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Migrant Workers

Migrant Workers

If you are a British citizen, or from a country that is a member of the European Economic area (EEA), you have the right to work in the United Kingdom.  If you have entered the UK as a dependant, you will also have the right to work.

No documents required

If you are a national of one of the following countries you have full freedom to work in the UK and you are not required to provide any documents.

Austria, Belguim, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechenstein,Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK. 

Documents needed for employment

If you are from one of the new A8 EU member states, to work in the UK, you need to be registered with the Home Office or have a visa.  You also need to have a National Insurance Number and, most likely, you will have to pay tax.              

A8 countries - documents required:- Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

You must register with the Home Office on the Worker Registration Scheme within 30 days of you starting work.  To register you will need to contact the Worker Registration Team. You will need to complete Form WRS giving details on your name, address, date of birth, nationality, and your employment details.

There is a fee of £90 that you will have to pay when sending the WRS form in.  If you are successful then you will be given a registration card and certificate. 

Once you have been working legally for 12 months without a break you will have full rights of free movement and will no longer need to register on the Worker Registration Scheme. 

If you are a Bulgarian or Romanian national you are also required to complete a work authorisation document before starting work.

See useful contacts for further details. 

From a Non EU Country

If you are from a non-EU country, and want to work in the UK, you should check that your status allows you to do so before taking up employment and that the type of work that you intend to do is permitted. Within the Cleaning and Security sectors work as a domestic worker in private households is permitted.

Employment rights

All workers in the UK, including new arrivals to the UK and migrant workers are legally entitled to certain employment rights. These include;

  • to be paid, at least the National Minimum Wage
  • paid holidays
  • rest breaks during a working day
  • protection against conditions that are detrimental to workers’ health and safety at work
  • the right to join a trade union
  • protection against discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation or being, or not being, a trade union member. 

Some useful things to remember

Always check your contract and any other documents that you are given from your employer.  Make sure that you understand these documents before you agree to anything.  Don’t be afraid to ask your employer or employment agency if you don’t understand something or are unsure about anything at work.

Never give your passport to anyone else.  Your employer or employment agency will want to look at it to confirm your identity and to check that you are able to work in the UK.  They will need to copy it, but make sure you don’t leave it with them. If they refuse to return it to you should seek advice immediately. You can contact the Vulnerable Workers Project and we will put you in touch with the most appropriate advice.

© Trades Union Congress 2007