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Amendment to EEA regulations on worker status and job seeking

Amendment to EEA regulations on worker status and job seeking

No, not an amendment to take account of the judgment in O v The Netherlands C‑456/12 (blog post: Surinder Singh immigration route) [ed: who knows how long we will have to wait for that] but one to try to limit the period during which an EU national is considered to be a jobseeker. This is an issue my colleague Desmond Rutledge has been following closely with a series of blog posts.

The amendment comes via the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1451) and takes effect on 1 July 2014. It is a fairly short and fairly obscure change, further amending the already heavily amended paragraph 6 of the main Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 so that it now ‘reads’ [ed: it is in truth almost unreadable] as follows with the latest changes italicised:

6  “Qualified person”

(1)     In these Regulations, “qualified person” means a person who is an EEA national and in the United Kingdom as–

(a)     a jobseeker;

(b)     a worker;

(c)     a self-employed person;

(d)     a self-sufficient person; or

(e)     a student.

(2)     Subject to regulations 7A(4) and 7B(4), a person who is no longer working shall not cease to be treated as a worker for the purpose of paragraph (1)(b) if–

(a)     he is temporarily unable to work as the result of an illness or accident;

(b)     he is in duly recorded involuntary unemployment after having been employed in the United Kingdom for at least one year, provided that he–

(i)     has registered as a jobseeker with the relevant employment office; and

(ii)     satisfies conditions A and B;

(ba)     he is in duly recorded involuntary unemployment after having been employed in the United Kingdom for less than one year, provided that he–

(i)     has registered as a jobseeker with the relevant employment office; and

(ii)     satisfies conditions A and B;

(c)     he is involuntarily unemployed and has embarked on vocational training; or

(d)     he has voluntarily ceased working and embarked on vocational training that is related to his previous employment.

(2A)     A person to whom paragraph (2)(ba) applies may only retain worker status for a maximum of six months.

(3)     A person who is no longer in self-employment shall not cease to be treated as a self-employed person for the purpose of paragraph (1)(c) if he is temporarily unable to pursue his activity as a self-employed person as the result of an illness or accident.

(4)     For the purpose of paragraph (1)(a), a “jobseeker” is a person who satisfies conditions A, B and, where relevant, C.

(5)     Condition A is that the person–

(a)     entered the United Kingdom in order to seek employment; or

(b)     is present in the United Kingdom seeking employment, immediately after enjoying a right to reside pursuant to paragraph (1)(b) to (e) (disregarding any period during which worker status was retained pursuant to paragraph (2)(b) or (ba)).

(6)     Condition B is that the person can provide evidence that he is seeking employment and has a genuine chance of being engaged.

(7)     A person may not retain the status of a worker pursuant to paragraph (2)(b), or jobseeker pursuant to paragraph (1)(a), for longer than the relevant period unless he can provide compelling evidence that he is continuing to seek employment and has a genuine chance of being engaged.

(8) In paragraph (7), “the relevant period” means—

(a) in the case of a person retaining worker status pursuant to paragraph (2)(b), a continuous period of six months;

(b) in the case of a jobseeker, 182 days, minus the cumulative total of any days during which the person concerned previously enjoyed a right to reside as a jobseeker, not including any days prior to a continuous absence from the United Kingdom of at least 12 months.

(9) Condition C applies where the person concerned has, previously, enjoyed a right to reside under this regulation as a result of satisfying conditions A and B—

(a) in the case of a person to whom paragraph (2)(b) or (ba) applied, for at least six months; or

(b) in the case of a jobseeker, for at least 182 days in total,

unless the person concerned has, since enjoying the above right to reside, been continuously absent from the United Kingdom for at least 12 months.

(10) Condition C is that the person has had a period of absence from the United Kingdom.

(11) Where condition C applies—

(a) paragraph (7) does not apply; and

(b) condition B has effect as if “compelling” were inserted before “evidence”.

None of this convoluted nonsense can change the fact that a ‘worker’ includes a person looking for work in EU law, as established as long ago as the case of Antonissen C-292/89. The inclusion of ‘jobseeker’ as a ‘qualified person’ is an entirely domestic UK gloss on EU free movement rights.

Colin Yeo
Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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