Employing Croatian Nationals
Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013. As a result Croatian nationals no longer require entry clearance or a visa to enter and reside legally in the UK up to a period of 3 months. This does not automatically permits Croatian nationals free right to work in the UK. Therefore they still need to obtain authorisation to work before starting any employment, unless they claim exemption from doing so. Obtaining authorisation to work runs in two stages - Firstly, the Croatian national applies for a Certificate of Sponsorship from the University (issued by the Staff Immigration Team) under the Points Based System, and secondly, the Croatian national must then apply for a Worker Authorisation Registration Certificate (also referred to as a Purple Registration Certificate).
Certificate of Sponsorship applications
Croatian Nationals can be applied for Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) under the Tier 2 (General) or Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) routes within the Points Based System. Under Tier 5 all the normal requirements still need to be fulfilled by the Croatian nationals who apply under that route. Requirements under Tier 2 (like, the advertising and salary requirements) still need to be fulfilled by Croatian Nationals. Some of the main differences are:
- work is permitted at NQF Level 4 and above (whereas current Tier 2 required skill level of NQF 6 and above);
- Requirement for the English language does not apply;
- maintenance requirement does not apply;
- the Tier 2 'Cooling-off' period does not apply.
In addition to the above following aspects of the Points Based System that are not relevant to Croatian nationals like:
- On their arrival, Croatian nationals are not subjected to immigration control. They do not have to apply for a visa to enter or remain in the UK. After Certificate of Sponsorship has been issued they will not need to apply for either Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa. They will, just need to apply for a Worker Authorisation Registration Certificate (also known as a Purple Registration Certificate) before taking up the employment.
- Those who have been working without any interruption or without restriction for a period of 12 months or more will be exempted from work authorisation requirements. Therefore, extension of Certificate of Sponsorship will also not be required provided the Certificate of Sponsorship was issued for less than 12 months and the department where they are working wishes to continue employing the individual.
- Likewise, reporting duties for Croatian nationals who hold a Tier 2 or Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship will cease if they have been working without interruption and without restriction for a period of 12 months or more
Mere issuing of a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), does not authorise Croatian Nationals to work in the UK. In order to obtain authorisation they should, apply for a Worker Authorisation Registration Certificate (Purple Registration Certificate) on form CR3 along with the supporting documents as required and only on receipt of the certificate they can start working.
Categories exempt from obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship
The following categories of Croatian Nationals need to obtain authorisation to work:
- Those who are eligible for grant of leave under the current Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category, on being endorsed by a designated body as per the specified requirements. Form CR2 would be filled to apply for a Blue Registration Certificate;
- Those coming to the UK for study purpose and wish to engage in part-time and vacation work, or a work placement will require to fill form CR1 for a Yellow Registration Certificate.
Categories of Croatian National who are exempt from obtaining Worker Authorisation Registration Certificate
Certain categories of Croatian Nationals do not require applying for work authorisation and they can apply for a Registration Certificate for a Croatian exercising a Treaty Right in the UK (referred to as a Blue Registration Certificate). They need to prove their status for exemption from this requirement using form CR1. The following categories of Croatian Nationals can work without restriction and need not apply for a Worker Authorisation Registration Certificate (Purple Registration Certificate):
- Those Croatian Nationals who already have leave under the Immigration Act 1971 and that the leave does not place any restrictions on taking up any employment in the UK. Such as shoes who have been given leave to enter/remain as the spouse of a British citizen, as a dependant of a work permit or visa holder, or as a dependant of a student with a visa permit for more than 12 months.
- Individuals who are working with permission and without any break in the UK for a period of 12 months. For example, a person already present in the UK as a work permit or visa holder, or as a student who has been in part-time employment continuously for 12 months.
- Individuals who have been working after obtaining permission without interruption in the UK for a period of less than 12 months will not require work authorisation after they have already worked for 12 months.
Work of the individuals in their self-employed capacity is not subject to work authorisation. Those exercising a right to reside as a self-employed, or a self-sufficient, person (they should be in possession of Yellow Registration Certificate) will be subject to work authorisation.
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