Employing EEA and Swiss Nationals

Nationals of EEA (European Economic Area) countries and Switzerland can enter the UK freely. However, nationals of Croatia require permission to work from the Home Office before they take employment.

Those with free rights to work in the UK

Nationals of the following countries can enter the UK and work without restriction:

Austria Estonia  Iceland  Luxembourg  Romania
Belgium Finland  Ireland  Malta  Slovakia
Bulgaria France  Italy  Netherlands  Slovenia
Cyprus Germany  Latvia  Norway  Spain
Czech Republic  Greece  Liechtenstein  Poland  Sweden 
Denmark  Hungary Lithuania Portugal  Switzerland 

When completing right to work checks on nationals from one of the above countries, departments should ensure that they view and copy one of the documents/ combinations of documents detailed in List A.

Croatian Nationals

Croatian nationals are free to enter the UK and stay for up to 3 months but must have permission to work before taking employment. The majority of Croatian nationals will require a Tier 2 or Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship and a Worker Authorisation Registration Certificate (also referred to as a Purple Registration Certificate). See the Staff Immigration Team website for details of how to apply for a Tier 2 or Tier 5 CoS and Purple Registration Certificate for Croatian nationals.

When conducting right to work checks for Croatian nationals, departments/colleges should retain a copy of both the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and the Purple Registration Certificate as the CoS details the type of work they are permitted to undertake.

Croatian nationals are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Tier 2 or Tier 5 CoS and a Purple Registration Certificate if:

  • they have leave under the Immigration Act 1971 and whose leave does not place any restrictions on taking employment in the UK. For example, someone who has been given leave to enter/remain as the spouse of a British citizen, as the dependant of a work permit or visa holder, or as the dependant of a student with a visa valid for more than 12 months.
  • they have been working with permission, and without interruption, in the UK for a period of 12 months. For example, someone already present in the UK as a work permit or visa holder, or as a student who has been in part-time employment continuously for 12 months.

Please note those who have been working with permission, and without interruption, in the UK for a period of less than 12 months will no longer be subject to work authorisation after they have worked for 12 months.


There is currently no requirement for EU nationals to register for any documentation to confirm their status in the UK, however, in light of the uncertainties about Brexit those who want to apply for documentation confirming their status could consider the following options:

  • Those who have worked in the UK for less than 5 years can apply for a Registration Certificate
  • Those who have worked in the UK for at least 5 years have a permanent right to reside and can apply for a Permanent Residence Certificate
  • Those who have worked in the UK for at least 6 years are eligible to apply for British citizenship (but must obtain a Permanent Residence Certificate first), as are children born in the UK whose parent(s) have Permanent Residence.

Years spent carrying out other activities in the UK can also be relied on, such as those spent as a student as long as comprehensive medical cover was held. Family members of EU nationals who have been working and/or studying here should also be eligible to apply under these routes.

Croatian, Bulgarian and Romanian, and other EU nationals can rely on time in the UK before their countries joined the European Union.

For more information see the University’s Oxford and Brexit dedicated site for Brexit news, information and academic analysis, and Information for EU staff page which provides a video podcast of an information session along with the presentation slides and a Q&A.

The Staff Immigration Team provide guidance on the requirements, and application process, for EEA Registration Certificates and Permanent Residence but are not in a position to check applications.

Further information

Who needs a right to work check

Employing Non-EEA nationals

Additional requirements for employing overseas students