From 1 January 2007, as European Economic Area nationals, Bulgarians and Romanians have been approved freely to reside in any EEA member state. Freedom means they will not require leave to enter or remain to reside legally in the UK.

Wragge & Co’s Business Immigration Team offers some practical hints and tips for organisations employing Bulgarian and Romanian workers.

Consider however that Bulgarian and Romanian nationals wanting to work in the UK still need to obtain authorisation before starting any employment, unless they are exempt. Authorisation will normally take the form of an accession worker card for a certain category of employment. The Bulgarian or Romanian national will be able to apply to the Home Office for an accession worker card without the need for an employer to apply for a work permit. Ensure you are aware of the different categories available under this scheme. A selection of such categories are Airport based operational ground staff of an overseas airline, “Au pai” placements, Domestic workers in a private household, ministers of religion, missionaries or members of a religious order. A full list of these categories is available from the Bulgarian and Romanian Guidance - non work permits section of the Home Office website


Be aware that if the employment falls within the categories for obtaining authorisation, there are two stages. Stage 1, the employer must first apply for approval of employment under work permit arrangements. Stage 2, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals must then apply for an accession worker card.