Accession of Croatia (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2013

The UK government has now formally completed ratification of the Croatian Accession Treaty and has published the Regulations which come into force on 1 July 2013. The Regulations set out the requirements governing Croatian nationals’ access to the UK labour market. These largely confirm what was proposed in the Statement of Intent published in October last year and about which we previously wrote about 25 October 2012, click here for a link to this alert. You can also view FAQ's on this topic here.

The Regulations clarify that before commencing employment in the UK, unless one of the exempt categories applies, the Croatian national will require sponsorship and a Certificate of Sponsorship will need to be assigned. An application must then be submitted for a Worker Authorisation Registration Certificate (WARC) which will attract a fee of £55. (This was previously referred to as an Accession Worker Registration Certificate in the Statement of Intent.)

If the Croatian national ceases work for the employer for more than 30 days, the Home Office will revoke the WARC. Potential penalties for non-compliance with the authorisation process are severe. Those employers found to be employing a Croatian national without this document will be liable to a prison sentence of up to 51 weeks for employers in England and Wales or 6 months for employers in Scotland and Ireland, or a fine, or both. For Croatian nationals found to be working without this document there is a fixed penalty fine of £1000 and potential imprisonment of up to 3 months. For a link to the Regulations please click here.

Changes to the Immigration Rules 1 July 2013

A number of minor changes to the Immigration Rules have been published which will come into force on 1 July 2013. They include:

  • Changes to the documents required for approved English language tests;
  • Clarification that ‘regulated financial institutions’ means those regulated to provide personal savings accounts or student loans;
  • More legal courses are now exempt from the time limit on study for Tier 4 student visas; and
  • A resident labour market test is not needed for applications for a religious worker (Tier 5) extension.

In addition tuberculosis testing has been introduced for a number of additional countries including China and Hong Kong. However, in these countries it will only apply for settlement applications. Please click here for further information on the procedure in China.