Croatia joins European Union (EU)
On 1 July 2013, Croatia became a member of the European Union (EU).
Croatian nationals are now therefore able to move and live freely in any Member State of the EU as they do not need permission under the UK immigration rules to reside legally in the UK. A Croatian national has a right of residence in any EU Member State for the first 3 months of residence on an unrestricted basis and can remain legally resident in that state as long as they wish, providing they are exercising a Treaty right as a student, a self-employed person, or if self-sufficient (and not economically active). It is important to note that they will not have an automatic right to reside as a worker or a jobseeker in the UK. Croatian nationals wanting to work in the UK need to obtain work authorisation (permission to work) before starting any employment, unless they are exempt from this requirement.
Students wanting to study in the UK do not need to be sponsored under Tier 4, but if they want or need to work, they must obtain an accession worker authorisation document unless they are exempt.
Work authorisation is normally in the form of an Accession Worker Registration Certificate (or Purple Registration Certificate). A Croatian national with an offer of employment in the UK from a licensed sponsor must obtain this document from the Home Office before commencing work. This document will contain an endorsement restricting the holder to a particular job or type of employment.
The criteria for approving an application for a Purple Registration Certificate will be the same as applied to non-EEA nationals at the point at which the Accession Treaty was signed (December 2011) and applications will therefore normally be subject to Points Based System criteria.
It is an offence under the Accession of Croatia (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2013 to work in the UK if you need worker authorisation and do not have it. This could lead to criminal sanctions such as a heavy fine and/or imprisonment for both the employer and employee.
For further details please contact your Global Immigration professional at Hudson McKenzie, or email one of our London Immigration Lawyers at email@example.com.