Impact on citizens
With regard to the free mobility of workers, after “hard Brexit” 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.
Free movement within the EU will no longer apply to entrepreneurs or self-employed persons from the UK.
UK citizens living in Finland must register before Brexit
In Finland, the no-deal Brexit will affect approximately 5,000 UK citizens living here. Under a special act approved by the President of the Republic on 29 March 2019, registered UK citizens’ right of residence in Finland will continue until 2020.
The special act shall apply to UK citizens (and their family members) who:
- arrived in Finland before the no-deal withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, and
- have registered their right of residence in Finland or submitted an application for such registration before the withdrawal.
UK citizens are now advised to register their right of residence with the Finnish Immigration Service as soon as possible, because UK citizens living in Finland who have registered their right of residence may continue to stay, live, work and study in Finland, and receive social security benefits until the end of 2020.
After the withdrawal, UK will become a so-called third country, and its citizens will become third-country nationals. After the withdrawal, any UK citizens in Finland will need a residence permit to live and work here, including those who lived in Finland before the withdrawal and did not register.
According to current information, UK will have till October to announce its intentions. Unless otherwise agreed, the new date of the withdrawal is 31 October 2019. There is time to register before the estimated withdrawal date. If the application for registration is denied, the applicant’s right of residence in Finland will cease once the decision is final.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit:
- To verify a UK citizen’s right to work as required by the Aliens Act, employers can ask employees to provide proof of the registration of their right of residence, if the person in question is a UK citizen who resided in Finland before the withdrawal date.
- If the person residing in Finland has not registered their right of residence before the withdrawal date, they will need a residence permit entitling to work or a residence permit for an entrepreneur.
Persons who enter the country after the withdrawal date will need a residence permit entitling to work or a residence permit for an entrepreneur.
Finnish Immigration Service: Brexit can happen 12 April at the earliest – registered UK citizens’ right of residence will be protected until the end of 2020 (29.3.2019)
Ministry of the Interior: Registered UK citizens’ right of residence will be protected until the end of 2020 (28.3.2019)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, in cooperation with the European Consumer Center, has developed an information package on consumer rights, particularly in case of a no-deal Brexit. A no-deal Brexit would in many ways affect the rights of consumers, especially in travel and online shopping. The information package also tells you who will help the consumer in the Brexit topics related to consumer rights.
Information is available on the website of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority
The UK will no longer be included in the EURES network for public employment services. The special act regarding the residence and right to work of UK citizens living in Finland will not affect their right of free movement, because it is only applicable in Finland. 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 can.