The European Union Court of Justice upheld Secretary of States position regarding the requirement of registration under Work Registration Scheme

Between 2004 and 2011, citizens from the so-called A8 countries (Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia) were able to exercise their free movement rights in the EU territories including Great Britain, but they had to undergo a simple registration procedure with Home Office under the Work Registration Scheme, in order to be legally employed in the UK. The registration process was straightforward and included filling out the form and sending it to the Home Office.

In case C-618/16 Prefeta v UK, the applicant was a citizen of Poland. He moved to the UK in 2008 and worked from 2009 until 2011. In 2011, he stopped his employment due to injury. Subsequently, he applied for welfare support which was refused on the grounds that he did not register under the Work Registration Scheme (WRS), hence technically worked here illegally.

Despite the fact that this decision refers to the refusal of social benefits, it has a direct impact to obtaining permanent residence. The European Court in fact agrees with the Home Office that between 2004 and 2011 workers from A8 countries could not rely on the time that they have worked in the UK in order to obtaining permanent residence, if they did not register under the Scheme. As a result, Home office have legal grounds to deprive citizenships of certain A8 citizens, if it is proven that they did not register under the WRS and hence worked illegally.

In line with current Immigration Rules EU citizens have to show 5 years of employment to get a permanent residence, after which they can apply for naturalization as a British citizens.

Posted on Sep 20, 2018.

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