Croatian nationals will no longer require a visa if they wish to study (even if their studies are for more than 6 months) or if they wish to live in the UK. If, however, they wish to come to the UK to work, they can come to the UK without a visa but you will require permission to work.
Croatian nationals study at our English Language School in London
The restrictions mentioned above will apply to access to the UK labour market only. In other words, if you wish to visit the UK, as now, as a Croatian national you will not need a visa. From 1 July 2013, you will also no longer require a visa if you wish to study (even if your studies are for more than 6 months) or wish to live in the UK. If, however, you wish to come to the UK to work, you can come to the UK without a visa but you will require permission to work. You will need to obtain this permission, from UKBA, before you start to work. Work authorisation will only be granted if you meet the requirements for skilled economic migrants, as obtained for Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points-Based System. In other words, the same restrictions on work as these exist today continue to apply. The only difference is that you will no longer need to apply for a visa (Tier 2 or Tier 5) before coming to the UK. Instead, you will need to apply for work authorisation after your arrival in the UK and before you start to work. You would, however, still need to meet the same criteria as under Tier 2 or Tier 5.
Are there any exemptions to the requirement to obtain permission to work?
It is important to note that a definitive decision concerning these arrangements has not been made yet. Currently, the UK Government proposes to exempt the following category of workers:
If you are legally present in the UK on 1 July 2013 and are not subject to any restrictions on working. Example: you were granted settlement in the UK
If you are legally working in the UK on 1 July 2013 and have been legally working for an uninterrupted period of 12 months ending on that date;
If you work legally for an uninterrupted period of 12 months falling partly or wholly after 1 July 2013 (for example, you started your job six months prior to the date of accession but your contract is for an indefinite time);
If you are a dual national, for example, you are also a UK citizen or a citizen of another Member State whose nationals are not subject to similar restrictions (for example, you are a dual German/Croatian national);
If you are the spouse or civil partner of a national of the UK or the family member of an EEA national who has a right to reside in the UK, except where that EEA national is subject to work authorisation;
If you are posted to the UK by a business established on the territory of another Member State.
If you meet the criteria for a grant of leave to enter under the current Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category or the previous Tier 1 (Post Study) category of the Immigration Rules to be issued with a registration certificate confirming that the holder has free access to the labour market and is therefore exempt from the requirement to obtain work authorisation if they intend to take employment;
If you are studying here, as is the case under the current Immigration Rules, you will be able to do part-time work and vacation employment, and employment which forms part of a vocational course of study, without requiring work authorisation. However, you will need to obtain a registration certificate from the UK Border Agency confirming that you are exercising a Treaty right as a student;
If you are self-employed, you will not be subject to work authorisation because the terms of the Accession Treaty do not permit the UK to restrict the exercise of rights of free movement for the purposes of establishment. Those exercising a right to reside as a self-employed person (or as a self-sufficient person) will, however, be subject to work authorisation in the event that they go on to engage in work in an employed capacity.
Source: UKBA website “Accession of Croatia to the European Union”.