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UK Border Agency say work restrictions will continue for Bulgarians and Romanians | Immigration Matters

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Bulgarians and Romanians will not get free access to the British labour market, according to a UK Government announcement last month.MAC), in order to protect the interests of British workers and ensure that migrant workers “who come here to work are the people we need – and no more”.

The decision to prolong restrictions on the latest EU members was taken following advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (

Access to British jobs for Bulgarians and Romanians has been limited since they joined the European Union in January 2007, allowing only skilled and highly skilled workers to come here to work.


Low-skilled jobs has been restricted to the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) and the Sector Based Scheme (SBS) for food processing.

The Government says that the decision to keep restrictions in place means “that the UK can continue to benefit from the positive economic contribution Bulgarian and Romanian workers make”, and will continue to monitor the “impacts of their accession on the labour market and the country as a whole”.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:


“It is essential that only those we need can come here to work and that is why we have decided to continue restricting the work that Bulgarian and Romanians can do here.UK continues to benefit from the positive economic contribution Bulgarian and Romanian workers make, while protecting British workers and making sure the numbers coming here are managed in the national interest.UK.”

“This is a prudent decision that will ensure the

“We have already suspended tier three of the points based system to stop low skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area entering the


The Home Office has increased the quota for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, following advice from the MAC which identified shortages in the agricultural industry. The scheme enables A2 workers to fill gaps in farming and related work.

From 2009 the number of Bulgarians and Romanians admitted under the scheme will increase from 16,250 places to 21,250. The quota for the Sector Based Scheme for food processing – which is restricted to Romanian and Bulgarian workers – will remain at 3,500.

National Farmers’ Union horticulture board chairman Richard Hirst welcomed the decision to allow in more farm workers:

“We welcome the announcement by the Home Office that there will be an increase in the number of SAWS permits. The decision reflects the compelling evidence put by the industry that there is insufficient seasonal labour to pick and harvest crops.”


Bulgarians and Romanians are allowed to enter the UK without a visa.



Although Romanian and Bulgarian workers are still subject to work restrictions, they can freely enter the UK without a visa. Once here, many exercise their ‘treaty rights’ and register as self employed workers or as Students obtaining a Yellow Card.



Romanian and Bulgarian Students taking vocational or sandwich courses, such as NVQ in Health and Social Care, are allowed to work full time, as stated on their Yellow Cards.



Nursing and Care homes are snapping up these NVQ Students, and without Student labour, the staffing problems in the sector would be far worse, which is why the recent UKBA announcement that “tough new rules” are on the way for foreign students, is a worry for employers.


If the Government restricts NVQ Student from coming to the UK when Tier 4 of the Points Based System comes into force next year, employers, especially those in rural areas, will face serious problems maintaining legally enforceable staffing levels.

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24 Responses to “UK Border Agency say work restrictions will continue for Bulgarians and Romanians”
Read them below or add one

  1. Savatori says :

    Marcel will be well advised to devote her attention to improving her English , her grammar and her spelling ! then re -write what she has written so as to make sense .

  2. marcel says :

    This is a message for Mr.Charles Kelly

    This is Marcel Bache,music teacher,40,more than 10 yrs in education,one 7 yrs daughter,music teacher with QTS for England.
    I traveled and worked in :Lots of countries in Europe,USA,United Arab Emirates.
    I can talk in French and Italian as well.
    I lived in Birmingham in may-oct 2008.I faced a so-called “right to work” or “lack of experience” for England.
    TDA and GTC sent me info staff to my place in Romania having me to qualify for England.Why did they realease me QTS if it is so hard to get a job?Does England need qualified teachers or not?I spent and invested for a few years in this project and hopes…
    I am qualified,have a very good CV but I don’t have experience for teaching in England.
    I am glad to take up a NVQ course for teaching assistants.I contacted enough agencies to support/advise me entering the system but I did not get any replay.The reason why I think I was declined?It might be crisis or a reason that I am from Romania…There is now a discrimination wave that it is appears to be obvious.As I said before,if this is a main reason,I was in many places but I did not meet people discriminating English nationals taking jobs from native people.

    I only need a bit of help in respect of getting experience in a teaching assistant as no agency or school is interested in supporting or advising me.
    If someone can help me in a positive way I would be grateful.
    Thank you.

