UK - Details of Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) Announced

The Home Office has announced details of the Worker Registration Scheme applicable to citizens from the eight Central and Eastern European EU accession countries who wish to come to the UK to work.

Citizens of these eight countries currently working in the UK or intending to work in the UK will need to register themselves with the Worker Registration Team at the Home Office if they start a new job in the UK on or after 1 May or if they have been working illegally in the UK before 1 May.

Those individuals who do not have to register include:

  • those who are self-employed
  • those who have been working legally in the UK already in the same job that they will hold on 1 May
  • those who have leave to enter on the SAWS scheme before 1 May and started working in the UK under the SAWS scheme on or after 1 May
  • those who are providing services in the UK on behalf of an employer who is not established in the UK.

Individuals from the eight Central and Eastern European accession countries will need to register under this scheme within one month of starting a new job. The application form should be completed and sent along with a letter from the employer confirming the employment, two passport photographs, one's passport or national ID card and payment of £50. Decisions will be made on most applications within 24 hours of payment being received.

Successful applicants will receive by post a registration card and registration certificate (a copy of which will also be sent to the employer). If applicants stop working for the employer, the registration card and certificate will become invalid. If a new position is taken up, then a new registration certificate should be applied for. There is no fee for subsequent registration certificates.

Once employees from these countries have worked in the UK for at least 12 months, then a registration card and certificate will no longer be required, and employees will be able to apply for a residence permit exercising their EU treaty rights.

The Worker Registration Scheme comes into effect on 1 May 2004.