The Home Office has announced that it is expected that Croatia will join the European Union (EU) on 1 July 2013. It has stated its commitment to applying transitional restrictions on labour market access to nationals of any future Member States of the EU as a matter of course and therefore restrictions will be applied to nationals of Croatia.

Below you will find some frequently asked questions, covering the proposed transitional arrangements governing Croatian nationals’ access to the labour market.

  1. Will Croatian nationals still require a work visa to work in the UK?

Unless a Croatian national has been legally working in the UK on the date of accession for at least 12 months, they will need to be sponsored by an employer under the points-based system and obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).  The CoS will count against the annual Tier 2 General limit however Croatian nationals will be given priority over third country nationals in the event that the limit is over-subscribed.

  1. Are there any other exemptions?

Workers posted to the UK from a business established in another member state will not be subject to restrictions, nor will those Croatian nationals wishing to establish a business in the UK.  Furthermore, after 12 continuous months’ work in the UK Croatian nationals will no longer be subject to work restrictions.

  1. Will Family members be subject to the work authorisation requirement?

No, they are fully exempt.

  1. Which skills test will Croatian nationals need to meet?

The requirements to meet the skills test will be based on the Immigration Rules in place as at December 2011 and therefore the skill level under Tier 2 will be NQF 4+.

  1. Will entry clearance be required?

There will be no requirement to obtain entry clearance prior to arrival but an application for an Accession Worker Registration Certificate (AWRC) will be required.

  1. Will the ‘cooling-off’ period apply?

No, following the expiry of the AWRC, if the Croatian national leaves the UK, there is no requirement to spend 12 months outside the UK.