ROMANIAN AND BULGARIAN NATIONALS
EEA nationals become lawfully resident in other Member State if they exercise their EU Treaty Rights in one of the following ways - work/self employed/study/self sufficient. This is set out in Directive 2004/38, the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons Regulations) (No 2) 2006 (as amended). Romanian and Bulgarian nationals are an exception to this general rule because the Irish government opted to place special restrictions on the right to work for Bulgarian/Romanian nationals. Since 1 January 2007 nationals of Romania and Bulgaria, although EU nationals, may be required to have an employment permit for a continuous period of 12 months to work in Ireland. All Romanian and Bulgarian nationals, other than those who have been resident in the State on a employment permit, expiring on or after 31 December 2006, for a continuous period of 12 months, are required to have employment permits. Applications for work permits for them will be given preference over those for non-EEA nationals. However, the restrictions are specific to employment permits. Therefore, it seems to be that if the Romanian or Bulgarian national becomes self employed, they avoid the employment permit restrictions and acquire lawful residency on the basis of Directive 2004/38.
This point is currently being challenged in the High Court, in a case taken by Mr Solavastru and family. See Irish Times Article dated 3rd March 2011.
If you have any questions about the position of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals, please post your comment here and we will be happy to answer your queries.
Karen Berkeley, Brophy Solicitors