Brexit updates

15 February 2019


With the Brexit date looming, more EU member states have issued updates regarding the rights of UK citizens and their non-EU/EEA family members residing in their countries prior to the cut off date in a no deal scenario.


The Swiss Federal Council has reached an agreement with the UK government on reciprocal rights of Swiss and UK citizens:

    •  In a no deal scenario the agreement will come into force on 30 March 2019

    •  In a deal scenario, effective 1 January 2021.

The rights outlined in the agreement relate to residency, social security coordination and recognition of professional qualifications. These rights are all currently covered by the Free Movement of Persons Agreement (FMPOA) which is one of the core rights guaranteed in the European Economic Area (EEA). The Swiss and UK governments are still working out the details related to a further bilateral agreement on free movement.

G-permit holders

For UK citizens that are either employees (gainful employment) or cross border workers, as long as they are registered in Switzerland or hold a G-Permit (in the case of cross border workers) before the agreement comes into force – 30 March 2019 in a no deal scenario and 1 January 2021 in a deal scenario – then their rights will be protected as per FMPOA.

Family members

Family members of UK citizens can also enjoy the same rights as set out in the FMPOA as long as they are residing lawfully with the UK citizen as per the aforementioned deadlines. Further to this, UK citizens can also be joined by their close family members at any point in the future if the relationship existed lawfully prior to the deadlines and still exists when they travel. New spouses or partners can join up to 5 years after the deadlines.

In case the above criteria are not met then those affected can expect that they will have to comply with much stricter rules. For example, employees not registered will be treated like any non-EU/EEA citizen and will have to file a work permit application. Cross border workers will have to have a minimum of 6 months of permanent residence in a neighbouring state and finally, family members will be treated as per the Swiss Federal Act on Foreigners and Integration.


Although a twelve month transition period will apply until 30 March 2020 – which will mean continued right of work and residence during that time - UK citizens and their non-EU/EEA family members will be required to apply for a national residence permit prior to 31 December 2019.

With regards to those UK citizens and non EU-EEA family members arriving after Brexit, it is likely that work and residence permit authorisation as third country nationals will be required.



Although it would need to be approved via vote, the Polish government has published a draft bill that confirms the right of work and residence of UK citizens legally residing in Poland prior to the cut off date of 29 March 2019.

The legal requirement that needs to be fulfilled in advance of this date is with regards to registration and actual receipt of the official registration certificate.

This document would be a mandatory part of an eventual temporary work permit application which would be required by the Polish government. Up until 31 March 2020, a transition period will apply during which UK citizens would be required to apply for the aforementioned temporary work permit, it would have a validity of three years.

UK citizens who reside in Poland and currently hold permanent residence under the EU rules would also have to submit an application for permanent residence during the transition period as third country nationals otherwise said status would be lost.


In the event of a no deal, the Swedish government has announced that it will apply a twelve month transition period starting on 30 March 2019. During this transition period, UK citizens and their non-EU/EEA family members will retain the right to work and reside in Sweden, but would be required to submit an application for a residence permit in the meantime.

For those meeting the criteria and with five years or longer of continuous residence as per 30 March 2020, a permanent residence permit application would apply. For those with less than the required duration of residence, they could apply for a special temporary permit which would be valid until the time they attain five years continuous residence. At that point they could then apply for permanent residence.

Going slightly further than other EU member states, the Swedish government has confirmed that even in the event of a no deal, UK citizens could register as EU nationals up until 30 March 2020.


How Does This Affect the Client? 

It is of the utmost importance for employers in these countries to ensure that those UK citizens and, if applicable, their non-EU/EEA family members, working for them comply with the regulations and make the necessary arrangements to complete mandatory actions - such a registration - prior to Brexit, to ensure continued right of work and residence. In some countries it may also be possible to make immigration applications in advance.






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