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UK Worker Registration Scheme

Information for new and existing nationals of the European Economic Area and guidance on the new Illegal Working Policy.

This page explains how nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA nationals) including the new Eastern European Countries Joining on May 1st 2004, and members of their family can enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom legally.

The EEA Page details existing guidance concerning those countries not joining the EU and therefore still under the EEA Association Agreement.

The new member states can work in the United Kingdom from 1 May 2004.

New Member States - Workers Registration Scheme

Workers from the new member states must register with the Home Office. Please get in touch with us if you are a national of new member countries or a UK employer interested in employing such a person. We can help you with this registration process.


Please note that it is an offence in most cases not to register in this way.

From 1 May 2004 nationals from New Member States will be free to come to the United Kingdom. Nationals from Malta and Cyprus and those who are self-employed will have full free movement rights and are not required to obtain a workers registration certificate.

Nationals from the following new member states; Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic who find a job in the United Kingdom are required to apply to register with the Home Office under the new 'Worker Registration Scheme' as soon as they find work.

Those registering will be provided with a worker's registration certificate. The workers registration certificate will be issued for 12 months. It confirms that they can work and reside in the United Kingdom while they are working in that job. If they change jobs before they have worked continuously for 12 months the certificate will lapse and they will have to renew their registration.

Employers will have to check that the worker has registered. It will be unlawful for them to employ a national of the new member states (who has not worked here legally for 12 months) if they are not registered for the job they are doing.

Once an individual has completed 12 months work they may apply for an EEA residence permit. Please contact us for assistance.

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA)

You are a national of the EEA if you are a national of one of the following countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU). However, the European Economic Area Agreement gave nationals of these countries the same rights to enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom as EU citizens.

New Guidance for Employers and the new EEA nationals

This guidance provides initial details for employers on what they should do when employing nationals from the new European Union member states after 1 May 2004. The law, which affects you as an employer, is intended to ensure that only those legally entitled to live and work in the United Kingdom are offered employment.

It means that as an employer you could be guilty of a criminal offence if you employ someone who does not have permission to be in - or to work in - the United Kingdom.

Contravention of this law gives rise to an offence, which applies only in the case of those employees who started work for you on or after 27 January 1997. The offence cannot be committed in respect of any employee who started work for you before that date unless you are re-employing a previous employee after that date.

It is important that employers gather relevant documented evidence from any new employee to firmly establish their nationality and therefore their right to work in the UK. Please get in touch with us for assistance on both the list of documents and on their right to work.

In summary, you as the employer are responsible for ensuring that any worker has the legal right to work in the UK via documented proof retained by you and via official registration.

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The work permit, immigration and other information contained on this web site does not constitute advice
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