Romania - © Jeremy North

The Free Movement of Workers is a principle in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.Romania - © Jeremy North

It entitles citizens of the European Union to:

  • Seek employment in another EU country
  • Work (with no need for a work permit) in another EU country
  • Live in that country and remain in that country after employment has ended
  • Be treated as equal to nationals of that country in respect to employment, tax and social benefits and working conditions
  • Have particular types of health & social security coverage transferred to the country in which they go to seek work (see coordination of social security systems).

The “Free Movement of Workers” is also generally applicable to countries in the European Economic Area: Switzerland, Iceland, Norway & Liechtenstein are members of the European Free Trade Association and are all members of the The Free Movement Of Workers agreement.


Some occupations allow for professional qualifications to be recognised in other EU countries. (see mutual recognition of professional qualifications).

Rules are in place to protect rights of all people moving within the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (see EU social security coordination)

Restrictions and rights vary for EU nationals who are economically non-active, retired, students or self-employed. (see Your Europe). There are also restrictions for those seeking employment in the public sector.

Temporary restrictions are in place for nationals of Croatia.

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