The court said a company legally employing non-EU workers in one member state had a right to take them with it to work on contracts elsewhere in the EU. The Home Office has traditionally insisted they must apply for a work permit - usually refused to unskilled workers.
The court came down against a claim by France that it had a right to insist on work permits for Moroccan workers resident in Belgium, who were taken by their Belgian firm to work on a demolition contract in Reims. Julia Onslow- Cole, a solicitor specialising in immigration law at Cameron Markby Hewitt, the City firm, said: 'The judgment has very wide implications for business.
'For example, a French company with a lot of Algerian employes legally resident in France could bring them to the UK to work on a contract without the need for a work permit.'
She said that until now they would have needed a permit but almost certainly would not have obtained one, without at least a degree and a management-level job.
Companies are expected to seek an extension of the ruling.Reuse content