European Union Law
Nationals of the member states of the European Union benefit from more favourable provisions of immigration law than nationals of other countries. If you are a national of a European member state, do not assume that the general law applies to you; check for special provisions. Four groups must be distinguished:
- Nationals of European Union countries in general. You are free to come to the UK. You can visit, work (subject to restrictions mentioned below for Bulgarians and Romanians), whether for an employer or for yourself, and study. Workers can bring a wide range of family members with them, whether or not these family members are European Union nationals themselves. Students can bring immediate family members.
- Under the Worker Registration Scheme nationals of countries collectively known as the A8 countries (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) were required to register to work for an employer in the UK. However, on 10 March 2011 the government announced the closure of the scheme, which became effective from 30 April 2011. A8 nationals (and their family members) now enjoy the same rights to free movement as are held by all other EU nationals. You should be aware, however, that some of these rights depend upon the EU national working, rather than just being, in the UK.
- Nationals of Romania and Bulgaria, the most recent members of the European Union, are, since 1 January 2007, subject to a separate Worker Registration Scheme and no longer have to rely on the Association Agreements between the European Union and their countries. Your other rights, including rights to work in self-employment in the UK, are as for other EU nationals, although be aware that some of these rights depend on the EU national working, rather than just being, in the UK. Existing limitations on the right to work in the UK will be lifted in December 2013.
- Nationals of Turkey benefit from European Community Association Agreements (ECAA) between the European Union and their country.
- Croatia is due to join the European Union on 1 July 2013. Although this will allow Croatians free movement to travel to and from the UK and reside here for up to three months, restrictions will be placed on their ability to work. These are likely to be similar to those already in place. Although the Home Office has issued a Declaration of Intent concerning this, the full rules and their duration have yet to be published.
Gherson has many years of experience in European cases and cases under the Association Agreements. Contact us to discuss your requirements and how we can help you with your case.