The UK Border Agency has published new work permit application forms and revised guidance notes for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals on its website – see work permits – Bulgarian and Romanian nationals only.
The forms and guidance are specifically for work permit applications for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals made on or after 01 April 2009.
Work permit arrangements are only open to employers wishing to employ Bulgarian and Romanian nationals. Employers wishing to employ migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) should do so under Tier 2 of the points based system. See How I sponsor a migrant on the UK Border Agency website.
But aren’t Bulgarian and Romanian workers the same as Poles?
The short answer is no. Employers should be aware that Bulgarian and Romanians are not treated in the same way as other European Union (EU) citizens, and have less rights to work here that non-EU citizens such as the Swiss.
Many Bulgarian and Romanian job hunters who travel to the UK are completely unaware that restrictions are in place. The newest EU members understandably assume that because they belong to the European Union they can move and work freely in any member state. This is not the case.
Employers can now be fined up to £10,000 for each illegal worker employed. Possession of a National Insurance number is not a statutory defence for an employer who thinks this gives the holder the right to work in the UK.
When the EU expanded in 2004, eight new member states, the so called ‘A8’ group of countries, including Poland, were only given free movement of labour by the UK, Ireland and Sweden.
Germany, Spain, France and Italy were the notable countries that refused to allow the former Eastern Bloc citizens the right to work. This caused a massive imbalance resulting in former Immigration Minister Tony McNulty’s famous prediction that just 13,000 Eastern Europeans would come to the UK in the first year to be proved wildly out of touch with reality.
It is estimated that around a million workers have arrived from Eastern Europe prompting an outcry from the tabloid press and later the Government to impose last minute restrictions on the ‘A2’ Bulgarian and Romanian citizens.
Bulgarian and Romanian migrants can set up a business here or register as students under the Yellow Card scheme. Students taking vocational (NVQ) courses can work up to 40 hours per week on their Yellow Cards, which can lead to a more permanent status.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship, Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: