british people because at the end of the day they have to look after their own as well. Did any of us put themselves in their position? I know it’s about politics, but if you lived in a beautiful civilised country that offers you a high standard of life wouldn’t you be a bit annoyed and scared of the sudden invasion of all these people that are not the most well behaved and civilised(well at least the majority of them)? We just have to accept it! We are lucky to get the crumbs, because let’s face it…even with those crumbs we can live better than in our home countries. The person that doesn’t want the crumbs is not even on this website because he/she has no time working his ass off! Do you think that english people don’t fail as well? Work hard and keep optimistic and you’ll get there! Stop being racist and hatefull it just makes you more miserable! After my first month in London I am in the deepest depression I’ve been in my whole life but I will get there! And yeah good luck to everyone!

  6. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    These ‘Gypsy’ stories just make good headlines for the tabloid press. Don’t worry about it. The vast majority of British people realise that Romanians are good, hard working people.

  7. me.nicole23@yahoo.co.uk'

    I’ve seen a lot of comments about romanian women carrying babies and begging on the street and romanian men stealing and doing illegal stuff in UK . I just want to scream , i cannot repeat myself anymore. I hear this everywhere and it makes me really angry and sad. They are not ROMANIANS , they are GYPSIES from Romania , ROMANIANS are not gypsies . We are normal white people , just like anyone else in Europe . We go to school , we work , we have dreams , we have respect , we ask for respect , our parents work for us , etc.. I am here to study , i am here to work , i am here for my future. Please stop treating us like gypsies , cause we are NOT!

  8. mjankowski@gmx.net'
    mjankowski@gmx.net'majkel75 says :

    I haven’t seen any point in contributing to this rude discussion about which nation is better and why, but I have to admit that after reading a comment with the list of Romanian inventors which I found interesting and educational I thought I’d try to add some polish names here to satisfy Alexandra’s curiosity 🙂

    The most recognizable and famous would be
    – The pope (Jan Pawel II)
    – Lech Walesa (awarded Nobel prize)

    Some of the great inventors:
    – Mikolaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus) published heliocentric planetary theory

    – Marie Curie-Sklodowska

    Fryderyk Chpoin, Krzystof Penderecki

    Film industry:
    Polanski, Wajda, Kieslowski, Zanussi

    Wislawa Szymborska (Nobel prize for literature 1996)

    And they do not have to hack to any database to became famous 🙂

  9. Ok78@hotmail.com'

    Somebody from Romania stating that Poles are mentally deficient… 😀 😀
    It’s like somebody from Monako stating that they are military superior to USA …. 😀 😀 😀

    Could not stop laughing guys 😀 😀 😀

  10. piordana@yahoo.com'
    piordana@yahoo.com'Olivia says :

    rephrasing* :)))))

  11. piordana@yahoo.com'
    piordana@yahoo.com'Olivia says :

    refrazing No8. Considering point 5,6 and 7 then I will say (and i beg your forgiveness): Polish people should shut up and not dare saY one thing, as they are coming from a nation of… mentally simple people!!!! At least Romanian have a list of geniuses which Polski lack to have.

  12. piordana@yahoo.com'
    piordana@yahoo.com'Olivia says :

    1. Regarding Polish people… they tend to be lazy, living on benefits, poor in English, and they do not like studying that much. The truth, yes, because they came in millions in Uk and stopped working and started living on benefits… yes, Uk needed to set a restriction for the new Easter European country that joined in! Home office officially declared that the restriction for the new countries that joined in, is because of the Polish people migration.
    2. Romania has the same kind of people too! Romanians, as Polish, they don’t like to work that much and will love to find a way to avoid that. The difference is that Polish live on benefits, Romanian live out of illegal activities. But stealing benefits is still stealing!!! Benefits fraud is a criminal offence, and is more serious then stealing from a shop!
    3. Regarding prostitutes… come on people!!! who counted them and who traced their nationality to really know! Mind here that we do have 2 aspects: Moldavian prostitutes (with a fake Romanian passport) and Russian/ Ukrainian prostitutes (with a fake polish passport) At least Romania is Latin… so the Russian, Ukrainian and Moldavian (Moldavia is russified) prostitutes are relatives of Polski (surely they are not latins)
    4. People are people, and discrimination is illegal! So lets stop there
    5. 80% of the Bill Gates company is Romanian! A Romanian guy hacked into the Pentagon data base (got a job there of course), another ROMANIAN guy hacked into NASA data base (got a job there of course). A Romanian scientist man first discovered insulin (1916 Nicolae Paulescu), Petrache Poenaru invented the fountain pen, Aurel Vlaicu built the first arrow-shaped air plane, Lazăr Edeleanu was the first chemist to synthesize amphetamine… and I could still carry on!
    7. compare http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Romanian_inventors_and_discoverers to
    8. Considering point 5,6 and 7 then I will say (and i beg your forgiveness): Polish people should shut up and not dare same one thing, as they are coming from a nation of… mentally simple people!!!! At least Romanian have a list of geniuses which poski lack to have.
    9. good day!

