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New kid on the block: Croatia accedes to the EU

On 1 July 2013, Croatia became a member of the European Union. Croatian nationals no longer need permission to move and live in the UK. Croatian nationals have a right of residence in the UK or in any EU member state for the first three months, and they may remain in that member state without further permission provided that they are not economically active, and are exercising their treaty right as either a self-employed person, a self-sufficient person or a student.

Croatian nationals do not yet have an unrestricted right to work in the UK and so do not have an automatic right to reside here as a worker or a job seeker. In order to work in the UK, Croatian nationals must obtain work authorisation before starting any employment, unless they are exempt from this requirement. Similarly, whilst Croatian national students do not need to apply under Tier 4 of the Points Based System to come to the UK to study, if they wish to work, they will require work authorisation before doing so.

It is an offence for a Croatian national to work in the UK without work authorisation if such an individual needs authorisation to work here (i.e. they do not already have the right to work under other routes). This offence has consequences for employers as well as employees and the UKBA has discretion to apply large fines in respect of offenders.

Croatian nationals wishing to work in the UK will need to obtain a purple registration card. In order to make such an application, employers will need to provide employees with a certificate of sponsorship registration number which can be obtained from the UKBA.

DWF’s Immigration team can assist with all aspects of commercial immigration. For further information, please contact Emma Deighan at emma.deighan@dwf.co.uk.

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Legal news, views, trends and tools for HR Professionals. Stay ahead. Go further