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Advising Croatians

This page is for housing advisers. If you are a new arrival please click here for information more relevant to you.

Croatia is part of the European Union. From 1 July 2018 Croatian nationals have exactly the same rights to housing and benefits as any other EEA worker or other EEA national with the right to reside. This page is only for Croatians who applied for housing or benefits before that date.

What happens to applications made before 1st July 2018?

If an application for housing or benefits was made before 1st July 2018 and refused (e.g. due to temporary unemployment), a fresh application can be made at any time from 1st July 2018 and it is considered in the same way as any other EEA worker or other EEA national (i.e. under the rules that apply now).

The applicant may still want to appeal a pre-July 2018 decision if:

  • his/her circumstances have changed and he/she doesn’t qualify after 1st July 2018 (e.g. if he/she is no longer homeless)
  • he/she wants to claim arrears of benefit for a period before then.

In either case the appeal must be within the time limit (21 days for housing/homelessness decision, one month for benefits). The time limit can only be extended if he/she has good reasons and for benefits the maximum extension allowed is 13 months. The time limit starts to run from the date in the decision letter (which could be after 1st July 2018, if the authority took a long time to decide it).

How does status before 1st July 2018 affect the right to reside now?

Periods of work, study or self-sufficiency before 1st July 2018 can contribute towards the right to reside now as follows:

  • periods of employment on the worker authorisation scheme (whether or not you have completed one year: [2010] UKUT 347 (AAC)) count towards your rights in exactly the same way as any other EEA national. For example, it could be used to establish your right as the parent of a child in education
  • periods of work (employed or self employed), study, or self-sufficiency can be used to establish the right to reside as a unemployed or retired worker  or as a long-term resident; but
  • periods of work, study or self-sufficiency before 1st July 2013 (before Croatia joined the EU) cannot be used to establish an EEA right to reside (such as those above).

What rights to reside did Croatians have before 1st July 2018?

Before 1st July 2018 Croatians had fewer rights to live, work, and apply for social assistance than other EEA nationals.

Croatian nationals who were not in self-employment, authorised work or otherwise legally working (i.e. exempt from worker authorisation) did not have the right to reside. The Croatia Worker Authorisation Regulations restricted the kinds of employed work Croatians could do and required prior approval from the Home Office. But there were some exceptions: a Croatian had the same rights to housing and benefits as other EEA nationals if (at that time):

  • he/she was self-employed or temporarily unable work in their business due to sickness
  • he/she was in authorised work (as an employee) and complying with any conditions in their work authorisation document
  • he/she was in employment and exempt from worker authorisation
  • had already completed 12 months continuous lawful employment at any time after 30th June 2013
  • he/she was married to a UK national or a person settled in the UK
  • he/she was an EEA family member (including a family member of a Croatian) who met one of conditions above.
Chartered Institute of Housing

Background Topics

How can we improve housing for new migrants in the UK?

Chartered Institute of Housing