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Immigration (EEA) Regulations Amended: EU Jobseekers and Qualified Person Status

The Immigration Regulations are amended regularly. The most recent amendment came into force on 10th November 2014: The Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2761).

The amendment is brief, and reduces the number of days during which an EU national looking for work may stay in the UK after their initial three months’ residence under Article 6(1) of Directive 2004/38, as transposed by Regulation 13 of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations.

Under UK law, work seekers count as qualified persons under Regulation6(1)(a). A ‘worker’ includes a person looking for work in EU law, as established in 1991 by Case C-292/89, Antonissen. The separate inclusion of ‘jobseeker’ in the ‘qualified person’ category under the EEA Regulations has been entirely the decision of the UK: it is domestic policy, rather than required by the EU.  

Qualified persons under the UK’s approach are as follows:

“Qualified person”

  1. 6. (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.

Jobseekers must:

  1. Have entered the UK in order to seek employment; or
    1. Be present in the UK seeking employment having already been a qualified person under sections 6.(1)(b)-(e).
    2. Be able to provided evidence that they are seeking employment and have a genuine chance of being engaged

Individuals may retain the status of worker following involuntary unemployment within the UK if:

  • They have registered as a jobseeker with the relevant employment office and satisfy conditions A and B above.

A retained status is only be retained for what is known as the ‘relevant period’, unless compelling evidence is provided to the effect that the jobseeker is continuing to seek employment and has a genuine chance of being engaged.

The relevant period is:

  • in the case of a person retaining worker status pursuant to paragraph (2)(b), a continuous period of six months;
  • in the case of a jobseeker, 91 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.

SI 2014/2761 halved the relevant number of days for a jobseeker: the relevant section previously said 182 days. The Home Office explanatory note said that the new 91 day limit is consistent with the requirements of Antonissen, with the calculation of initial 3 month right of residence + 91 days enabling EU jobseekers who meet the requirements to reside within the UK for 6 months.

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