    Mr Charles Kelly,I wish you all the best

    Marcel Bache

  3. i am in uk since 2004,i ve been working ilegal in low positions,clening waitress..i am well educated,but had no choice ,i had to suport my family bk home,and let me tell you somethning about english people,by the way i am romanian,they ARE LAZY DRINKERS,i am not racist,look how many english stay home on benefits???????????and we do their work>>not me……so conclusion……they will never stop us comming ,and will be more

  4. Hi Emma, most Bulgarian and Romanian student workers receive their yellow cards within 6-8 weeks.
    Majestic College offer special packages and free advice 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

  5. I’ve been reading what others said. I completely understand how these things work. The easiest thing to do is becoming a student and get the right to work. But they sait will take up to 6 months for the yellow card to be issued. So I am paying for the course I am doing for up to 6 months before I have the chance to legally apply for a job. How can this issue be addressed?

  6. bianca says :

    I think that being restricted to work in the UK is completely wrong.. I believe there should of been a better way of dealing with this issue.. This will only encourage people to work illegally and for rubbish money.. I mean which way is better? Pay tax or not? Lets be honest.. most people that come here, come to work and they will work regardless of rights.
    I am not saying that is right, but unfortunately it happens on a daily basis.
    I believe that everyone who is hardworking and of a good character should be allowed to WORK for a better life and strongly disagree with any form of benefits given to losers especially if they are not from the UK.
    I am romanian citizen I work hard for my money never claimed anything and did not come in the UK to take no ones job(as some would worry) and I did found it very hard to follow my career and dreams due to work restriction.
    Even if some wont believe there ARE decent romanians out there who are being affected by all the rubbish that others cause.

  7. louise frost says :

    Thats all well and good my partner going to study but we dont have the funds in the 1st place. can my partner get a blue card without doing the certain work there restricted to.

  8. He has a few opitions which would allow him to work in the UK.

    Apply for a BR1 ‘Yellow Card’ as a vocational student (which allows you to work full time)

    or as a self employed person?

    or apply for a work permit if an employer is willing to sponsor him.

    The forms and requirements have recently changed. You can find the requirements on the UKBA website or see article for information and help:

    Form for ‘Yellow Card’ Registration revised

    See also: Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

    Majestic College are offering vocational courses see or call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 for a free consultation.

    Romanian Student receives ‘Yellow Card’ regsitration
    NVQ and QCF courses have proved popular with Bulgarian and Romanian citizens seeking to gain a UK qualification whilst studying and working on a ‘yellow card’ registration.

    For more information on immigration rules for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens visit the UK Border Agency website or see an OISC registered immigration adviser.

    Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email


    Immigration Matters


    Free presentations are being run at Bison UK Immigration Advisers for Employers, Romanians and Bulgarians – Monday to Friday, from 11am-12noon and 3-4pm. No need to book, just turn up. Venue:

    Bison Management UK, 16 Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire WD6 1DL. Nearest Train Station: Elstree and Borehamwood Station; Buses from Edgware underground station: 107 and 292.

  9. louise frost says :

    hi im writing to ask can some 1 help me please im in a happy relationship with a romanian guy we are engaged. i would just like to know for an example if my fiance founda job but it doesnt fall in to the skilled jobs required or other sectors is there any way he can make this legal so he can have residency here with me in the uk. by residency i mean living here permantely with everything legal. also when are the restrictions taken off romanian and bulgarians please.

  10. M.R.Potter says :

    Just to comment on tony’s comment about british buying cheap cheap houses in Bulgaria, they may have been cheap but they are not exactly built to the same standard as UK most do not even have solid foundations. also you do not have a survey on the property as in UK. They may have started cheap but a lot of the people caught on very quickly and instead of Lev in the start they started asking for the same amount but in Euro. Also I cannot find work easy in BG except working for other British people helping them with their renovations, and I also have to keep applying for an ID card, which are a lot cheaper now to when I first arrived in BG the Litchna Karta was 510 lev a year for the British and everything in Bg is plus tax you even have to pay for the forms you have to fill in. But having said this I like the people as most are genuine and really want to help you and would do anything to help. You are right on one point and that is UK is full of other races too full it is not like UK anymore, I was in London the other month waiting to catch my bus to the airport and there was not one English speaking person in the bus station I thought I was in a foreign country.

