The Minister of state for Immigration, Damian Green, has confirmed that restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers in the UK will remain in force.

The initial restrictions on employment, in place since Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the EU on 1st January 2007, could have been lifted after the initial 5 year period finished at the end of this year.

However, it has been confirmed that these restrictions will stay in place until the end of 2013. At the end of 2013 the UK will be obliged to lift any restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers, as restrictions may only stay in place for seven years in total, in accordance with EU law.

Under the current rules, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals may be self-employed in the UK without first gaining permission. If a Bulgarian or Romanian national wishes to work as an employee, they must first obtain permission from the UK Border Agency, unless they are exempt from this requirement.

There are a number of different ways in which a Bulgarian or Romanian may gain permission to work in the UK, including:

  • Having family members in the UK;
  • Having studied a degree in the UK;
  • Qualifying under HSMP criteria; or
  • Having a firm job offer for a position at NVQ level 3 or above.


If you are looking to employ a Bulgarian or Romanian, or you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national looking for permission to work, we would be happy to help you with the necessary application(s); please contact us.