EU accession will see UK immigration rules change for Croatians

18 Oct 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Croatians considering moving to Britain should find things easier in the years to come in light of today's UK immigration news.

Government today (October 18th) introduced the European Union (Croatian Accession) Bill to Parliament, which confirms that the country is expected to join the EU on July 1st next year. At the moment, Croatian nationals are subject to the Immigration Act 1971, and the relevant provisions of the Points Based System (PBS). They are also required to qualify for a Tier 2 work permit and need to request applications for leave to enter under these arrangements, which are subject to annual limits.

There are further separate arrangements under Tier 1 for high value economic migrants, such as entrepreneurs, investors and exceptionally talented individuals, as well as different agreements for Tier 5 temporary workers.

But after July 1st next year Croatian nationals will no longer be subject to immigration control. They will have unrestricted right to enter and reside in the UK for up to three months. However, included in the bill are provisions for transitional labour market access arrangements for Croatian nationals. These regulations will see that Croatians access to jobs in Britain remains limited.

The transitional restrictions will mean that Croatian nationals will still be subject to a requirement to obtain work authorisation if they intend to undertake employment. As with other countries that are currently outside of the EU, it will be necessary to obtain employment authorisation before commencing employment and the provision will only be granted to those who meet the requirements for skilled economic migrants through Tiers 2 and 5 of the PBS introduced in December 2011.

It is clear that this regulations are in place to control the transitional phase of Croatia joining the EU. EU regulations make it imperative that these are reviewed as the country becomes settled in to the economic zone, so restrictions could well be reduced in the future.