Criminal convictions for Romanians

Romanian and Bulgarian yellow and blue card applicants should be aware of new questions which have been added to the UK Border Agencys BRI form (version 12/2012). In section 8 of the BR1 form, which concerns previous criminal convictions new questions have now been added about civil judgments and county court judgments (CCJ).

Civil judgments are not criminal convictions but can easily be picked up for an unpaid debt or bill. A CCJ can be registered against you in your absence and notification may go to an old address without your knowledge. Once registered, a CCJ will stay on your credit file for six years, making it difficult for you to obtain credit, a bank account, mobile phone contract or even a tenancy agreement.

Having a CCJ or other civil judgment may or may not lead to a refusal, but the next new question could be more tricky to deal with if you have stayed for longer than the three month period before exercising treaty rights as a student, self employed person or self sufficient person. Question 8.11 asks: How long have you lived in the UK?

You are then required to provide the number of years and months, together with details of any periods of absence of more than 6 months giving dates of leaving and returning to the UK. Like other EU and EEA citizens, many Romanians and Bulgarians assume that after entering the UK they can stay as long as they wish without registering. They are unaware that they should be seeking legal work or exercising treaty rights in order to stay longer than 3 months.

Under the current 7 year transitional work restrictions due to end next year, only highly skilled, skilled workers on work permits, students on yellow cards, Au Pairs and certain seasonal agricultural workers can work legally on an employed basis in the UK. Similar rules apply in other EU countries, for instance where a British person decides to live in Spain where they are now required to take out private medical insurance cover.

Romanians and Bulgarians who have stayed for over three months while, for example working in a restaurant on a self employed basis or for cash, could be asked to explain what they have been doing and how they have lived in the UK since they arrived.

If you have been arrested or detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 1, 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed, Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: info@immigrationmatters.co.uk or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk for free immigration news updates.

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