When Croatia joins the European Union (EU) on 1 July 2013, transitional arrangements will be introduced to restrict Croatian nationals’ from full access to the UK labour market.
Last October the UK Government introduced the European Union (Croatian Accession) Bill in Parliament, which includes provisions for ‘transitional access arrangements’ for Croatian nationals to the British labour market.
The Home Office has published a Statement of Intent setting out the transitional restrictions which it expects to apply to Croatian nationals working in the UK after 1 July 2013.
Statement of Intent
After 1 July 2013, Croatian nationals will no longer be subject to immigration control and will have an unrestricted right to enter and reside (but not to work) in the UK for up to 3 months. They will therefore no longer require leave to enter (visa) or remain in the UK, whether or not they intend to take employment.
Under the transitional restrictions which the Government intends to introduce, Croatian nationals will instead be subject to a requirement to obtain work authorisation if they intend to undertake employment in the UK.
Where they are required to obtain such work authorisation, a Croatian worker will be able to work legally and will have a right to reside beyond 3 months as a worker only when authorisation has been granted by the UK Border Agency, and will not have a right to reside as a work seeker.
You will need to obtain authorisation or permission to work before commencing employment in the UK.
Work authorisation will only be granted to those Croatians who meet the requirements for skilled economic migrants, as obtained for Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points-Based System at December 2011.
There are exceptions such as those already legally in the UK or married to British or EEA nationals.
Study and work or self employment in the UK
The government make provisions for Croatians who are studying to be able, as is the case under the current Immigration Rules (for Romanians and Bulgarians), to work part-time and during vacations, and employment which forms part of a vocational course of study, without requiring work authorisation provided they have obtained a registration certificate (e.g. yellow card) from the UK Border Agency confirming that they are exercising a Treaty right as a student.
You will also be able to work in a self-employed capacity because the terms of the Accession Treaty do not permit the UK to restrict the exercise of rights of free movement for the purposes of establishment. Those exercising a right to reside as a self-employed person (or as a self-sufficient person) will, however, be subject to work authorisation in the event that they go on to engage in work in an employed capacity. However, obtaining a National Insurance number and Tax Reference as a self employed person is not that easy, as many Romanians have found.
Yellow Card to Blue Card in 12 months
Work restrictions, due to end next year, were imposed on Bulgarians and Romanians when they joined the EU in 2007. In order to work in the UK, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals had to either apply for a work permit, start a business or study on a ‘yellow card’ permit which allowed them to work.
After 12 months on a yellow card as a student you can apply for a blue card, which is similar to a form of permanent residence with no work restrictions.
Partners, husbands and wives and children may join you on a yellow card and you can apply for a blue card for family members.
The Government does not intend to offer Croatian nationals with access to the quota-based schemes (the ‘SAWS’ Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme and the Sectors Based Scheme) under which Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are currently permitted to work at lower skill levels.
The average $19 GDP per person in Croatia, ranked at 48 by the World Bank, is higher than Romania and Bulgaria, but just over half that of the average British worker.
Bulgarian and Romanian migrants who want to work in the UK can apply for a yellow card permits, WP1 work permits (for skilled workers), seasonal agricultural temporary work, au pair permits (age limits), or start a business as a genuine self employed person. But thousands are choosing the more flexible yellow card work study route, which allows full time work for those taking vocational work-based courses such as NVQ’s.
If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, 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. UK jobs are available in the care industry.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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