ACCESSION WORKER CARD (BULGARIAN AND ROMANIAN NATIONALS)
The Accession Worker Card (AWC) was introduced on 1st January 2007 when Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union. The scheme allows the Home Office to monitor where citizens of these countries are coming into the UK labour market, the type of work they are doing, and the impact this has on the UK's economy.
Bulgarian and Romanian nationals do not need permission to enter or remain to live in the United Kingdom. However if they wish to work in the United Kingdom they will need to apply for an accession worker card, unless they are exempt (see below) and their UK employer may have to apply for work permission.
Employment Not Requiring Work Permission
Not all categories of employment will require a Bulgarian or Romanian national to apply for work permission. In certain categories only an AWC is required. These categories are:
- airport based operational ground staff of an overseas airline; and
- au pair placements; and
- domestic workers in a private household; and
- ministers of religion, missionaries or members of a religious order; and
- overseas government employment; and
- postgraduate doctors, dentists and trainee general practitioners; and
- private servants in a diplomatic household; and
- representatives of an overseas newspaper; news agency or broadcasting agency; and
- sole representatives; and
- teachers or language assistants on an approved exchange scheme; and
- overseas qualified nurses coming for a period of supervised practice.
Employment Not Requiring Work Permission or an AWC:
The following categories do not require work permission or an AWC:
- individuals coming to the United Kingdom under the seasonal agricultural workers scheme and hold a valid work card issued by a SAWS operator; or
- individuals given leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom before 1 January 2007 and their passport has been endorsed with a condition restricting their employment to a particular employer or category of employment. If this leave to enter or remain expires before an individual qualifies to be exempt from work authorisation requirements, or an individual wishes to engage in employment other than the job for which the leave was granted, they will need to obtain an accession worker card.
Applying for a Registration Certificate
Some categories do not require either work permission or an AWC. However individuals can still apply for a registration certificate to confirm that there are no restrictions on their taking employment in the United Kingdom.
- An individual who has leave to enter under the Immigration Act 1971 and that leave does not place any restrictions on taking employment in the United Kingdom, for example, they have been given leave to remain as the spouse of a British citizen or as the dependant of a work permit holder; or
- An individual who has been working with permission, and without interruption, in the United Kingdom for a period of 12 months ending on or after 31 December 2006. For example, they are already present in the United Kingdom as a work permit holder or in some other category that confers permission to take employment (for example as a student and they have been in part-time employment continuously for 12 months); or
- An individual who is providing services in the United Kingdom on behalf of an employer established elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA); or
- An individual who is also a citizen of the United Kingdom or another EEA state, other than Bulgaria or Romania, or Switzerland; or An individual who is the family member of a EEA national exercising a Treaty right in the United Kingdom (except if they are the family member of a Bulgarian or Romanian national who is subject to work authorisation requirements) or the spouse or civil partner of a British citizen or person with settlement in the United Kingdom; or
- An individual who is the family member of a Bulgarian or Romanian national who is self-employed, self-sufficient or a student.
If an individual meets the highly skilled migrant person criteria, they may be exempt from having to have an accession workers card, but will need to apply for a registration certificate on this basis.