When Croatia joined the EU in 2013, the UK and other member states were able to restrict the access that Croatian citizens had to their labour markets for a maximum of 7 years before Croatia became a full EU member. The UK is one of a few EU countries (Austria, Slovenia and the Netherlands) which applied such measures.
The restrictions have meant that, unless an exemption applied, Croatians needed permission from the Home Office to work in the UK. However, Croatians could travel to and from the UK freely for visiting purposes.
In March, the government announced that the restriction on Croatian workers in the UK will be lifted.
Minister of State for Immigration, Caroline Nokes said in a written statement to Parliament: "circumstances were different to 2011 when the government decided to extend "transitional controls" five years after Romania and Bulgaria had joined the EU." She said that recent estimates suggest there are fewer than 10,000 Croatian nationals living in the UK.
Thus, to increase migration the UK lifted the restriction on Croatian workers on Saturday 30th June 2018.
This change gives Croatian migrants the same rights as other European Economic Area (EEA) nationals.
What about Brexit?
"We will not discriminate between nationals of the EU member states in our implementation of the Citizens' Rights deal. Croatian citizens will be able to apply for settled status on the same terms as all other EU citizens.
"We have been clear that we will take back control of immigration and our borders when we leave the EU, and we will put in place an immigration system which works in the best interests of the whole of the UK."
Caroline Nokes, Minister of State for Immigration
BBC News. (2018). UK to lift work restrictions for Croatians. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-43462655 [Accessed 6 Jul. 2018]
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