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Right to reside of A8, A2 and Croatian nationals

This content applies to England

Access of A8, A2 and Croatian nationals to the UK labour market.

Introduction

The UK introduced schemes to limit the access of A8, A2 and Croatian nationals to the UK labour market when their countries joined the European Union (EU) for a limited period of time known as the 'accession period'.

The restrictions imposed by these worker schemes have generally been held to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, and therefore non-discriminatory against Croatian, A2 and A8 nationals, and not incompatible with their Article 8 rights.[1]

A8 nationals

A8 nationals are nationals of Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, which joined the EU in 2004.

Worker Registration Scheme

The restrictions imposed on A8 nationals by the Worker Registration Scheme were originally due to expire on 30 April 2009, but were extended for a further two years until 30 April 2011. 

The Supreme Court has confirmed that the extension of the Scheme was unlawful and that the regulations extending it until 30 April 2011 should be disapplied.[2] Therefore, periods of unregistered employment of A8 nationals in the period from 1 May 2009 to 30 April 2011 can be taken into consideration when determining, for example, whether they have retained worker status and/or acquired a permanent right to reside in the UK.

From 1 May 2009, A8 nationals have the same rights of residence as other EEA nationals.

A2 nationals

A2 nationals are nationals of Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU on 1 January 2007.

Worker Authorisation Scheme

The restrictions imposed on A2 nationals by the Worker Authorisation Scheme expired on 31 December 2013. 

From 1 January 2014, A2 nationals have the same rights of residence as other EEA nationals.

Croatian nationals

The Republic of Croatia joined the EU on 1 July 2013. 

Worker Authorisation Scheme

During the five years' accession period running up to 30 June 2018, Croatian nationals were subject to worker Authorisation and were eligible for housing assistance only if they held a valid worker authorisation document, or were exempt.[3]

From 1 July 2018, Croatian nationals have the same rights of residence as other EEA nationals.[4]

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] Zalewska v Department for Social Development [2008] UKHL 67; Mirga v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: Samin v Westminster City Council [2016] UKSC 1; VP v SSWP (JSA) [2014] 0032 (AAC).

[2] Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Gubeladze [2019] UKSC 31.

[3] Accession of Croatia (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2013 SI 2013/1460.

[4] Announced in a Written Statement  from the House of Commons by Caroline Noakes, Minister of State for Immigration, 19 March 2018, HCWS560.

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