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A2 nationals

This content applies to England

The right to reside of A2 nationals in the UK.

From 1 January 2014, A2 nationals have the same right to reside in the UK as other EEA nationals. The A2 states are Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU in January 2007.

On or after 1 January 2014

Under the Worker Authorisation Scheme, an A2 worker subject to worker authorisation only had a right to reside in the UK and was eligible for homelessness assistance during the first year of employment if that employment was authorised during the period of accession.[1] The accession period ended on 31 December 2013.[2] After this date, A2 nationals have the same rights as other EEA nationals. For more information see Persons eligible for assistance.

Worker Authorisation Scheme (before 1 January 2014)

The Worker Authorisation Regulations[3] required an A2 worker who was not in an exempt group (see below) to obtain prior authorisation, which would only be granted for specific types of work, before taking up employment.

Exempt from authorisation

The following Bulgarian and Romanian nationals were not subject to worker authorisation:

  • a person who, on 31 December 2006, had leave to enter or remain in the UK without any restriction on their employment or who is given such leave after that date
  • a person who had been legally working in the UK without interruption throughout the period from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2006
  • a person who was also a national of the UK or another EEA state
  • a person who was the spouse or civil partner of a UK national or of a person settled in the UK
  • a person who had a permanent right of residence under regulation 15 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations (ie after five years' residence in exercise of EU Treaty rights)[4]
  • a person who was a family member of an EEA national with a right to reside in the UK
  • a person who was a 'highly skilled person' with a registration certificate to prove this
  • a person who was a student who did not work for more than 20 hours a week during term-time (unless working as part of her/his training), or worked full-time during the holidays, or was working having finished her/his course less than four months previously, and held the appropriate registration certificate[5]
  • a person who was the spouse, civil partner or child aged under 18 of a person who had leave to enter or remain in the UK without restriction on employment.[6]

Losing the right to reside

A Bulgarian or Romanian national lost the right to reside if s/he ceased working for her/his employer under the terms of the authorisation.[7] Temporary inability to work because of an illness or accident meant that a person was unable to retain worker status and her/his eligibility for assistance, unless the period of unemployment was limited to 30 days within the 12-month period and the person returned to work.[8]

Completes 12 months' authorised employment

If a Bulgarian or Romanian national completed 12 months' employment under the Worker Authorisation Scheme, s/he was no longer required to register under the scheme and had exactly the same rights as workers of EEA states with full rights.

Permanent right to reside

An EEA national who has resided in the UK for a continuous period of five years in accordance with the UK Regulations has a permanent right to reside in the UK.[9] However, an A2 national will need to show that periods of employment that fell under the requirement for authorisation complied with the Worker Authorisation Scheme in order to constitute a period of lawful residence and count towards the five years residence needed for a permanent right to reside.[10] In exceptional cases, the strict requirement for compliance with the Worker Authorisation Scheme may be disproportionate. For details, see the page Five years' residence.

Jobseekers

A2 nationals who entered the UK as jobseekers during the accession period had no right to reside unless they satisfied the self-sufficiency requirement set out in the Citizenship Directive.[11]

Asylum applications

Bulgarian and Romanian nationals who made an asylum application before 1 January 2007 are still entitled to be accommodated by UKVI and to have a decision on their asylum claim.

Family members (before 1 January 2014)

In most cases the family members of A2 workers working in the UK in accordance with any authorisation requirements had a right to reside in the UK and were eligible for assistance with social housing. The principal exception applied to the family members of A2 nationals who were authorised to work in the UK as seasonal agricultural workers or au pairs.[12]

Unauthorised employment of A2 workers could not give rise to a 'Baumbast' derivative right to reside in the UK as the primary carer of a child in education.[13]

See the page on Family of workers and self-employed for more information on the right to reside of family members.

Self-employment and other rights

With regards to the right to self-employment, the right to provide and receive services, the right to reside as a student and the general right to free movement, A2 nationals and their family members generally had the same rights as all other EEA/EU nationals even prior to 1 January 2014. For more information see the relevant pages in the section on Persons eligible for assistance.

Wales

The legislative references and the footnotes on this page reflect the law in England. In Wales, very similar rules made under Welsh legislation apply, but the references may be different. Contact Shelter Cymru for more information about the law in Wales.

[1] Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/3340 and Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/3317, as amended by Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/475 and by Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 SI 2011/2816.

[2] reg 1(2)(c) Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/3317, as amended by reg 2 Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 SI 2011/2816.

[3] reg 2 Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/3317, as amended by Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/475.

[4] reg 15 Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/1052; prior to 1 February 2017, reg 15 Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1003.

[5] reg 2(10)-(10B) Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/3317, as amended by Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/475, subject to transitional provisions in reg 4(1) Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/475.

[6] reg 2 Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/3317, as amended by reg 2 Accession (Worker Authorisation and Worker Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 SI 2009/2426.

[7] reg 6 Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/3317.

[8] reg 2(12)(c) Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/3317.

[9] reg15 Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/1052.

[10] para 1, sch. 4, Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/1052.

[11] Directive 2004/38/EC on the rights of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.

[12] reg 2(3) Accession (Worker Authorisation and Worker Registration) (Amendment) regulations 2007 SI 2007/3012.

[13] HMRC v IT (CTC) UKUT 252 (AAC).

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