The free movement of workers is one of the fundamental principles of the European Union (EU) Treaty and, generally, this concept also applies to the non-EU countries of the European Economic Area (EEA – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). While, in principle, Croatia gained this right for its citizens when it entered the EU on 1 July 2013, many EU member countries applied a three-phase transition to allow Croatian workers into their markets more gradually. These transitional measures are permitted under EU regulations in the case of a new accession into the EU.
Access to labour market in three phases
The first phase of the transition to provide open access to the European labour market for Croatian nationals has come to an end as of 30 June 2015. During this phase, the following 13 EU countries applied work restrictions on Croatians: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. In turn, Croatia also applied reciprocal restrictions on citizens of these countries as well.
Phase two will extend from 1 July 2015 until 30 June 2018. During this phase, eight of the above listed countries will lift their work restrictions for Croatians (Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain). Thus, as of 1 July, only Austria, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom still require Croatian nationals to obtain work authorisation in certain situations and vice versa.
In the third and final phase (1 July 2018 until 30 June 2020), EU countries will no longer be permitted to apply any restrictions on Croatians entering their labour markets, unless that country can successfully argue that free access for Croatians to their work force will result in serious disturbances to their labour market.
Although Croatians no longer require work authorisation in Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain, registration requirements may still apply. As for all moves within the EU, we advise you to contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration specialist for a case by case assessment of potential registration requirements for any upcoming move of Croatians to these countries, and vice versa.
If you work in corporate HR or global mobility, contact Pro-Link GLOBAL today at [email protected] to discuss our visa and immigration services.
Caveat Lector | Warning to reader
This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Knowledge Management team. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in South Africa to provide you this update.
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Contributed by Pro-Link GLOBAL