After months of postponements, of uncertainty, and of political debates and negotiations, Brexit is now a reality. The United Kingdom and European Union have reached an agreement on the modalities of the withdrawal.
What does it mean for European workers in the UK? And what about British nationals residing in the European Union?
This question concerns millions of people: there are 3 million European nationals currently residing and/or working in the United Kingdom, and there are 2 million Britons in the EU.
Also, there is an important, equal flow of workers seconded between France and the UK.
Here’s a rundown of the situation.
For Britons residing in France
- British nationals present in France before 31 December 2020 will have to apply for the new residence permit that is provided for in the withdrawal agreement.
The deadline to apply for this new residence permit will be the end of July 2021, according to modalities that will be specified shortly.
- British nationals arriving in France after 1 January 2021 will have to apply for one of the many other “standard” residency permits that exist in France and the European Union. The appropriate permit or visa will vary based on the individual’s profile (student visa, seconded worker, family member of visa-holder, etc.)
- If they meet the requirements, all Britons may also consider applying for French citizenship, as many long-term residents have done.
Regardless of the situation, time is of the essence, so companies and individuals should quickly take stock of their situation and take appropriate action promptly.
For European nationals residing in the UK
- If they have a “permanent residence permit” they need to apply to continue living in the UK after 30 June 30 2021.
- Option 1: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (see below)
- Option 2: Request British citizenship
- If they have an “indefinite leave to remain/enter” status, they do not need to do anything in order to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.
- If they do NOT have an indefinite leave to remain/enter status, they must apply to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.
- Option 1: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
- Option 2: Request British citizenship
What does the EU Settlement Scheme provide?
Depending on how long the individual has been residing in the UK (more or less than 5 years), they will receive either “pre-settled” or “settled” status.
Both of these statuses will provide similar benefits, which include, in particular, the right to work in the UK, use the NHS for free, enroll in education, access public funds, and travel in and out of the country.
Circulation between the UK and EU
Under the terms of the agreement, the conditions for entering the EU and UK for reciprocal nationals will remain unchanged until 31 December 2020.
The withdrawal agreement provides for a transition period up to 31 December 2020. During that window, the current European legislation will continue to apply.
This means that all the current rules regarding the coordination of social security regulations in the EU will continue during the transition period.
This also entails the continuation of current rights and benefits regarding welfare at a coordinated European level.
After this transition period, only the laws of the United Kingdom shall apply. This will include any trade or social benefit agreements that are reached between the EU or its members and the UK.
This transition period will not be extended, according to the British Prime Minister.
Flichy Grangé Avocats is available to assist you with the legal and administrative matters surrounding Brexit, in order to ensure a smooth transition for your business, whatever the political context. The article was written by Olivier Kress and James Stephen Geist of Flichy Grangé Avocats.
Feeling Overwhelmed by Brexit? We’re Here to Help.
Are you still confused about Brexit after three years of debate? Is the uncertainty surrounding Brexit impacting your workforce? Are you fully prepared to meet your obligations when Brexit finally enters into force? What happens to your business in the unlikely event that Brexit fails and the UK remains a member of the EU?
We understand how all this uncertainty over Brexit can have real consequences for your business. We appreciate that employers throughout Europe are concerned about the sustainability of their operations, especially when they are confronted with an abundance of complex and far-reaching changes to the rules, regulations, policies, obligations and industry practices that govern the workplace.
L&E Global’s Brexit Exchange Forum is our latest interactive knowhow platform created to help clients confront the challenges posed by Brexit, informatively and effectively.
Brexit in a Nutshell
The term ‘Brexit’ (a portmanteau of “British” and “exit”) refers to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). On 23 June 2016, a referendum was held in which voters were asked, “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” When the results were announced the next day, nearly 52% (per cent) voted in favour of leaving the European Union, compared to 48% (per cent) who voted in favour of remaining a member of the EU.
Following the vote, the Government of the UK invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (Article 50, enacted by the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009, introduced for the first time a procedure for a member state to withdraw voluntarily from the EU), initiating the formal withdrawal process, which, consequently, launched negotiations to reach an agreement that would set forth the relationship that would eventually exist between the UK and the EU after the withdrawal. The UK was scheduled to cease being a member of the EU at day’s end on 29 March 2019. However, in order to allow for negotiations to continue, an extension has since been granted until 31 October 2019.
Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times
Discussions are currently underway regarding the impact of Brexit on labour law and on UK companies in Italy and across the EU, the right of British citizens to reside and work in Spain and the Netherlands, as well as the employment law implications for employers and employees as a result of Brexit. With its momentous effect on immigration, will Brexit ultimately bring an end to the free movement of workers? Similarly, if such restrictions lead to a substantial reduction in the number of skilled labourers available for hire (e.g. affecting the construction industry), there would a sizable spike in skilled labour wages, with fewer workers able to fill the steady demand of assignments, which in turn could lead to projects going over schedule and increasingly over-budget. Labour market inflation would therefore be the inevitable result of Brexit’s influence over the legal and economic interests of a shared, global marketplace.
Many businesses have already made so-called “hard Brexit” contingency plans. Still, there is no “one size fits all” for Brexit preparedness for businesses. While much of the UK is already underway with contingency planning, exploring new strategies now could help to avoid disputes later on. The same is also true of her closest regional and international trading partners.
L&E Global’s labour and employment law specialists worldwide are carefully monitoring the ongoing deliberations between the UK and the EU, studying, researching, and analysing the latest legal trends as they develop, exploring opportunities and devising strategies to help employers successfully meet the multitude of challenges that the transformative brunt force of Brexit demands. As the negotiations progress and we near the UK’s exit from the European Union, L&E Global will continue to provide you with updates concerning employment law matters affected by Brexit.
Brexit Working Group
L&E Global’s Brexit Working Group is made-up of a core team of dedicated lawyers who have developed an acute expertise on Brexit, specifically as it relates to employment, labour and immigration law developments and the implications of such measures entering into force and the impact that would have on businesses, especially multinationals operating across borders.
+44(0)207 876 5000
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Senior Immigration Advisor
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John L. Sander
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Brexit in a Flash
A ticking clock – Brexit and UK court judgments
UK Election and Brexit – what happens next?
BREXIT: some thoughts on employment law implications
Impact of Brexit on EU Referendums applicable to UK Employment Law
Impact of Brexit on Italy
New Law Outlining The Transitory Discipline In Case Of Brexit-No-Deal Entered Into Force
Spain: Residence and work permits for UK’s national members in the case of a “no-deal” Brexit
The Netherlands: Brexit and the consequences for employers and employees working in the Netherlands
UK: Brexit Bill – Royal Assent expected soon
UK: No-deal Brexit: workplace rights technical notice
For additional Brexit-related resources, including articles, blogs, special reports, bulletins and more, we invite you to explore Brexit: Navigating the unknown a centralised database for clients, courtesy of L&E Global’s member firm in the United Kingdom Clyde & Co.