What does Brexit mean for the citizens who are particularly affected?


This page contains information on what Brexit will mean for particularly affected citizens, namely Swedish and other European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom and UK citizens living in Sweden or another EU Member State.

The main scenario is an orderly withdrawal based on the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement. However, in view of the ongoing approval process, there is a clear risk of a no-deal withdrawal, which is why contingency planning to handle such an eventuality needs to be in place.

Handling the particularly affected citizens is a clear part of the contingency planning for a no-deal withdrawal being conducted at the Government Offices, in close cooperation with the relevant government agencies.

What will a no-deal withdrawal mean for Swedish citizens resident in the United Kingdom?

For Swedish and other EU citizens resident in the UK, the terms will primarily be determined by decisions taken by the UK. The UK Government has made clear pledges on the rights of this group even after a no-deal withdrawal, including in a policy paper from 6 December. The Swedish Government is following developments closely.

Policy paper from the UK Government on citizens’ rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit, 6 December 2018

Efforts to make it easier for this group are also under way in Sweden. The coordination of social protection systems in the EU entitle certain Swedish citizens in the UK to a number of Swedish benefits. This includes child allowance, parental benefits and the guarantee pension. The Government is working on measures that, during a transition period, will allow the continued payment of these benefits to the group in question. Within the framework of these measures, it will also be possible to combine periods of work or residency in the UK and Sweden as the basis for an application for benefits. Moreover, it will be possible to receive compensation for costs for health care conducted in the UK.


What will a no-deal withdrawal mean for UK citizens resident in Sweden?

With regard to UK citizens living in Sweden with a right of residence under EU law, the Swedish Government’s preparations are directed at making it possible for these people to remain in Sweden on similar terms. Thus, directly after the withdrawal, these citizens would be able to continue to live and work in Sweden and have access to social security, health and medical care, and education. Such an approach is in line with the measures recommended by the European Commission.

In the EU, a modification of the Visa Regulation is being drawn up with the aim of granting UK citizens visa exemption for shorter visits to the Schengen area.

Changes to Swedish regulations to handle citizens’ rights in the event of a no-deal withdrawal

The Swedish legislative amendments being prepared that concern citizens are listed below under each responsible ministry.

Ministry of Justice

Measures to make things easier for UK citizens in Sweden in the event of a no-deal Brexit (in Swedish)

Ministry of Health and Social Affairs

Measures to mitigate the consequences to social security schemes – export of benefits and coverage of costs for health care conducted in the United Kingdom (in Swedish)

Potential to continue processing ongoing applications on the recognition of professional qualifications for some professions in the health and medical care sector (in Swedish)

Ministry of Education and Research

Exemption from provisions on application and tuition fees at higher education institutions for certain British citizens after Brexit

The right of UK citizens not registered in the population register to continue to attend Swedish schoos 

Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation

Temporary exemptions in the Driving Licence Ordinance concerning the validity of UK driving licences in Sweden (in Swedish)

European Commission’s fact sheet for citizens if no agreement is reached

Rights of EU citizens living in the UK if no agreement is reached

Rights of British citizens living in the EU if no agreement is reached

Travel between the EU and the UK if no agreement is reached

Studies and work experience in the UK if no agreement is reached

Consumer rights if no agreement is reached

The handling of citizens’ rights in the orderly scenario under the withdrawal agreement

If the UK leaves the EU on the basis of the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, which is currently subject to approval processes, citizens’ rights will be regulated by the provisions contained in the agreement.

The Withdrawal Agreement’s chapter on citizens means that their situation changes very little. The agreement covers all of the issues that concern citizens in their everyday lives, i.e. residence rights and social security benefits, such as social insurance, health and medical care, pensions, unemployment insurance, student grants and various forms of family benefits. Recognition of certificates of education and other professional qualifications is also covered.

Under the agreement, Swedish and other EU citizens can continue to live, work, study and retire in the UK. Even those who have recently moved to the UK are covered, as well as those who move there before the end of 2020, when the transition period is due to end. Equivalent provisions apply to UK citizens in Sweden.