If you are from an A8 country and came to the UK before 1 May 2009, then you cannot automatically qualify for PR because of five years in employment starting before 1 May 2009. You will have needed to meet the conditions of the Worker Registration Scheme to rely on that period. If you didn't register and were not exempt, only periods from May 2009 can be counted towards PR.

The extension of the WRS beyond April 2009 has been ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court, see: Supreme Court rules WRS extension unlawful - UKCEN Citizenship and Residence for European Nationals and their families

This makes it possible to rely on periods from May 1st 2009, towards PR.

The relevant A8 countries are listed below:
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
As naturalisation requires no breaches of law within the last 10 years, and the relevant period ended over 10 years ago, having worked without WRS during the relevant time should no longer affect any naturalisation applications.

WRS registration rules

If you worked for the same employer for more than 12 months, you would no longer have had to register again when you got another job.

You will be treated as having worked in the UK without interruption for a period of 12 months if you were legally working in the UK at the beginning and end of that period and any intervening periods in which you were not legally working in the UK do not, in total, exceed 30 days. You will need your WRS registration card(s) and of 12 months’ employment.

If you worked for a different company but through the same agency, you didn’t need to register again.

However, a break longer than a week would have required a new registration with the WRS.

You had to register if you worked more than 10 hours a week.

If you had more than one job, you had to obtain a WRS registration certificate for each employer.

Those who were genuinely self-employed with sufficient evidence can show they were exempt from having to register on the WRS.

Who had to register

If you are from an A8 country, you had to register if:
  • You started a new job after 1 May 2004;
  • You were working in the UK before 1 May 2004 without authorisation/in breach of your immigration conditions;
  • You were working on a short-term or temporary basis; or
  • You were a student who was also working.
Who didn't have to register

You didn't have to register if:
  • You had been working with permission in the UK on 30 April 2004 for 12 months without interruption (with no more than 30 days during which you were not legally working);
  • You had been working legally in the UK for a period of 12 months without interruption, falling partly or wholly after 30 April 2004;
  • On 30 April 2004 you had leave remain in the UK and that leave was not subject to any conditions restricting your employment;
  • You were working for an employer that was not established in the UK and your work was providing services on your employer’s behalf;
  • You were a member of a diplomatic mission, the family member of such a person or a person otherwise entitled to diplomatic immunity;
  • You hold dual citizenship and are also a British citizen or a citizen of another EEA state other than an A8 country or Romania or Bulgaria or Switzerland;
  • You were the family member (spouse, civil partner or child under the age of 21) of a Swiss or EEA national who was in the UK as a worker (other than an A8 national listed above or a Romanian or Bulgarian), a self-sufficient person, a retired person or a student;
  • You were a student enrolled at a recognised educational establishment in the UK for the principal purpose of following a vocational training course;
  • You were a retired person who had been employed or self-employed and received a pension sufficient to allow you to live without claiming benefits in the UK, and were covered by CSI;
  • You were only self-employed (and not undertaking any paid employment).