  11. right this is all a bit confusing for me how do i explain. Me and my boyfriend have been 2gether coming up to a year now we are happily engaged. Right the thing is he wants to work in the uk without these restrictions is there any way this is possible we cannot find this type of work he suppose to be doing and he has got an nin number this has been done all legal for him. Please we want to settle down in the uk 2gether. Also what is this yellowcard he is not self employed and he is not a student does this yellow card give him the rights to work in the uk wothout restrictions. Im confused please help us

  12. Louise, Your Romanian friend doesn’t need NVQ3 level skils unless he is applying for a work permit. There are other ways he can work in the UK.

    See article:

    In 2007 Bulgaria and Romania were admitted to the EU, but with work restrictions in the UK and other European countries.

    Many UK employers are unaware that despite the fact that they are EU members, when it comes to employment Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not have the same rights as other Europeans and other A8 Accession countries.

    There is an estimated half a million Romanians alone in the UK, many of whom are working as self employed contractors, which is allowed, whilst others study and work on a yellow coloured registration certificate commonly known as ‘Yellow Card’.

    After 12 months of continuous legal work they can apply for residence under a so called ‘Blue Card’ registration.

    Working in the UK as a genuine self employed contractor for certain industries, such as IT or the building trade, is acceptable. But the majority of employers are unwilling to deal with the practicalities of having self employed staff, for instance waiters, chefs or carers, presenting invoices every week.

    There is also the issue of obtaining a National Insurance (NI) number, which by itself does not infer entitlement to work, as a self employed person.

    One self employed Romanian lady told Immigration Matters that she had been refused an NI number five times despite providing all the necessary paperwork to the Glasgow based office.

    Route to Yellow and Blue Cards by studying vocational courses

    Romanian and Bulgarians who study vocational or sandwich-type courses, such as QCF (which replaced NVQ’s this year) in Customer Service, IT, Catering, Hospitality, Construction or Health and Social Care, are allowed to work full time, as stated on the back of their Yellow Cards.

    Employers can employ Romanian and Bulgarian workers provided they obtain a yellow card registration certificate allowing them to work in the UK whilst studying for a British qualification.

    Provided they stick to the course and work legally for 12 months in line with their course, they will usually be granted a residence ‘Blue Card’ permit.

    Some students, perhaps unwilling or unable to pay the fees, drop out of the course as they believe that having obtained a Yellow Card and NI Number they can continue working without further checks.

    The Romanian/Bulgarian students and their employers may find themselves in breach of the immigration rules and may therefore lose their eligibility for residence or Blue Card.

    As employers can be fined up to £10,000 for each illegal worker they employ, they are now looking deeper into their staff files.

    Employers also have the option of applying for a work permit for a Romanian or Bulgarian worker, outside of Tier 2 Rules, provided the job meets the requirements.


    If you are looking for a particular form or guidance note, try using the UKBA search facility or Google to locate it, rather than work your way through the maze of pages.

    For instance, many people ask: ‘where can I find the form to apply for a Yellow Card?’

    The form you are looking for is a ‘BR1’, but it is not called a ‘yellow card application’. In fact a search on the UKBA website for ‘yellow card’ will only give you a ‘No Results found for the Search term ‘yellow card’ reply. So you need to search using the correct name or a more defined search.

    The full title of the BR1 form is:


    You can locate the Forms BR1, BR2, BR3, BR4, BR5, BR6, BR7 and ‘Guidance for Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania on Obtaining Permission to Work in the United Kingdom‘ at:

    However, if you are reading this article in six months time it may not be at the same location or the Rules may have changed and the BR1 -7 forms may no longer be needed at all!

    If you need help or advice there is also a UKBA telephone number given for the ‘Accession State customer contact centre’ which is: 0114 207 4074.

    You can also seek advice from an Immigration Adviser, but make sure they are registered with the OISC, which provides a list of qualified advisers all over the UK.

    See also:

    Immigration policy ‘flawed’, says CIPD

    EU migration policies are ‘mad’ says Lord Digby Jones

    Switzerland joins Euro block on Bulgarian and Romanian Workers

    Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals


    New Tier 4 Student Visa rules implemented 21 April 2011, but will students applying to private colleges be allowed to work?

