On 1 July 2013, Croatia officially became the 28th member of the European Union. Croatian nationals can now enter and live in the UK without permission under the Immigration Rules. They are not required to obtain “leave to enter” at port of entry and can travel freely across borders. Although a number of EU states have allowed Croatian nationals to work without restrictions since accession on 1 July, the UK along with other EU states such as France and Germany have imposed additional transitional regulations on Croatian nationals wishing to access their labour markets.
Under these regulations, a Croatian national who wishes to work in the UK and who is subject to the Worker Authorisation Requirements will need to obtain an Accession Worker Authorisation Document (permission to work) before starting any employment. For those nationals seeking employment in the UK, the points base system (Tier 2) will continue to apply.
Croatian students wishing to study in the UK do not need to be sponsored under Tier 4, but if they need to work, they must also obtain an Accession Worker Authorisation Document.
Croatian nationals working without permission are committing criminal offences under the Accession of Croatia (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2013.