A registration certificate is a document, issued to an EEA national that confirms the holder's right of residence under European law. You do not need a registration certificate to be able to enter, live in or work in the UK.
EEA nationals who reside in the UK for more than three months must be exercising free movement rights. In doing so, they are classed as a ‘qualified’ person.
A qualified person is defined in regulation 6 of the regulations as an EEA national who is living in the UK as a:
job seeker – regulation 6(1)(a);
worker – regulation 6(1)(b);
self-employed person – regulation 6(1)(c);
self-sufficient person – regulation 6(1)(d);
student – regulation 6(1)(e).
A worker is an EEA national who is exercising their free movement rights in the UK by working in paid employment on a full-time or part-time basis. Specified evidence needs to be submitted by the EU national to support their application or the application of their family members. While there is no minimum amount of hours which an EEA national must be employed for in order to qualify as a worker, the employment must be genuine and effective and not marginal or supplementary.
Further to that, EEA nationals can retain their worker status right if they are temporarily unemployed and will have to provide evidence to support their claim.
An EEA national can change the basis of their stay in the UK. For example, if they enter the UK as a job seeker and then take employment and become a worker. In such cases, the EEA national can count both periods towards the five years qualifying period for permanent residence. Qualified persons do not need to apply to for a document confirming a right of residence in the UK. However, if they wish to do so they may apply for a registration certificate. Switzerland is not part of the European Union (EU). Swiss nationals and their family members have the same free movement rights as EEA nationals.
As an EU national can be termed as a job seeker and will need to demonstrate that they have a genuine chance of being employed. This would include evidence to prove academic or professional qualifications & other experience. So, for example, a person applying for positions as a surgeon with no qualifications or experience in this capacity cannot show they have a genuine chance of doing this work.
From 1 January 2014, regulation 6(7) stops an EEA national from keeping the status of the job seeker for longer than six months unless they can provide compelling evidence to show they are continuing to seek employment and have a genuine chance of employment. For example, an EEA national enters the UK as a student and shortly after starts employment. After 13 months they are made redundant and register with Jobcentre Plus. Eight months later, they are still seeking work but provide evidence to show they have recently done further training which, when they finish in 2 months time, guarantees them a position as an apprentice. In this case, this is enough evidence to show they have a genuine chance of being working.