December 1, 2011

On November 23, 2011, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Immigration Minister Damien Green confirmed that through December 31, 2013, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will retain the current set of work permit requirements for Bulgarian and Romanians nationals intending to see employment in the UK.

What’s Changed?

Bulgaria and Romania acceded or joined the European Union (EU) in on January 1, 2007.  As part of being an “accession country” member, full EU-member countries were allowed to impose a seven-year transition period to integrate full freedom of movement privileges and allow unrestricted work authorization for nationals of accession countries.

At four years after accession, full EU-member countries can determine if there is a significant compromise on their countries’ domestic labor markets. If so, full member countries could elect to continue work permit restrictions on accession-country nationals for the remainder of the seven-year transition period.

The UK Border Agency has elected to impose work permit requirements on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals through the end of 2013.  The Immigration Minister’s comments can be reviewed more fully at the following: http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsarticles/2011/november/44-labour-restrictions

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Companies considering assignments to the UK should anticipate the time it will take to assemble a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) application on behalf of Bulgarian and Romanian candidates and to receive an Accession Worker Card.  Companies should also bear in mind the time to process a CoS application depending on the category of work, particularly for those applications that could require Resident Labor Market Test.

Once a CoS application is approved, the UKBA will forward an approval letter to the Bulgarian or Romanian worker to enter the UK (without need of an entry visa) and apply an Accession Worker Card with the UKBA.  Workers must wait for receipt of their worker card prior to engaging in their employment.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or final guidance for any immigration matter. Readers are reminded that a country’s immigration laws and requirements may change with little to no advance public notice. Questions regarding specific immigration matters should be addressed to your Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist.