Guidance for nationals of Bulgaria and Romania on obtaining permission to work

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1. The purpose of this guidance is to explain what, if you are a national of Bulgaria or Romania, you and your family will need to do if you wish to take employment in the United Kingdom after 1 January 2007. It explains what sort of documents you may be required to obtain in order to work legally and the steps you should take to do so. It also explains what you can do if you are coming to or present in the United Kingdom for some other purpose (for example, study or selfemployment) and you wish to obtain a document confirming your status.

2. From 1st January 2007 you will be able to move and reside freely in any Member State. You will not require leave to enter or remain to reside legally in the UK. You will have a right of residence in any EU Member State for the first 3 months of residence on an unrestricted basis and remain legally resident in that state as long as you wish, providing you are exercising a treaty right as a student, a self-employedperson, or if you are self-sufficient (and not economically active). You will not however, have an automatic right to reside as a worker (unless you are exempt from work authorisation requirements – see paragraph 6 below).

3. If you want to work in the United Kingdom from 1 January 2007, you may qualify for the issue of a registration certificate or accession worker card depending on your  circumstances. Your family members may also qualify for the issue of a registration certificate or accession worker card or, if they are non-EEA nationals, a residence card or family member residence stamp. You should read the guidance below before you make an application. How you make an application is set out in paragraphs 20 to 27 below.

Work authorisation


4. The UK government has stated that it will provide nationals of Bulgaria and Romania with only gradual access to its labour market from 1 January 2007. This means that from 1 January 2007, nationals of Bulgaria and Romania will continue to be required to obtain authorisation of their employment if they wish to work in the United Kingdom. If you take employment without obtaining such authorisation you, and your employer, may be committing a criminal offence (see paragraphs 34 to 35 below).

5. To obtain such authorisation you will normally be required to obtain an accession worker card. You will not, however, need to obtain an accession worker card if:

• you are exempt from the requirement to do so (see paragraphs 6 to 8 below); or
• you are coming to the United Kingdom under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) and hold a valid work card issued by a SAWS operator; or
• you were given leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom before 1 January 2007 and your passport has been endorsed with a condition restricting your employment to a particular employer or category of employment (for example, if you are already in the United Kingdom as a work permit holder or au pair). If this leave to enter or remain expires before you qualify to be exempt from work authorisation requirements (see
paragraph 7 below), or you wish to engage in employment other than the job for which the leave was granted, you may need to obtain an accession worker card.

Exemption from the work authorisation requirement

6. You will not require a work authorisation document in order to take employment in the United Kingdom if you are exempt from this requirement. If you are exempt, you will be able to take employment without restriction. You may, if you wish, apply for a registration certificate confirming that there are no restrictions on your taking employment (see paragraph 21 below which advises you which application form you should use).

7. You will be exempt from the requirement to obtain authorisation to work in
the United Kingdom if:

• you have leave to enter under the Immigration Act 1971 and that leave does not place any restrictions on taking employment in the United Kingdom. For example, you have been given leave to remain as the spouse of a British citizen or as the dependant of a work permit holder;
• you have been working with permission, and without interruption, in the United Kingdom for a period of 12 months ending on or after 31 December 2006. For example, you are already present in the United Kingdom as a work permit holder or in some other category that confers permission to take employment (for example as a student and you have been in part-time employment continuously for 12 months);
• you are providing services in the United Kingdom on behalf of an employer established elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA);
• you are also a citizen of the United Kingdom or another EEA state, other than Bulgaria or Romania, or Switzerland;
• you are the family member of a EEA national exercising a Treaty right in the United Kingdom (except if you are the family member of a Bulgarian or Romanian national who is subject to work authorisation requirements) or the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen or person with settlement in the United Kingdom.

8. You may also establish an exemption from the requirement to obtain work authorisation if you are highly skilled. However, in order to do so, you will need to demonstrate that you meet certain criteria and obtain a registration certificate on this basis (see paragraph 9 below).

