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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Who is automatically entiled to work in the UK?

There are a number of ways in which individuals may already be eligible to live and work in the UK. Some of the main categories are:

  • British Citizens
  • Nationals of countries covered by the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement
  • Non-EEA nationals granted indefinite leave to remain
  • Spouses or dependents of full time students or points based based visa holders

List of EEA Countries

Below is a list of EEA member states up to date as of January 2014 where staff have automatic rights to work in the UK.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia*, Cyprus, Czech Repbulic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lativa, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Nethernalands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden,United Kingdom 
*Please click on the following link for further information regarding working in the UK as a Croation National.

The following countries are members of the EEA but not the EU (but can still work without restriction)

Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland

Although Turkey is not in the EEA, if a migrant is a Turkish national who is legally employed in the UK and they already have a visa that gives them permission to work, a decision by the Association Council of the ECAA (European Community Association Agreement) has given them certain rights. A Turkish national may:

  • Apply for further permission to stay in the UK after they have worked here for 1 year, so that they can continue to work for the same employer (if a job is available)
  • Change employers after they have been working here for 3 years, if they are continuing to work in the same occupation
  • Work in any type of job for any employer after they have been working in the UK for 4 years.
Link to Home Office Website