Case C-138/02 Collins [2004] ECR I-2703

Key point
  • The term ‘worker’ under Regulation No 1612/68 and Article 45 TFEU covers not persons who have already entered the employment market, but also those who have previously entered the employment market and left but retain a ‘sufficiently close connection’ to it
Facts
  • Collins held dual Irish and American citizenship
  • He worked for a few months in the UK during his college years and worked in the US for 17 years thereafter, before returning to UK to seek employment
  • Unable to find employment, he claimed jobseeker’s allowance, which was refused on the ground that he was not habitually resident in the UK
  • Collins challenged the decision and during proceedings, preliminary reference was made, inter alia, on whether he was a worker for the purposes of Regulation No 1612/68
Held
  • Collins was not a worker
Judgment
  • While the Court has held that ‘migrant workers are guaranteed certain rights linked to the status as a worker even when they are no longer in an employment relationship’: [27]
  • Collins does not have a ‘sufficiently close connection‘ the UK employment market since there is no ‘link’ between the casual work he did and the search for another job more than 17 years after it came to an end, thus his position must be compared with that of ‘any national of a Member State looking for his first job in another Member State’: [28] – [29]
  • ‘In this connection, it is to be remembered that the Court’s case-law draws a distinction between Member State nationals who have not yet entered into an employment relationship in the host Member State where they are looking for work and those who are already working in that State or who, having worked there but no longer being in an employment relationship, are nevertheless considered to be workers‘: [30]
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