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 with minor changes for particularly affected citizens

The negotiations between the EU and the UK on a withdrawal agreement and a political declaration on the framework of the future relationship have ended. Following an extraordinary meeting of the European Council on 25 November 2018, it was clear that these texts had been accepted by both the EU side and the UK. Approval processes are now under way in the UK parliament and in the European Parliament. Part Two of the Withdrawal Agreement concerns citizens’ rights.

The agreement on the particularly affected 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 are also covered.

Under the agreement, citizens will retain the rights they enjoy today. 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.   

The agreement means that the text of the Withdrawal Agreement is to be adopted as directly applicable law in the UK and may be cited directly by EU citizens in UK courts.

An independent authority in the UK will be given the role of monitoring that the implementation and application of the citizens’ rights provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement are conducted properly. EU citizens in the UK will have the right to turn to this authority with complaints and the authority will have the right to bring a legal action before a UK court or tribunal with a view to seeking an adequate remedy.

EU citizens who wish to remain in the UK after the withdrawal are required to apply for a temporary or permanent residence permit. The UK is in the process of building up a system for registering EU citizens (the EU Settlement Scheme). Information material on the application process is available.

Equivalent preparations are under way in Sweden. Details about this will be provided by the government agencies responsible.

What happens in the event of a no-deal withdrawal?

The main scenario is an orderly withdrawal based on a withdrawal agreement. However, a no-deal withdrawal cannot be ruled out and contingency planning to handle such an eventuality therefore needs to be in place.

Handling the particularly affected citizens is a clear part of the contingency planning being conducted at the Government Offices, in close cooperation with the relevant government agencies.

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 given the conditions 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 its communication on contingency planning from 19 December 2018.

Implementing the Commission’s Contingency Action Plan, 19 December 2018

With regard to Swedish and other EU citizens living in the UK, the Swedish Government is following developments in the UK. The UK Government has made clear pledges on the rights of this group even after a no-deal withdrawal, most recently in a policy paper from 6 December 2018. 

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

The Government is assessing developments continuously and will in its communications with Swedish citizens and all actors in society provide the necessary information.

Regulatory amendments regarding citizens in the event of a no-deal withdrawal

Press release: Social protection following Brexit (25 February 2019)

Report: Proposals aiming to offer EU citizens continued entitlement to social security benefits after Brexit (1 February 2019)  

Article: Measures that facilitate for UK citizens in Sweden – time-limited regulation on an exemption from the requirement to hold residence and work permits for those UK citizens and their family members who lose their right to live and work in Sweden as a result of a no-deal Brexit (15 January 2019)