Romanian and Bulgarian nationals' rights in the UK

Homeless Link briefing, January 2007

On 1 January 2007 Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU. The rights and entitlements of Romanians and Bulgarians in the UK are restricted.

Employment & Benefits:
  • Romanians & Bulgarians require a work permit; either under the highly skilled migrant programme or Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.
  • They can be self-employed, and do not need a permit, but should register with the Inland Revenue.
  • Employed Romanians and Bulgarians are probably entitled to in-work benefits in the same way as British citizens; any special conditions should be set out in their work permit.

For more detailed information, download the Home Office leaflet in English, Romanian or Bulgarian from:

Health care:
  • Romanians and Bulgarian will be covered by the reciprocal EU arrangements in the same way other EU citizens are.
  • They should not be charged for any treatment that becomes medically necessary during a temporary stay in the UK.
  • They should show their European Health Insurance Card (previously E111) to prove their entitlement.

Entering the UK:

All Romanians and Bulgarians are allowed to come to the UK for up to 3 months.

Romanians and Bulgarians can in the UK longer than 3 months without a work permit if they are a) a student b) self employed c) self sufficient d) have completed 12 months continuous employment in the UK e) are married to a UK national f) are a family members of a EU citizen.

If they cannot show they are in one of these categories, they may be breaking the law by staying here more than 3 months. They will not be entitled to any benefits.

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