What is the change? The U.K. will not extend work permission requirements for Croatian nationals when the restrictions expire on June 30.

What does the change mean? On July 1, Croatian nationals will enjoy full access to the U.K. labor market in the manner of other EU nationals.

  • Implementation time frame: July 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Croatian nationals seeking to work in the U.K.
  • Impact on processing times: Croatian nationals will not need to apply for work permission after June 30.
  • Business impact: Companies may recruit and hire Croatians without having to sponsor them in the U.K.

Background: Croatia joined the EU in 2013. Under transitional provisions, the U.K. opted to restrict labor access since that time. Legally, the U.K. could continue to impose restrictions for another two years. According to a statement the U.K. Immigration Minister, Caroline Noakes made to the European Commission on Monday, low unemployment rates and the strong forecasted growth of the Eurozone and Croatia do not justify extending the restrictions. Under EU rules, a country must show that “serious labor market disturbance” would occur if restrictions are removed.

Under current restrictions, Croatian nationals are required to obtain work authorization from the Home Office before taking up work in the U.K. After one year of employment, they are free to work without restrictions. Croatian partners and spouses of British nationals and other settled nationals in the U.K. are exempt from such work permission.

BAL Analysis: The removal of restrictions will benefit Croatian nationals and the companies that employ them in the U.K. with respect to the time it has taken to sponsor these individuals in the U.K. as well as the cost involved.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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