24 October 2012 #Employment
On 1st July 2013, the Republic of Croatia will gain accession to the EU. After this date, Croatian nationals will no longer be subject to immigration control. However, restrictions will be imposed on Croatian nationals which are similar to those imposed on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals.
The Government intends to impose the restrictions set out below but these are not final and are subject to change.
Restrictions on Croatian nationals’ right to work
Exemptions to the requirement to obtain authorisation will be provided and these will include, but are not limited to:
Croatian nationals who are self employed will not be subject to the authorisation scheme. However, if they become employed they must obtain authorisation from the UK Border Agency.
The authorisation scheme
Authorisation to work will be based on the immigration rules in place on the date of accession i.e. 1st July 2013. This is known as the standstill clause and prevents the UK introducing more restrictive practices in relation to Croatian nationals than were present on the 1st July 2013.
If Croatian nationals intend to apply for authorisation based on their eligibility under Tier 2 and Tier 5, their employer will issue them with a certificate of sponsorship. Once this certificate has been issued, the individual will then apply for an accession worker registration certificate as opposed to a leave to remain/enter visa. The cooling off period will not apply to Croatian nationals.
Sanctions for non compliance
A Croatian national found to be working in breach of the regulations will be subject to a maximum of three months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding £5,000. The employee can discharge the liability on payment of a fin of £1,000 to the Secretary of State.
An employer found to employing a Croatian national contrary to the regulations will be subject to a maximum of 6 months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding £5,000.
There will an additional sanction when deception is used to obtain an accession worker registration certificate of a maximum of three months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding £5,000.