EU: Rights of European Workers in U.K. After Brexit Still Unclear

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By Andrea Barbara Schuessler

There is still a lot of uncertainty for employers and almost no progress after the fifth round of Brexit talks, Ulrich Buschermoehle, director with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Stuttgart, told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 12, adding that the rights of residence for foreigners and EU citizens in the U.K. after Brexit are still unclear.

Buschermoehle suggested that a bilateral social security agreement between Germany and the U.K. from 1960 could be reactivated after Brexit, something that would not work for many Eastern European countries, which do not have social security agreements with the U.K.

“I doubt that the U.K. will be treated like Switzerland, which is not in the EU but treated like an EU member in terms of social security,” Buschermoehle said.

‘Not There Yet'

“There are some advances regarding citizens' rights after Brexit, but as [chief EU negotiator Michel] Barnier said, we are not there yet,” Reinhard Hoenighaus, head of the press department at the European Commission's Berlin office, told Bloomberg BNA on the phone Oct. 12 after the fifth round of Brexit negotiations closed.

“Divergences still exist on the possibility of family reunification and on the exportation of social benefits after Brexit, both of which we want,” Barnier said in Brussels in an Oct. 12 statement directly after the fifth round of talks concluded.

“For us, for example, it is important that any European citizen living in the U.K. can—in 10 or 15 years' time—bring his/her parents to the U.K., as would be the case for British citizens living in the EU,” Barnier added. “In the same vain, an EU citizen who has worked for 20 years in the U.K. should be able to move to an EU member state and still benefit from his/her disability allowance, under the same conditions as British citizens in the EU.”

‘Nervous and Anxious'

The Brexit negotiations have not made progress, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, member of Germany's new Bundestag for the Free Democratic Party and currently still the European Parliament's vice president, told foreign journalists at the European Commission's Berlin office Oct. 12, adding that he is “nervous and anxious” that a “No-Brexit Deal” might be reached.

“We hope to reach a regulated exit and a succession plan,” Lambsdorff told foreign reporters.

Germany's National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds in consultation with the Labor Ministry has recommended that no A1 forms be issued for employment in the U.K. beyond March 29, 2017. The A-1 certifies that an employee posted abroad remains covered by the home country social security system and is not obligated to contribute to the host country's system.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Barbara Schuessler in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at

For More Information

More information on the Brexit negotiation process is available in English here.

For more information on European Union HR law and regulation, see the European Union primer. For more information on British HR law and regulation, see the U.K. primer.

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