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EUROPEAN UNION – Croatia Joins Today – Transitional Measures in Place in Some Countries

Today, 1 July 2013, Croatia has become the newest member of the European Union, bringing the total membership to 28 countries. In accordance with the EU Accession treaties, existing EU members are permitted to impose transitional measures on allowing free access to their labour markets. Several countries have elected to do this for Croatians.

What Are Transitional Measures?

Existing EU member states are given the right to impose transitional measures on new EU member states prior to granting full freedom of movement and employment rights. Such transitional measures are limited to seven years in total: an initial period of two years, and extension of a further three years, and then a further and final extension of two years only if proof can be provided that the entrance of workers from the new member state(s) (in this case, Croatia) would have a seriously negative impact on the labour market of the host country.

Who Is Imposing Transitional Measures?

Free access to the labour market will be granted to Croatian nationals in the following countries:

  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Italy (with some conditions – applicants must be highly qualified or working in certain sectors)
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Sweden

Transitional measures (i.e. some form of work authorisation is still necessary) are in place in:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Netherlands
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

France, Luxembourg and Malta have yet to announce if they will impose restrictions or not, but are expected to.

Exceptions to Restrictions

Under EU regulations, restrictions cannot be imposed on the freedom of movement within the EU, meaning that visas are no longer required for Croatian nationals within the EU, even where work authorisation is required. Additionally, work authorisation is not required for self-employed individuals or for those who have already been legally resident and working in any member state for a period of at least 12 months.

Registration Requirements

It is important to note that, even where full freedom of movement has been granted, many EU member countries still require EU residents to take action: for example, registering at the local authorities, notifying the labour authorities, or obtaining a residence certificate. Requirements are not onerous but it is important to be aware of them and to complete necessary formalities. Peregrine is happy to provide further advice on this matter.

A Note On Bulgarians and Romanians

Prior to Croatia’s membership, Bulgaria and Romania were the most recent new members of the EU. They joined on 1 January 2007, meaning that the maximum period of seven years for restrictions on their access to the labour market will come to an end on 31 December 2013.

More Information

For more information, why not watch the recording of our recent webinar on the subject (available here) or visit the European Commission’s website here.

Action Items

  • Note that work authorisation is not required for Croatian nationals for several EU member states, effective today, but that transitional measures (i.e. work authorisation still required) are in place in some member states.
  • Note that even where free access is granted, registration formalities may still need to be completed; contact Peregrine for further information.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.