  13. ax_up@yahoo.com'
    ax_up@yahoo.com'Alexandra says :

    I can’t believe what I’m reading.
    Firstly, what do prostitutes have to do with people who want to work legally?! 95% or even more of the prostitutes are gypsies. GYPSIES ARE NOT ORIGINALLY FROM ROMANIA. A big majority has just stopped there years ago, but they are not ours. Most of them are horrible people, I’ve seen lots of them playing games in Central London and taking money from tourists. But why don’t the police do anything about it?! I’ve seen something like 10 of them just on the bridge at Big Ben on a Saturday. I was ashamed to hear my own language spoken by this kind of people in Central London. But when you think about it… why should I be ashamed?! The whole system is very wrong! There should be a selection of who’s coming in this civilized country, an interview or something like this. I have no rights only because I am a Romanian. Why?! SELECT the people you want in, just how it happens in Australia for example. The situation is so terrible, I hate politics. There is no focusing on the citizens or on the planet itself. There is only focusing on money. So horrible, I am ashamed of the people I am surrounded by. Open your mind before your mouth. The games are played somewhere else, it’s not about how people are, it’s all about gas, petrol or other resources.

  14. moyse_mehe@yahoo.com'

    why you want to work with documents in the uk? nin I was and I said that Romanians and Bulgarians can work without documents ….. need to work a year without documents and give us only required to pay tax nin ……. but I will continue working without documents that do not need any documents. So tell us to work without status and documents ……. and they say we are behind Romanian mentality ….: =))

  15. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    2014 at the earliest

  16. rockx25@hotmail.co.uk'

    When will be Romanians and Bulgarians allowed to work in the UK without any restrictions?

  17. iaydi@abv.bg'
    iaydi@abv.bg'SEVDZHAN says :

    I forget the UK pay their accommodation,pay for child and they take back, return from Poland ,, all tax,,

    They are rich,but empty
    … Cant speak English,they,re very funny sometimes

  18. iaydi@abv.bg'
    iaydi@abv.bg'sevdzhan says :

    Im from Bulgaria same I dislike Polish people.They was in UK and thought,that nobody can follow them.

    Now just jealous nothing while drinking. Women command the house men work only. But the new generation, girls and boys are better in any respect.

  19. elenavicheva92@gmail.com'

    Hello. I’ve been trying to contact the Office in Croydon to book an appointment now and I’ve tried online as well but there are never any empty slots. Do you think I can go to the office and book an appointment there?
    Thank you.

  20. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    On the face of it, your case for a Yellow/Blue Card looks valid, but without seeing the application and the documents you submitted it is difficult to advise whether or not you will be successful. Many self employed yellow card applications are refused because the UKBA are not satisfied that the person is self employed, or the applicant has not provided sufficient proof – e.g. invoices.
    In a number of cases we have seen, Bulgarian and Romanian ‘self employed’ yellow card holders are actually employed and therefore working illegally. Employers are also reluctant to ’employ’ a person on a so called self employed contract, because a person working for one single employer from 9-5 as a chef/waiter/care worker/manager is in the eyes of HMRC and employee, not a self employed contractor.
    For this reason some are switching to student yellow cards, which allow proper legal employment.

  21. cerasela2011@yahoo.com'
    cerasela2011@yahoo.com'Cerasela says :


    I am a Romanian citizen, came to UK in 2009, and now me and my husband are trying to get our rights to work sorted out. My husband has decided to work as a Self-Employed person, as, in Romania, he is an Electrical Engineer. He managed to get some contracts of maintenance and he’s got the NINO, got registered to HMRC, he is paying his NINO, and so on. He has applied at the beginning of November for a Yellow Registration Certificate for Self-Employed, and he had included me in the application as a dependant.

    I am wondering if there will be any reason to be refused and not getting the Yellow Registration Certificate?

    Thank you for your reply.

  22. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    Your employer should have used a professional immigration adviser who understands the Immigration Rules. It would have saved a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, many employers think it’s all very simple and prefer to save money by not using professionals! The restrictions should end at the start of 2014.
    In the meantime you can still apply for a yellow card and possibly get a blue card after one year.

