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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Technical Manual

Entitlement: residence rules - right to reside: right to reside for nationals of Bulgaria and Romania (A2 nationals)

The Treaty establishing the European Community

Regulation (EEC) 1612/68, Articles 1 to 6

Council Directive 2004/38/EC

The Treaty of Accession on Bulgaria and Romania done in Luxembourg 25 April 2005 - Article 2

The Act of Accession - Annex VI and VII

The Accession (Immigration and Worker Authorization) Regulations 2006.

Note: The Workers Authorisation Scheme (WAS) ended on 31 December 2013, this means:

  • A2 national claimants are not required to be in authorised employment if their award period starts on or after 1 January 2014.
  • Unless otherwise exempt, A2 nationals were required to be in authorised employment in respect of any award periods prior to 1 January 2014. This applies even where the date of the decision to make the award is after 31 December 2013.

On 1 January 2007, Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union (EU). Under derogation from the Treaty of Amsterdam with these countries, member states that were members before 1st January 2007 were allowed to restrict access to their labour markets for up to five years. In October2006, the Government announced access terms A2 nationals for the United Kingdom labour market. From 1 January 2007, A2 nationals who want to take up employment in the United Kingdom will generally need to obtain a worker authorisation document. The document must be issued before the A2 national starts work.

This authorisation document is either:

  • a document issued before 1 January 2007 giving that person leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom subject to the condition restricting his or her employment here to a particular employer or category of employment;
  • a seasonal agricultural work card (from 1 January 2007, this scheme is restricted to A2 nationals);
  • an accession worker card issued in respect of an authorised category of employment for example employment in the sector based scheme or under a work permit or employment as an au pair, a domestic worker, a journalist, a teacher or language assistant, an overseas qualified nurse etc (this list is not exhaustive and is set out fully in the relevant Home Office regulations).

An A2 national who has worked legally and without interruption for a period of 12 months (gaps between work must not exceed 30 days in total) is entitled to full free movement rights and is no longer subject to worker authorisation.

A2 nationals not subject to the Worker Authorisation Scheme are:

  • the self-employed;
  • A2 nationals who have leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom under the Immigration Act 1971 without restriction on their employment;
  • A2 nationals who were legally working in the United Kingdom on 31 December 2006 and had been legally working without interruption for 12 months at that date;
  • A2 nationals who were working legally and without interruption for a period of 12 months falling wholly or partly after 31 December 2006;
  • A2 nationals who are also citizens (dual nationals) of the United Kingdom, Switzerland or another an European Economic Area (EEA) country (other than the A2 states);
  • A2 nationals who are the spouse or civil partner of a United Kingdom national;
  • A2 nationals with a permanent right of residence;
  • A2 nationals who are providing services in the United Kingdom on behalf of an employer who is not established in the United Kingdom (a posted worker);
  • the family members of an EEA or Swiss national who is working in the United Kingdom or living in the United Kingdom as a student, jobseeker or self-sufficient person (other than family members of an A2 national subject to worker authorisation); and
  • A2 nationals in possession of a registration certificate confirming unconditional access to the United Kingdom labour market.

A2 nationals, who are exercising EC Treaty rights as a student, a self-employed or self-sufficient person may, if they wish, seek a European Union Registration Certificate confirming their status. In particular, A2 students studying in the United Kingdom can work up to 20 hours per week providing they hold a registration certificate confirming they are an EEA national exercising their Treaty right as a student and are enrolled at an approved college on the Register of Education Providers maintained by the Department for Education and Skills.