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Archive for December 20th, 2011

Employers may need to shelve any plans to employ Bulgarian and Romanian workers as restrictions on their right to work have been extended.

Romania and the Republic of Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. When they joined, existing Member States were allowed to restrict access to their labour markets by Bulgarian and Romanian nationals until 31 December 2011. After that, they could extend those restrictions until 31 December 2013 if there were ‘serious disturbances’ to a Member State’s labour market or the threat of such disturbances.

The UK chose to make such restrictions in the Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2006 which applied from the beginning of 2007. Those Regulations restricted Bulgarian and Romanian nationals’ ability to work in the UK until 31 December 2011. The UK has now decided to continue to apply those measures until 31 December 2013 on the basis that there is a ‘serious disturbance’ in the UK labour market. The 2006 Regulations have, therefore, been amended by the Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) (Amendment) Regulations 2011.

This continues the existing provisions. For most categories of worker from these countries, the UK employer will have to apply for a work permit before the immigrant applies for an ‘accession worker authorisation document’. If s/he obtains that document, the worker then has to work in accordance with the conditions in it.

Permission to work will normally only be given where a worker has a specific job offer and the work is in skilled employment for which the employer has been unable to find a suitably qualified resident worker.

Further information on applying for a work permit for Bulgarian and Romanian workers can be found at the UK Borders Agency website.

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