The Government has recently confirmed arrangements for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals. The arrangements are designed to regulate the flow of new workers into the UK. Both nations are set to join the European Union on 1 January 2007, forming the EU-27.

Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will have the right to reside in the UK for the first three months of their residence. Those wishing to remain in the UK for certain purposes may now have permission to do so under the European Union Treaty. The Treaty enables individuals to enter and remain in the UK for the following purposes:

Study

Self employment

As a self sufficient individual

Most individuals coming to the UK in order to work, however, will have access only to the existing current routes. The current routes include low skilled quota based options in the agricultural and food processing sectors, and the existing work permit, and HSMP routes (for those who qualify). The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) will be reserved from now on only for nationals of Romania and Bulgaria.

Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who qualify under the HSMP, SEGS or Fresh Talent Scheme will be recognised as being highly skilled and will be issued with a registration certificate confirming that there are no restrictions on working. Those exercising treaty rights may also apply for registration certificates. Other workers will be issued with an accession worker card (for example, after a UK employer has successfully obtained a work permit). As an additional route, some specific workers will be eligible for accession worker cards (which will be employment-specific). Eligibility for a card without employer sponsorship will be restricted to specific work, work placements and professions.

These transitional arrangements will enable the government to assess the impact of the most recent enlargement of the EU before lifting restrictions any further. The impact may also influence the government’s planned wider immigration reforms. Workers from Bulgaria and Romania are to be provided with “gradual” access to the UK labour market after their accession to the EU on 1 January 2007.

More information on the arrangements for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will be uploaded soon to the UK Work Permits Ltd website.