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EUROPEAN UNION – Transitional measures for Romanians and Bulgarians Removed from 1 January 2014

1 January 2014 sees full freedom of movement across the European Union (EU) granted to nationals of Bulgaria and Romania. László Andor, EU Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, commented, in an address in Berlin on 30 March 2011: The freedom of movement for workers is a fundamental principle of the European Union. Together with the free movement of goods, services, and capital, it is a cornerstone of the Single Market, and has contributed to the success of the European project.

What Were Transitional Measures?

In the Accession Treaty of 2005, which concerned the implementation of the 2007 EU enlargement, existing EU member states were given the right to impose transitional measures on Bulgaria and Romania, the two new EU member states, prior to granting full freedom of movement and employment rights.

Such transitional measures were 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 could be provided that the entrance of workers from the new member states would have a seriously negative impact on the labour market of the host country.

What Is Changing Now?

It is now seven years since 1 January 2007, and so all EU member states are legally required to remove any transitional measures in place and grant full freedom of movement to nationals of Romania and Bulgaria. Several countries removed restrictions over the course of the last seven years, so in fact, the countries removing restrictions now are as follows:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

What About Switzerland?

Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but has signed various multilateral treaties regarding freedom of movement with the EU. However, Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will still be treated, for immigration purposes, like non-EU nationals until further notice.

Croatian Nationals

Note that Croatia did not join the EU until 2013 and therefore transitional measures are still in place throughout much of the EU regarding work permission for Croatian nationals and will likely continue until 2020. Several EU countries have removed the requirement for work permits for Croatian nationals; predominantly those countries that have themselves recently acceded to the EU, either in 2004 or 2007. For further details, contact Peregrine.

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 examples, 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.

Try Immiguru For Keeping Up to Date with EU Changes

With several recent expansions to the EU and transitional measures, it can be hard to keep up to date with what immigration formalities are necessary in which country for which nationalities. Peregrine’s award-winning immigration database, Immiguru, can answer these questions for you in a matter of seconds, as well as giving you detailed information on work permit and/or registration requirements for both EU and non-EU nationals. Contact us for a demo and request a free trial – we will be happy to show you around!

Action Items

For employers, this is good news – the removal of work permit requirements means less administration for you.

  • Note that full freedom of movement, including work permission, across the EU will be granted for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals from 1 January 2014
  • Note that 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.