Croation Nationals

The right to work in the UK for Croatian nationals is subject to transitional arrangements – which are more like restrictions – by the British Government. These arrangements will be in place for 5 years, with the possibility of a further two year extension. After this period all Croatian nationals will have the same right to move, work and settle within the UK as other EEA nationals.


So what are the restrictions?

From 1 July 2013 Croatian nationals are able to enter and reside (but not work) without restriction within the UK for up to 3 months.

If during this time, a Croatian national wishes to undertake employment within the UK they will be required to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licensed Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor and then apply for an Accession Worker Registration Certificate.

Such applications must be made prior to the commencement of employment.

Croatian nationals will only be able to obtain permission to work in skilled occupations under the under Tier 1 (exceptional talent), Tier 2 and Tier 5 of the Points Based System (PBS) . They will therefore be denied right to work in low skilled jobs and will have to follow pretty much the same process as other non-EEA nationals with the exception of few requirements.

Are there any exemptions?

Any Croatian national wishing to undertake employment within the UK will be subject to these regulations. However, the following are exempt (this is not an exhaustive list):

Croatian nationals who are currently legally settled in the UK.
Croatians already working within the UK on 1 July 2013 who have been doing so for an uninterrupted period of 12 months. A period of work is classed as being continuous if the migrant was employed at the beginning and end of the period and there have been no breaks in the employment totalling more than 30 calendar days. The employment can be with one or more employers.
As soon as a Croatian national has worked lawfully in the UK for a continuous period of 12 months, they automatically have the right to full access to the UK labour market and do not need to apply for worker authorisation, or to be sponsored.
Croatians who have dual nationality with a current member state and therefore has the right to work in the UK.
Croatian nationals who are also the spouse or civil partner of a national of the UK or the family member of an EEA national who has a right to reside in the UK, except where that EEA national is subject to work authorisation;
Croatian nationals who are posted to the UK by a business established on the territory of another Member State
They are a   highly   skilled   person   and   hold   a   registration   certificate confirming that they have unrestricted access to the labour market.
They  are a  member  of  a  diplomatic  mission  or  are  in  another  specified category exempt from the 1971 Act.
They are in the UK as a student and they either:
– hold a registration certificate confirming that they:
– have leave  to  enter  or  remain  as  a  student  and  are  working  in accordance   with   any   conditions   attached   to   that   leave.
– The conditions  on  employment  of  leave  granted  as  a  student  are  that the holder can only work up to a maximum of 20 hours during term time, but  as  long  as  they  want  during  holiday  periods (if and as permitted on the visa endorsement).
– This  will apply in circumstances where they had leave as a student before 1 July 2013, continue to meet the criteria as a student and this leave is still valid.

If  they do  not  fit  into  any  of  the  above  categories, they will  need an  accession worker authorisation document.

It should be noted that the Home Office do not intend to issue any formal confirmation that a Croatian national has completed 12 months uninterrupted work and therefore does not require an Accession Worker Registration Certificate.

In what circumstances will Work Authorisation be granted?

Employers wishing to employ a Croatian national will need to apply for a Tier 2 or Tier 5 Sponsorship Licence and meet all of the criteria for issuing a CoS, including, where applicable, a resident labour market test.

Croatian applicants under Tier 2 are exempt from the maintenance requirement but are still be required to meet the relevant English language requirements.

The CoS should be issued from the ‘unrestricted’ pool.

Self Employment

Work in a self-employed capacity will not be subject to work authorisation because the terms of the Accession Treaty do not permit the UK to restrict the exercise of rights of free movement for the purposes of establishment. Those exercising a right to reside as a self-employed person (or as a self-sufficient person) will, however, be subject to work authorisation in the event that they go on to engage in work in an employed capacity.

Are there any penalties for non-compliance?

Penal action will be taken against employers who knowingly employ Croatian nationals without the proper authorisation or who fail to check that such employees have the relevant permission to work in the UK. These include maximum of 2 years imprisonment on conviction or a civil penalty of up to £5000 per employee.

Wish to apply?
Purple registration certificate

Croatian nationals can apply for a purple certificate if they wish to work for an employer in the UK but can’t get a blue certificate. They will need to be sponsored by a licenced employer first – and will need a CoS number from such employer. If the employer does not have the Sponsorship Licence, he will need to apply for one as well as meet the requirements discuss above.

Croation national must get a purple registration certificate before starting the job otherwise they may be imprisoned, or fined.

You can apply for a blue registration certificate instead if you have a degree from a UK institution. In this case you would not need to be sponsored by a licenced employer.

You must have: a job offer, and a certificate of sponsorship number from your employer. You may need to have a good knowledge of English for some jobs. You need a letter from your employer instead of a CoS if you are a: domestic servant in a private household; sole representative of an overseas business; or a postgraduate doctor or dentist doing a foundation programme.

Blue registration certificate

The blue registration certificate confirms the right to work freely in the UK and eliminates the need for a Croation national to show any other or additional documents to employers, such as a purple registration certificate, to prove this.

The fee for both purple and blue card is £65 fee (excluding legal representation fee if any) when you apply by post. You can however also apply using the premium service at a premium service centre which will speed up the decision making process.

If you have a qualification

Croational nationals can get a blue registration certificate if they want to work for a UK employer and have one of the following qualifications from a UK educational institution: a degree; a teaching qualification; or a Higher National Diploma.

They should also apply for a blue registration certificate if they have a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) endorsement from an approved organisation.

Yellow registration certificate

Croation nationals may want to apply for a yellow registration certificate if they’re a student or want to be self-employed in the UK.


If you are in the UK as a student you must apply for a yellow registration certificate if you want to work while you’re a student in the UK. You can only work for up to 20 hours in a week in term-time, unless you are training to do a specific job (a ‘vocational course’) and the course includes a work placement which is vital to your study.

You will need: private comprehensive health insurance or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for yourself and any dependants with you in the UK; and a letter from your UK college, university or other place of study with the name of your course and the start and end dates; and the evidence that you have enough money to maintain and support yourself and your studies without recourse to public funds – either bank statements or a letter from your sponsor or funder.

Self-employed people

Croatian nationals don’t need a certificate to work for themselves so long as they are self-employed, however they you can apply for a yellow registration certificate to prove the right to be self-employed in the UK.

They must register for Self Assessment if you’re self-employed.

Self-sufficient people

Croatian nationals don’t need a certificate to live in the UK as self-sufficient, but they will need to apply for a yellow registration certificate to confirm the right to be resident in the UK as self-sufficient, for instance, to the local authority, bank, driving licence authority, landlord, medical practice, or immigration officers if necessary.

They will need to: be able to support themselves without working or claiming benefits; and have private comprehensive health insurance or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Wish to apply for a Purple, Blue or Yellow Registration Certificate?


For legal advice or representation in your application please call Citizen Lawyer or book your consultation here to make a watertight application and to increase your prospects of success.