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New EU Member States (A8 nationals): right to residence and employment

10 September 2010

The Accession Treaty gave nationals from the ten new Member States the right to travel freely across the European Union in order to visit, live, work and study in any Member State.

It is a general misconception that all EU nationals are having equal rights of residence and employment in the UK regardless of their nationality. It is important to understand that under the Accession Treaty, access to the labour market for "A8 nationals" of the following countries has been restricted: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

From our experience, we know that many A8 nationals are unaware of the restrictions concerning their right of residence and employment in the UK and unknowingly end up working in breach of the EU regulations. Although, the breach of conditions is unlikely to lead to their removal from the UK, it might affect the rights of their family members, who are not EU nationals themselves.

In this article we would like to shed some light on the subject of right of residence and employment of A8 nationals.

With few exceptions, which we will mention later, all A8 Member States nationals MUST register under the Worker Registration Scheme, in particular:

  • Those who started a job any time after 1 May 2004;
  • Those who had been working in the UK before 1 May 2004 without permission/in breach of their immigration conditions.

Only those in the following categories can be exempt from the registration:

  • Self-employed
  • Self-sufficient - those who have sufficient level of funds to reside in the UK without taking employment and hold comprehensive private medical insurance
  • Student
  • Self-employed persons who have ceased activity

A8 nationals who do not fall into one of the above categories will be required to apply for a Worker Registration Card and work for 'an authorised employer' for 12 months prior to gaining "full EU rights' and being treated in line with nationals of Germany, France or Spain.

Those A8 nationals who have not completed 12 months of uninterrupted legal employment in the UK or wish to change employers will need to re-register with their new employer.

Failure to apply for a Worker Registration Card within one month from the commencement of employment will constitute unlawful employment.

Please contact us if you are unclear about your status or your ability to work in the UK.







Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.