Exit of the United Kingdom from the EU and its Impact on the Employment of British Citizens in the Czech Republic and Social Security of People Moving between the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom

On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (hereinafter referred to as the "UK") left the European Union (hereinafter referred to as the "EU") under the conditions agreed to in the so-called Withdrawal Agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2020. The Agreement ensures that persons defined in the personal scope of the agreement will be granted the right of residence, access to the labour market and social security until the end of their life (subject to certain conditions).

The Withdrawal Agreement distinguishes between the end of the transitional period, i.e. 31 December 2020, when both parties to the agreement (EU and UK) fully apply EU law, and the period from 1 January 2021, when there will be no free movement of persons (workers) between the UK and the EU, but residence, labour and social security rights, which were established before the end of the transitional period, are maintained.

The key for whether you, as a British citizen, retain your rights is whether you or your family members can prove your residence or employment in the Czech Republic before the end of 2020 (i.e. before the end of the transitional period). A detailed explanation of the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement can be found HERE (524.24 kB).

Before the end of 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom managed to conclude a new agreement that regulating relations between them in the future. This agreement is called the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and it was also agreed that it would be applicable from 1 January 2021.

Unlike the Withdrawal Agreement, which has the same scope of application as the coordination regulations, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not apply to EEA states, Switzerland and also to the terrritory of Gibraltar.

The new Agreement does not regulate the conditions of accessing the labour market. This means that British citizens who want to start working in the Czech Republic from 1 January 2021 will have to obtain a certain form of work permit, just like citizens of other third countries. The same will apply to Czech citizens entering the British labour market.

The new Trade and Cooperation Agreement only conditions for certain forms of labour mobility for business purposes, namely:

  • allows the transfer of employees from EU / UK based companies to work in an associated company based in the UK / EU for a maximum of 3 years (so-called intra-corporate transferees).
  • facilitates the movement of "contractors" or "independent experts"
  • allows for so-called "business visits", which do not provide services, entry, short stay and the performance of a specific activity.

Although the Agreement on Trade and Cooperation leaves the conditions for access the labour market of both parties up to national legislation, it lays down detailed rules for the coordination of social security.

The Agreement provides for access to social security for all persons who have been or are subject to the legislation of the contracting parties. At the same time, the Agreement applies only to persons in the so-called cross-border situation, i.e. a situation that includes both one or more EU Member State on the one hand and the UK on the other. Persons whose situation is limited in all respects to only one party to the Agreement, shall not be subject to the provisions of the Agreement.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement regulates access to the following benefit systems:

  1. sickness benefits;
  2. maternity benefits and equivalent paternity benefits;
  3. invalidity benefits;
  4. old-age and survivors' benefits;
  5.  benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases;
  6. death grants;
  7. unemployment benefits;
  8. pre-retirement benefits.

Family benefits, long-term care benefits and some other benefits are explicitly excluded from the scope of the Agreement. This means that access to them will be governed exclusively by the national legislations of both parties, not by the Agreement.

The Agreement also sets out further principles in the approach to social security:

  1. determining only one state (one party to the Agreement) where the person will be insured, i.e. exclusion of concurrent insurance in more than one state.
  2. the principle of equal treatment irrespective of the nationality of the person
  3. aggregation of insurance / employment / residence periods
  4. export of benefits

The entry into force of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not mean that the Withdrawal Agreement will cease to apply. In the field of mobility of persons and coordination of social security, the two agreements operate side by side, but each with a different personal and material scope.

More information, not only on these issues but also on maintaining the social security entitlements of Czech citizens returning from the UK, can be found under Frequently Asked Questions.

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Poslední aktualizace: 28. 6. 2021