Impact of the end of the transition period on citizens

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the UK) withdrew from the EU on 31 January 2020. The withdrawal agreement provides for a transition period, which will end on 31 December 2020. As a result, freedom of movement in the EU, which the withdrawal agreement has provided for until the end of the transition period, will also end. At the same time, the freedom to provide services in the EU and the related temporary posting of workers to Finland will also end.

The withdrawal agreement lays down the rights of citizens. UK citizens and their family members, irrespective of their nationality, who reside in Finland before the end of the transition period and continue to reside in Finland thereafter, can apply for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, in which case the rights will be determined according to the provisions of the withdrawal agreement. For information in more detail, see the website of the Prime Minister’s Office.

With regard to the free mobility of workers, after the end of the transition period UK citizens will become third-country nationals, which means that the EU’s legal basis concerning free movement will no longer be applicable; instead, their residence, right to work and equal treatment will be subject to the EU’s immigration directives and national legislation.

The free movement of UK entrepreneurs or self-employed people within the EU will also end.

UK citizens living in Finland must apply for a right of residence

The end of the transition period will affect approximately 5,000 UK citizens living in Finland. The withdrawal agreement guarantees their rights as long as they apply for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement. The provisions on the procedure and time limit for applying for the right of residence are laid down in the Act on implementation of certain provisions concerning residence rights under the withdrawal agreement of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (666/2020), which entered into force on 1 October 2020.

The Act lays down that:

  • the right of residence based on Union law will be replaced by an application to the Finnish Immigration Service for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, and
  • the application for the right of residence must be submitted by 30 September 2021.

UK citizens are requested to apply for the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement at the Finnish Immigration Service no later than 30 September 2021. Once the right of residence has been changed, it will last for a lifetime. A residence permit, which must be renewed every five years, will be issued as proof of the right of residence. With the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement, UK citizens in Finland can continue to stay, reside, work and study and claim social security benefits in Finland. They will be treated equally in the labour market and in employment services.

After the transition period, the UK will become a full third country and freedom of movement will no longer apply. UK citizens will be third-country nationals. UK citizens who arrive in Finland after the transition period will need a residence permit if they wish to live and work in Finland, and those wishing to engage in business activities will need a residence permit for entrepreneurs.

Key points for employers

  • An employer may request a holder of the right of residence under the withdrawal agreement to present the residence permit card that includes an indication of the withdrawal agreement.
  • If an employer wants to ensure a UK citizen has the right to work under the Aliens Act, he or she may request the UK citizen to provide an account of the residence permit on which the right to work is based.

More information:

Finnish Immigration Service: About Brexit

Ministry of the Interior: Consequences of Brexit in the Ministry of the Interior’s administrative branch

Consumer matters

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority has produced, in cooperation with the European Consumer Centre, an information package on consumer rights, in particular with regard to a no-deal Brexit. A no-deal Brexit would affect consumer rights in many ways, especially in relation to travel and online purchases. The information package also explains where consumers can find help in questions related to their rights and Brexit.

The information package is available on the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority’s website. 

EURES

The UK will no longer be included in the EURES network for public employment services. Under a separate Act, UK citizens living in Finland retain the right to work and enjoy equal treatment in the labour market and in employment services while they reside in Finland. However, freedom of movement between the EU countries will no longer apply to them. 

UK citizens residing legally in Finland can use the services of EURES network in Finland in the same way as any other third-country nationals.

EURES – The European Job Mobility Portal