  23. andreear20@yahoo.com'

    Dear Charles, yes a company has applied for me for a working permit and the reason of refusal was that there was no proof of why a UK citizen couldn’t have filled in the position. So after so many disapointments, I really believe that studying is the single right way, especially now when the goverment decide to continue with the restrictions on the labour market for another 2 years up to 2014. I know that they are only allowed to have the restrictions until 1 Janray 2014, my main concern is if they can go further 2014 if they demonstrate (like they did now) that the labour market has serious disturbance.. Charles, legally talking, if the European Parliament from Brussell allowed the work restriction up to 7years, do you think will be any possiblity that these will be continued? If they bring strong evidence,surveys, graphics…

  24. gsplasmaes@yahoo.ca'
    gsplasmaes@yahoo.ca'George Stankov says :

    Who allow to European politicians to sorting the people on quality,like a manufacturing product.Where is “HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION” NOW.IF THIS POLITICIANS are so smart and capable,WHY EU start to COLLAPSE so Fast and very soon will finish forever.Fortunately I am Canadian.

  25. euukimmigration@gmail.com'

    Roxana Are you saying that an employer applied for a work permit for you and was refused? For what reason?
    Yellow cards are taking some time at the moment so try to be patient and you will be successful! Many other students have obtained yellow cards and are on their way to getting from yellow to blue in 12 months! Good luck!

  26. andreear20@yahoo.com'
    andreear20@yahoo.com'Roxana says :

    Hi, I am Romanian and I want to maifest my continuous disapiontment since I am in the UK. I am a student of Majestic College and I really believe that studying a sandwich-course (study&work full time) is the only right way to the poor Romanians and Bulgarians. I have to admit that I have been trying all ways: I have been so enthusiasmatic when my employer applied for my work permit..but the happiness was gone when I have received the depressing answer: that I am not more qualified that a British citizen..
    Anyway is so hard to be part of these nations and sometimes reallt disapointing:you need to have steel nerves and to try as hard as you can. I don’t have the Yellow Card in my hands yet, I am waiting for it to come…but I am really sure that yhe day when it’ll come will be a unforgetable day: will be like I DID IT IN THE UK!!
    Good luck to all of you who will need the (bloody) work permit…just focus on it and finally will be yours.

  27. gdamian7@o2.pl'
    gdamian7@o2.pl'Osiris says :

    Dont make me laugh. Just read article in “The times” about prostitutes in UK. First place has prostitutes from Bulgaria and Romania. Polish prostitutes has 7th place.

  28. gdamian7@o2.pl'

    “60% of the girls in Cyprus and England is a Poland and Russian!”
    Couse Bulgarians and Romanians cant come

  29. gdamian7@o2.pl'
    gdamian7@o2.pl'Silesianin says :

    Yes, Romanians and Bulgarians are so cool and smart. Thats why girls this both nations work as prostitutes in Poland.
    Better tell me where was Your people when UK fights vs Nazis ?

  30. gdamian7@o2.pl'
    gdamian7@o2.pl'To mouth for 20 PLN(5 euro) says :

    “60% of the girls in Cyprus and England is a Poland and Russian!”
    In Your dreams:D

  31. xlcmt@yahoo.com'

    Hi, excuse my english. I am a young romanian student transfered here at prestigious University. I have been here for only 3 moths but belive I saw more then I imagine. I want to tell you first that the romanians prostitute are clever because they are earning money for their “job” not like english girls who are begging for d….s on the street like the romanians( in fact romans ) beg for money. And all this stupid rules for ciggarets alcohol and drugs, I saw kids ( boys and girls under 18 ) on the street high or drunke. What was again with the law is equal with all nations?I saw old people over 60 living in rented flats and stealing from store to buy alcohol and pay the rent. SOme people working in hospitals and banks are so stupid that dont even know the state members of the EU. I also worked as a bartender in a 4 STARS HOTEL and I saw a beautiful wedding where young drunk mother puting their babies on the chair and dancing on the tables and Old person throwing with object from their tables in the bar stuff all of them english only me romanian. The wedding ended with a fight but not with cake with blood and punches and men beating their wifes and babies. The bride was taken at hospital and the groom at the police station. I am happy to be a romanian and trying to participate at this thing called GLOBALIZATION.

  32. janeta_kovacheva@yahoo.com'

    not all Bulgarians and Romanians are bad people. There are people like me and my boyfriend who simply want to ensure a better future both them and their children. If you were in the same situation would you enjoy !!!!!

  33. janeta_kovacheva@yahoo.com'

    60% of the girls in Cyprus and England is a Poland and Russian!

  34. gdamian7@o2.pl'
    gdamian7@o2.pl'Pomarańcz says :

    50% of prostitues in Poland are girls from Bulgaria and Romania What did You except ? Special treatents in European Union ? Your country’s are very poor. Be glad that You are part of EU.

  35. gdamian7@o2.pl'
    gdamian7@o2.pl'Crasty says :

    Even Spain close borders for Romanians.

  36. gdamian7@o2.pl'
    gdamian7@o2.pl'Silesian says :

    When Romanians and Bulgarians at WW2 licking azz Uncle Adolf, Poles was fight for free UK

  37. hippysheep@gmail.au'

    You must learn English *before* coming to the UK, not after. The UK can comfortably sustain a population of 30 million, but we are more than double that now. Know your rights, but don’t expect special treatment. Do expect low paid jobs and a poor standard of living. The streets in the UK are paved with rock not gold.