Highly skilled workers

9. To qualify as highly skilled, you must either:

• score sufficient points under the points-based system established for the purpose of the existing Highly Skilled Migrants Programme. More details of the Highly Skilled Programme, including the attributes for which points are awarded, are set out on the website www.workingintheuk.gov . You will not be required to satisfy the requirements of this Programme in respect of proficiency in English language; or
• meet the criteria for the approval of leave to remain under the existing Science and Engineering Graduate’s Scheme or Scottish graduates Scheme. To qualify on this basis you must, in the previous 12 months, have obtained a Higher National Diploma or degree (including a masters or doctorate) from an educational institution in Scotland, or a degree with second class honours or above in a subject approved by the Department for Education or Skills for the purpose of the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme1, or a masters or postgraduate degree in any subject.
We will issue a registration certificate confirming that the holder is not subject to any
restriction on taking employment where we consider the applicant to be highly skilled.

The self-employed and work authorisation

10. If you are working in a self-employed capacity, and exercising a Treaty right on that basis, you will not need to obtain authorisation for that work although you will need to be able, if challenged, demonstrate that you are genuinely self-employed. If you are exercising a Treaty right as a self-employed person, you may apply for a registration certificate confirming this, but it is not a requirement that you do so and a registration certificate issued on this basis will not confer a right to take employment on any other basis than self-employment.

Students and work authorisation

11. If you are a student in the United Kingdom, you may engage in employment for up to 20 hours a week without obtaining an accession worker card. However, if you wish to work, you must first obtain a registration certificate confirming that you are exercising a Treaty right as a student. This will provide authority for you to work up to 20 hours per week. You will be required to demonstrate that you are enrolled at a genuine educational institution. If you are a student and wish to work for more than 20 hours a week, you will need to obtain an accession worker card for this purpose. If you wish to exercise your treaty right as a student and do not intend to work you are not required to register.

Accession worker card

12. You will need an offer of employment in the United Kingdom before an accession worker card can be issued and, if you do have an offer of employment, you must obtain an accession worker card before you commence work. If you start work before the card has been issued to you, you will be working illegally. An accession worker card will specify the employer of the holder of the document and, except in the case of authorised family members, the occupation or category of employment for which it is issued. An accession worker card will not be issued for a specified period of time but will cease to be valid if the employment for which it has been issued ceases. If you change your employment, you will need to apply for a new accession work card in respect of the new employment.

13. An accession worker card may be issued for the following categories of
employment:

• airport-based operational ground staff of an overseas airline
• au pair placements
• domestic workers in a private household
• overseas government employees
• postgraduate doctors, dentists and trainee general practitioners
• private servants in a diplomatic household
• representatives of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
• sole representatives of overseas businesses
• teachers and language assistants on approved exchange schemes
• overseas qualified nurses undertaking supervised practice

The requirements for issue of an accession worker card for these categories are set out
in Annex A of this Guidance and the application form (form BR3) will tell you what
documentary evidence you will need to provide in support of your application .

14. If your employment does not fall into one of the categories above, an accession worker card will only be issued if your employer has obtained approval of the employment through the existing work permit arrangements. This means that your employer will first need to obtain a letter of approval of the employment from Work Permits (UK). The criteria and procedures for the issue of letters of approval under the work permit arrangements are set on the website www.workingintheuk.gov.uk. Approvals under the work permit arrangements are generally only given for skilled jobs and where suitably qualified resident labour is unavailable to fill the vacancy. The work permit arrangements do, however, comprise the Sector Based Scheme under which a quota of permits may be issued for lower skilled jobs in the food processing industry. More details about the Sectors Based Scheme can be found on
the website www.workingintheuk.gov.uk.

15. If your employer does obtain a letter of approval from Work Permits (UK) this does not constitute an authorisation to work. You should submit this letter, with a completed form BR3 (see paragraphs 20 to 21 below), as an application for an BR Guidance Version 01/2007 5 accession worker card. Only on receipt of the card can you commence work with
your employer.