    If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

    Still confused about Bulgarian and Romanian rules?

    Bison UK Immigration Advisers are running free presentations for Employers, Romanians and Bulgarians the week of 11-22 April 2011, Monday to Friday, from 11am-12noon and 3-4pm. No need to book, just turn up. Venue: Bison Management UK, 16 Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. WD6 1DL. Nearest Train Station: Elstree and Borehamwood Station; Buses from Edgware underground station: 107 and 292.

  13. Louise says :

    Im just writing to say i know that a romanian citizen requires a skilled job NVQ level 3 to work here in the uk but what are they suppose to do if they cannot find this type or work or dont have that skill in the 1st place. My situtation is im a female and im a british citizen with a romanian guy i been with him a little over 1 year he wants work here and live here in the uk with me. But we seem to get nowhere he doesnt have the skills for an NVQ level 3 what are we suppose to do please help.

  14. Romanian people are mocked and used as sclaves on sites where they are put in dangerous places often with accidents at bones and muscles. They are treted miserably. It is discrimination. In Romania the British people were treated like kings and the ROmanian hospitality was many times for free not like here spending money at every step. With the documents it’s money and time spent in vain insted to be something productive. They are used to keep people employed when money should be used for phisiological and basic needs.

  15. Thank you Lola. The idea of the comments section is to share problems and issues and also offer suggestions or support.

  16. Good people , take it easy with all these accusations, you are taking everything in a wrong way.You were given the opportunity to ask for advice on this site, while it seems to me you are taking all your frustration on the wrong organisation.Try to take it everything with pride , and do not take anything for granted.
    Remember why you left your country and do not forget who you are.By the way, my situation is not pink, but i am happy that i have a roof above my head.

  17. When Bulgaria joined the EU,many English took advantage of the difference in living standards & bought cheap cheap houses in Bulgaria.Thus they have pushed prices up.But there were no hard feelings from the native polulation, every Bulgarian will tell you it’s a free market.You English companies, export your goods to Bulgaria ( and Romania) without paying any duty. Furthermore, you have the chance to establish the more poluting businesses in Bulgaria & ship back to England whatever produced, enjoying the low wages you pay to Bulgarians. Still your government insists on “protecting the labour market” & putting quotes. Don’t they understand the jobs undertaken by Bulgarians & Romanians are the ones no English will commit to ? And if there are no jobs to fulfil, the migrants most certainly will go back. So to conclude – there are two main FEATURES I notice in English – a huge overwhelming fear , almost paranoic about most issues, overprotectiveness, greed & double standards. Behaving in such a way on the EU scene sooner or later will affect the country as this behaviour shows lack of understanding the principles of the common market.

  18. The above public comment are NOT the recommendations of this site, which promotes legal methods to live, visit, work or study in the UK. If you are Romanian or Bulgarian you can come to the UK legally!

  19. dodgybulgarian says :

    calm down people if u speak english just come and work here, f*** the rules, most of the employers havent got a clue about the restrictions. And in 3 years all the restrictions will be lifted anyway by the european law, life is not fair just get what u want, that is the rule! Good luck))

  20. hipocrizy says :


  21. We are all equal in EU, unfortunately some are more equal than others…..

  22. Ali Guven says :

    Except UK and France none of those countries has restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarians, that is rubbish!! Germany has one of the most flexible laws, so do Spain as long as you can speak the local language that will help you to find a job. There is no point in defending this idea to be honest!

  23. Britain is not the only country which has imposed restrictions on Eastern Europeans. In fact all of Europe’s major countries (e.g. Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands etc) imposed restrictions on movement of labour when Europe expanded in 2004. Only the UK, Ireland and Sweden allowed ‘free movement of labour’ to the A8 nations, which has caused an imbalance.

  24. Equal Rights says :

    That is rubbish, all those restrictions for Romanians/Bulgarians! The English are allowed to do what ever they like in East Europe, but we get some stupid restrictions, is this the right way to treat us?
    Do u know how expensive is to study in the UK? Applying for your stupid cards?
    Do u understand you make it rather more difficult and aggrevate the situation! Yes you will get more illegal immigrants, because i am not willing to fill in the “gaps”!
    To work in the stupid agronomy, you see i am much more intelligent that doing that.


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