Coming to work in the UK: rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals


Chapter 2a of the guide: 'Living and Working in the UK for A2 nationals'


As a Bulgarian or Romanian national, if you want to work in the UK, you will need to obtain permission to work before starting any employment, unless you are exempt from the requirement to do so.

The worker authorisation document is either:

• an accession worker card issued for an authorised category of employment
• a seasonal agricultural worker card
• a document issued before 1 January 2007 giving you leave to enter or remain in the UK, restricting your employment here to a particular employer or category of employment

Your worker authorisation document must be issued to you before you commence your job.

You will not need authorisation to work if:

• you are exempt
• you qualify as highly skilled
• you are self-employed or setting up a business
• you are a student
• you have 12 months of continuous lawful employment in the UK

If you have worked legally and without interruption for a period of 12 months (gaps between work must not exceed 30 days in total), you are no longer subject to worker authorisation.

You can obtain a registration certificate confirming unrestricted right to access UK labour market.

When authorisation is required, if you take up employment without obtaining such authorisation you, and your employer, may be committing a criminal offence.

If you are unsure of your status, you can contact the Immigration Enquiry Bureau at Tel: 0870 606 7766.

Exemption from the worker authorisation requirement

If you are exempt from worker authorization, you will not need to obtain a work authorisation document to be employed in the UK and you will be able to take up employment on an unrestricted basis.

You are exempt from the requirement to obtain authorisation to work in the United Kingdom if you belong to one of the following categories:

• 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;
• you have completed 12 months continuous lawful employment in the UK, in the period ending on or after 31 December 2006;
• you are also citizen of the UK, Switzerland or another EEA state, other than Bulgaria or Romania (dual nationals);
• you are the spouse or civil partner of a UK national or person settled in the UK;
• you have a permanent right of residence;
• you are providing services in the UK on behalf of an EU/EEA employer conducting business, but not established in the UK (‘posted worker’);
• you have a registration certificate confirming unconditional access to the UK labour market;
• you are a member of a diplomatic mission, the family member of a diplomat or the family member of anyone who is entitled to diplomatic immunity;
• you are a highly skilled person and obtained a registration certificate confirming this status;
• you are working in a self-employed capacity.

Exemptions due to family member status are described under ‘Family Members’ (to be uploaded soon).


You can obtain confirmation of your exemption by applying for a ‘blue’ registration certificate, which will certify that you are exempt from the requirement to obtain an Accession worker card and that you can work in the UK without restrictions.

To apply, you will need to fill in Form BR1 (Registration Certificate) , which you can download for the UKBA website (this is the updated version, 21 June 2011). If you have family members and they are nationals of a member state of the EEA, you may include them in your application.

Application for the certificate is not required by law, but is advisable.

The UKBA cannot provide written confirmation that your application has been received. It is best for you to send your documents by recorded or special delivery and to use the 'track and trace' facility on the Royal Mail website.

by Federica Gaida


June 2010
 ©All rights reserved


Read the other chapters:

Chapter 1: Right of Residence in the UK
Chapter 2a: Coming to work in the UK
Chapter 2b: Highly skilled Individuals
Chapter 2c: Self-employed: rules to work in the UK




Disclaimer: The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. Information is offered for general information purposes only, based on the current law when the information was first displayed on this website.
You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry.



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