Family members

16. Bulgarian and Romanian family members of a Bulgarian or Romanian who is exercising Treaty rights in the United Kingdom and is exempt from work authorisation requirements are entitled to be issued with a registration certificate confirming that they are also exempt from those requirements. Applications on this basis should be submitted on form BR1. Non-EEA family members of a Bulgarian or Romanian who is exercising Treaty rights in the United Kingdom can apply for a family member residence card and should do so on form BR 5.

17. Where a person is a national of Bulgaria and Romania, and is the family member of a Bulgarian or Romanian who is in the UK as a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or a student and is not exempt from the work authorisation requirement, the family member will also be required to obtain an accession work card in order to take employment in the United Kingdom. However, the criteria for the issue of such a document to a dependant spouse in these circumstances will not be subject to a skills test or test concerning the availability of resident labour. The accession worker card will confirm that they been given permission to work as an authorised family member. Applications on this basis should be submitted on form BR4 (see paragraphs 20 to 21 below). Non-EEA family
members of a Bulgarian or Romanian holding a work authorisation document may apply for a family member residence stamp. They should do so on form BR 6.

18. Please note that you will not be able to obtain work authorisation as an authorised family member if you are the family member of a person holding a work card under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme or holding an accession worker card issued to an au pair or participant in the Sectors Based Scheme.

19. If you are the family member of an EEA national who is registered under the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS), and you intend to work, you will be exempt from worker authorisation requirements and can apply, in your own right, for a registration certificate confirming this. Applications on this basis can be submitted on form BR7. However, if you are the family member of an EEA national (other than a person registered under the WRS or a Bulgarian or Romanian subject to work authorisation) who is exercising a Treaty right in the United Kingdom and who is applying for a registration certificate confirming this, you may be included with that person’s application. Such an application can be submitted on form EEA1 to:

European Applications
Immigration & Nationality Directorate
Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road
Croydon
CR9 2BY

How to apply for your document

Application forms

20. It is important that you ensure that you complete the correct form before you apply for a document. This will help us to process you application without unnecessary delay. You should complete the relevant sections of the form as required and answer all the questions that apply to you and any family members included in the application.

21. The form you should complete will depend upon your circumstances and the document you are applying for:

(i) If you are applying for a registration certificate confirming that:

• you are self-employed; or
• you are self-sufficient;
• you are a student;
• you are exempt from the requirement to obtain a work authorisation document because you fall into one of the categories in paragraph 7 above;

you should complete form BR1. If you have family members and they are nationals of a member state of the EEA, you may include them in your application (unless you fall into the category at 17 above).

(ii) If you are applying for a registration certificate confirming that you are exempt from the requirement to obtain a work authorisation document because you are highly skilled you should complete form BR2. If you have family members and they are nationals of a member state of the EEA, you may include them in your application.

(iii) If you are applying for an accession worker card (unless you are an authorised family member – see paragraph 17) you should complete form BR3.

(iv) If you are applying for an accession worker card as an authorised family member (see paragraph 17) you should complete form BR4.

(v) If you have obtained a registration certificate and you have family members who are not nationals of an EEA state, they may apply for a residence card on form BR5.

(vi) If you have obtained an accession worker card and you have family members who are not nationals of an EEA state, they may apply for a family member residence stamp on form BR6.

(vii) If you are applying for a registration certificate as the family member of a person registered under the Worker Registration Scheme you may complete form BR7.

You may obtain these forms from our distribution centre.
Telephone: 08705 210224 (between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday)
Or visit: www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk or www.workingintheuk.gov.uk

Documents

22. You must provide all relevant documents, including passports/ID cards as appropriate. Unless the application form indicates otherwise, all documents should be originals. If you cannot provide original documents when applying, you should explain why and say when you will be able to provide them. If you provide a certified copy, it should be a copy certified by the body or authority which issued the original document, or by a notary. To decide your application we need to see the originals of passports or ID cards, and if needed to prove a family relationship, original marriage or civil partnership certificates and birth certificates. If you cannot supply original documents, it is unlikely that we will approve your application.

