Similar extra problems used to apply to people from Bulgaria and
Romania, but these restrictions ended on 31st December 2013.
Bulgarians and Romanians now have just the same rights as other EEA nationals; Germans or Italians, for example.
If you are from Croatia, you are in just the same position as someone from one of the ‘old’ EEA countries, except for the following details.
In effect, before you get the same rights as someone from, say, Spain or Poland, you have to prove yourself by working for an employer for at least a year. And not just any employer either, or any kind of work. You have to work for an authorised employer, and can only do certain types of work. As this is not an immigration website I cannot give more details about this but you can find out from a qualified immigration advisors, or from the Home Office (www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/croatia/). You also have to get a special document from the Home Office to confirm that you are working for an authorised employer.
After you have worked for a year for an authorised employer you (sort of) earn the right to be treated just the same as someone from one of the old EEA countries.
You may ask: what’s this got to do with benefits?
Well, in order to get Child Benefit or any of the income based benefits, you need to show that you have the right to reside.
If you are from Croatia, and you haven’t yet finished your year working for an authorised employer, you usually only get the right to reside if
- You are working for an authorised employer, or
- You are self-employed (and can prove it).
- You are a family member of someone who has the right to reside.
Unlike other EEA citizens, you will not have the right to reside if you agree to look for work and claim Jobseeker's Allowance - in fact you cannot get income based Jobseeker's Allowance at all until the year is up.
When you have worked for an authorised employer for a full year you do not have any special restrictions any more, and are in just the same position as someone from one of the older EEA countries.
self-employed does not count towards the year. Only
being employed for an authorised employer counts.
If you are working for an authorised employer, you can have some gaps when you are not working, but these gaps must not be more than 30 days in total.
is Croatian and moved to the UK on 15th January 2012. He is
When he first arrived he started working as a self-employed scrap metal dealer. He also rented a flat. After about three months he decided he had got enough evidence that he was genuinely self-employed, and so on 17th May 2012 he applied for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
The local authority accepted that he was genuinely self-employed and awarded Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
On 3rd July, however, he decided that self-employment wasn’t really working, and packed in the scrap metal dealing. He then went to claim Jobseeker's Allowance but was told that as he had not completed a full year (or, indeed, any time at all) working for an authorised employer, he did not have a right to reside and was not entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance.
On 17th July therefore, he got a job working as an agricultural labourer for an authorised employer, and applied for and got documents from the Home Office to confirm this. Shortly after this he claimed for and was awarded Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support again.
Unfortunately, on 3rd December he became ill, and his employer asked him to leave. He did not get another job until until 10th January. As more than 30 days have passed he cannot now use the 7½ months of employment any more.
He now needs to work, without more than 30 days gaps in total, until 11th January 2014 before he can be treated as a usual EEA citizen.
One other way: looking after a child
This is an odd one.
If you are the main person looking after a child who is in school, you have the right to reside, but only if, in the past, the child was in the UK while one of their parents was working in the UK as an EEA citizen.
You might be both people. In other words, you might have been working in the UK in the past, while your child was also in the UK, but now you're not working any more. In this case, although you don't have the right to reside as a worker you do have the right to reside as the main carer of your child.
Or the worker might be someone else. Perhaps you came as a couple, and your partner worked, but now they have left you and your child and gone back to (say) France. You have the right to reside as the main carer of your child.
- The child must be in school, not pre-school;
- It doesn't matter if you're one of the children's parents or not;
- It doesn't matter if the EEA worker is still in the UK or not, or even alive;
- It doesn't matter what your nationality is.
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