26 April 2007
Previously, SBS permit holders from Bulgaria and Romania were required to leave the UK after 12 months for a minimum period of two months before becoming eligible for re-entry to the country under a new SBS permit
With the new change, the Border and Immigration Agency may waive the exit and re-entry requirement under some circumstances.
Bulgarian and Romanian nationals who have been continuously employed within the UK for a period of 12 months are automatically exempt from work authorization requirements, hence the removal of the requirement to leave the country.
Employers may apply for an extension or change of employment for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals beyond the twelve-month approval period without the SBS permit holder having to leave the UK for the previously required two-month period. Any other SBS permit holders must still leave the UK.
Previously allotted to non-EEA nationals based on a quota system, SBS permits allow nationals of Bulgaria and Romania to work in the UK in certain sectors. Currently the Food Manufacturing industry is the only available sector.
The SBS was intended to be phased out on 31 December 2006, but was kept in place for Bulgarians and Romanians upon accession to the European Union on 01 January 2007. Unlike other citizens of the EU, Bulgarians and Romanians had work restrictions placed upon them by the UK when their countries joined the bloc.
Related: UK Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme extended for Romanians and Bulgarians