Photographs

23. You must provide two identical photographs of yourself and any family members included in the application. These should be taken against a light background, be clear and of good quality, and must be full face. They must not show you or your family members wearing sunglasses or any head covering unless this has to be worn for religious or cultural reasons. Photographs where the head covering covers the face will not be acceptable. The photographs you provide will be reproduced in you and your family members’ documents if the application is successful. You should therefore ensure that you are content for the photographs to be used for this purpose.

Fees

24. There will be no charge for the consideration of your application.

Submitting your application

25. You must submit your completed application by post to:

BULGARIAN AND ROMANIAN APPLICATIONS
IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY DIRECTORATE
PO BOX 4160
SHEFFIELD
S1 9DZ

Posting your application to any other address will delay it. To help us record the receipt of your application, we recommend the use of Recorded or Special Delivery and that you keep the RD or SD number.

26. We return all documents by Recorded Delivery. If you want your passport and other documents returned by Special Delivery, you will need to provide a suitably sized Special Delivery envelope with the correct pre-paid postage.

27. We can only consider an application for a registration certificate if you are already in the United Kingdom. If you require an accession worker card and have obtained an offer of employment before you come to the United Kingdom, you can apply for the document from outside the United Kingdom.

If your application is refused

28. If your application for a registration certificate is refused on the grounds that
you are not exercising a treaty right, you will have a right of appeal and the notice of
refusal will inform you of this. You will not have a right of appeal if the application is
refused on the grounds that you have failed to provide evidence of identity/nationality, or that evidence is not found to be genuine.

29. If your application for an accession worker card is refused and you wish to have that decision reconsidered, we will review the decision providing you provide your grounds for reconsideration of our decision within 28 days. Details of how to request a review will be given in your refusal letter.

Choosing an immigration adviser

30. The forms, and this guidance, are intended to enable you to make your own application. If you do engage an immigration adviser to assist you, you should take care when choosing one. The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) regulates immigration advisers. Its website at www.oisc.gov.uk contains a list of authorised advisers. It also has links to websites for solicitors, barristers and legal executives. If you have a complaint about an immigration adviser or need other information, the OISC contact details are:

Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner
5th Floor
Counting House
53 Tooley Street
London
SE1 2QN
Telephone: 0845 000 0046

31. Alternatively, the Law Society, which regulates solicitors in England and  Wales, can help you find a solicitor. You can contact them on 0870 606 6575 or visit their website at www.solicitors-online.com. If you wish to complain about a solicitor you can contact the Law Society’s Consumer Complaints Service helpline on 0845 608 6565 or write to them at:

The Law Society
Victoria Court
8 Dormer Place
Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
CV32 5AE

Complaints about our service

32. If you want advice about how to make a complaint about the service you have received from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, please telephone 0870 241 6523 or visit our website at www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk. You may complain in writing to:

IND Complaints Unit
PO Box 1384
Croydon
CR9 3JY

Data protection notice

33. All information provided by you to the Home Office will be treated in confidence but it may be disclosed to other government departments, agencies, local authorities, the police, foreign governments and other bodies for immigration purposes or to help them perform their functions. The Immigration and Nationality Directorate may also use information provided by you for training purposes.

Working without permission

34. After 1 January 2007, it will be an offence for an employer to employ a Bulgarian and Romanian national that is subject to the requirement to hold an accession worker card but does not have one, or who is undertaking work other than that specified in the card. Employers will face a maximum fine upon conviction of £5000 per worker.

35. You, the worker, will also commit an offence in these circumstances and if you are prosecuted and convicted of this offence you could face imprisonment for up to 3 months. Individuals who commit this offence may be offered the opportunity to discharge their liability to prosecution through the payment of a fixed penalty of £1000.

Bulgarian and Romanian applications forms

BR1 Form
BR2 Form
BR3 Form
BR4 Form
BR5 Form
BR6 Form
BR7 Form

Bulgarian and Romanian guidance

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