EMPLOYING FOREIGN NATIONALS
(No 3 in a series of 4)
Continuing in our series of updates on Employing Foreign Nationals, this update focuses on the requirements for Bulgarian and Romanian nations to have authorisation to work in the UK.
Bulgarian and Romanian nations – authorised to work in the UK.
Since 1st January 2007, Bulgarians and Romanians are able to move and reside freely in any EU Member State and will not require permission to enter or remain to reside legally in the UK. However Bulgarian and Romanian nationals wanting to work in the UK, unless a special exemption applies, will need to obtain an Accession worker card for authorisation to work before starting any employment.
Employer applies for approval of the employment under the work permit arrangements.
The UK employer should complete a work permit application form. If an application made under the work permit arrangements is approved, a letter of approval will be issued by the Home Office. This, on its own, does not authorise a Bulgarian or Romanian national to work in the UK.
The Bulgarian and Romanian national must then apply for an Accession worker card.
To obtain authorisation, the Bulgarian or Romanian should upon receipt of the letter of approval complete an application for an Accession worker card on form BR3 and submit both to the Home Office. Only on receipt of the Accession worker card can the person commence work with an employer.
Employer exemption from Work Permit Application
For certain categories of employment, a Bulgarian or Romanian national will be able to apply to the Home Office for an Accession worker card without the need for an employer to apply for a work permit to employ them. These categories are:
(a) Airport based operational ground staff of an overseas airline
(b) “Au pair” placements
(c) Domestic workers in a private household
(d) Ministers of religion, missionaries or members of a religious order
(e) Overseas government employment
(f) Postgraduate doctors, dentists and trainee general practitioners
(g) Private servants in a diplomatic household
(h) Representatives of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
(i) Sole representatives
(j) Teachers or language assistants
(k) Overseas qualified nurses coming for a period of supervised practice
An Accession Worker Card
An Accession worker card will be valid for as long as the Bulgarian or Romanian worker remains in the employment for which the card has been issued. UK employers will not therefore need to seek an extension of the initial approval under the work permit arrangements.
If a Bulgarian and Romanian national changes jobs, the new employer must apply for another letter of approval from Border and Immigration Agency and the worker must apply for a new Accession worker card.
If an Employer continues to employ a worker when the Employer is not authorised, i.e. employs them beyond the first month when the worker has not made an application for registration or if the registration application is refused – the Employer may be guilty of committing a criminal offence. If convicted, the maximum penalty an employer will face is £5000, for each worker.
As noted in previous 'updates', last week the Home Office announced that under new measures to take effect in February 2008:
Employers who negligently hire illegal workers could face a maximum fine of £10,000 for each illegal worker found at a business.
Employers are found to have knowingly hired illegal workers they could incur an unlimited fine and be sent to prison.