  38. piller1988@o2.pl'

    Maybe it is that becouse Polish soldiers fight with Grea Britian against Natzi German, on the other hands Romanian fights WITH Hitler, not AGAINST German. In 1944 when Russian forces came to Romanian they fight with them against German.

    So maybe that’s a compensation for selling in Jalta Poland (the ally of Britain since 1939) to 50 years of Communism…

  39. cassidy@abv.bg'

    After dealing with the UK home Border Agency for about a month I got immensely disappointed with England, given the fact that I wanted to live here since I was like 7. I do get the whole economic issue and the concerns English government has on vast amounts of immigration, but simply leaving out Romanians and Bulgarians is a ridiculous discrimination.
    I needed the yellow card because of my degree which has a compulsory placement year. After finding a job with a really good company, the yellow card came as an issue, of which I wasn’t aware as I recently changed my passport from Armenian to Bulgarian. What I realized during the process was that no one and I repeat NO ONE has an exact info on how to apply. The web site of the Agency is simply “crap” as everything written there is never confirmed by any individual in the Home Office itself. Moreover recently they have added additional needed documentation, which is a full medical insurance(and the cheapest ones get to around 300 pounds) and all the people who have applied before that law change are affected and their documents get sent back to them without any work permit.
    What I would advice people is to push. I called everyday and sent e-mails with scanned copies of all documents every day and they did consider me and granted me a work permit within a month of excruciating waiting, when I was thinking that I am losing both my work and my degree.
    All I can say is that England is getting lower and lower, putting obstacles to professionals from other countries might of course save work spaces for English people, but I am really interested how the hell is England seeing any kind of development within the economy when all their staff is homogeneous. As an Economics student I am trying to understand, but as A HUMAN (no matter what nationality or passport I hold) I DO NOT accept this as right. I personally think that England is losing on a lot and at some point all those professional, smart and hard-working people who actually wish to be taxpayers and workers in this country are just going to give up. Finally England would stay only for the English people (as Bulgarians and Romanians are not the only minorities being treated like trash) and I wish GOOD LUCK to them all.

  40. punkoala@hotmail.co.uk'

    Hey! everyone,

    I just want to put a word on here about how the uk is treating Romanian and Bulgarians . I’m British and seeing a Romanian girl who has been here for two years now and all she can get is cleaning or careering jobs as she can not get a job in the profession that she is qualified for. She has a degree and masters as a process engineer, she applied for a job at Veolia doing exactly what she was doing over there and the same position but Veolia knocked her back over here. She as applied for over 1,000 jobs in the engineering and science sector but the same old story she is not qualified for the position but if I went for the same jobs I would get them. I work in the life sciences but with out the qualifications I’ve just work my way up and I bet English company’s would choose me over her as she is Romanian. It makes me sick to think that as an open country someone willing to work as hard as they can don’t have the opportunities as others.

    So what can she do work 24/7 for not even minimum wage and be kicked to the dirt.

  41. kitanova@hotmail.co.uk'
    kitanova@hotmail.co.uk'Kat Kitanova says :

    This has got to do with politics and stuff. It’s not about the actual nationality or at least I hope so and as far as I read the article says so too.

    I am Bulgarian, been here for over 4 years now, a law student in Cambridge… if that matters at all… When I first came to England I had to work at a horrible chicken factory for a year in order to obtain a ‘blue card’ – a permanent work permit for any employment.

    I used to live in Ipswich at that time, now in Cambridge, and I’ve gotta tell you that I’ve worked with so many Polish people that I don’t wanna see a Polish person ever again in my life.. I know I sound horrible but I really really don’t wanna be but I am being very honest with you..
    First of all, 95% of them can’t speak English. The worst thing is that they don’t wanna learn either! They go in groups and communicate only with other Polish people and completely blanking the fact they are freaking not in Poland any more. They act as if everybody owes them something.

    Second of all they are extremely racist which, unfortunately, I could say for some Bulgarians (actually most of ppl are) if I am completely honest with you… but I won’t forget this one time I was walking down the street with my black boyfriend when I was given the most ‘poisonous’ looks in my life by my then Polish friend and her husband. Her husband hardly ever spoke to me again and used to call me a whore after that.

    But anyway… in short, unfortunately Polish people are extremely ignorant people – loud, arrogant and no class.

    Every nation has its pros and cons but nearly every person I talk to says the same thing about them.
    I personally hate being classed as ‘Eastern European’ because generally English people could put us in the same box as Poland or Lithuania or them countries up there.

    No one is better than the other one but PLEASE at least try and behave yourselves, learn some discipline and learn English too, yeah?

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