01 Jul Croatia is now a member of the European Union (EU)
Croatian nationals are now able to move and live freely in any Member State of the EU. A Croatian national has a right of residence in any EU Member State for the first 3 months of residence on an unrestricted basis and can remain legally resident in that state as long as they wish, providing they are exercising a Treaty right as a student, a self-employed person, or if self-sufficient (and not economically active).
However, they will not have an automatic right to reside as a worker or a jobseeker in the UK. Croatian nationals wanting to work in the UK need to obtain work authorisation (permission to work) before starting any employment, unless they are exempt from this requirement.
Students wanting to study in the UK do not need to be sponsored under Tier 4, but if they want or need to work, they must obtain an accession worker authorisation document unless they are exempt.
Work authorisation is normally in the form of an Accession Worker Registration Certificate (or “Purple Registration Certificate”). A Croatian national with an offer of employment in the UK from a licensed sponsor must obtain this document from the Home Office before commencing work.
It is an offence under the Accession of Croatia (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2013 to work in the UK if you need worker authorisation and do not have it. This could lead to criminal sanctions such as a heavy fine and/or imprisonment for both the employer and employee.
If you have any questions regarding the work authorisation or EEA applications, please contact us to obtain legal advice.