Four questions about BrexitErika
Brexit is about to come into effect. The United Kingdom will exit the European Union on January 31, 2020, with a transition period lasting until December 31.
This means that the EU’s so-called “Four Freedoms” – free movement of capital, goods and people and the freedom to establish and provide services – will be impacted by the United Kingdom’s decision to end a relationship of over forty years.
Is Spain ready for Brexit?
The Spanish government has designed contingency plans in case of a so-called hard Brexit, that is, if there is no fundamental agreement between the parties. With Law 5/2019 of March 15, the government seeks to protect the interests of citizens and businesses, by looking to EU treaties on free movement.
The Law focuses on aspects such as health care, professional activity, residency, Social Security and education, according to the principles of seasonality and reciprocity.
It also covers issues regarding economic operators such as customs, financial services or public procurement. However, the impact Brexit will have on citizens and businesses is unpredictable and dependant upon each sector or activity.
During the transitional period, from March 30, 2019 to December 31, 2020, free movement of EU citizens will be retained, in accordance with EC legislation.
In the event that agreement is not reached, there will be no transition period. That would mean that, as of March 29, movement of EU citizens to the United Kingdom, and of British citizens within the EU, would be affected. This situation would also affect students and border workers.
EU citizens with legal residence in the United Kingdom could continue to work or study, accessing the benefits and services of the host country, as before. However, they will have to apply to the British authorities before December 31, 2020 to formalize their status. The new immigration system will be implemented as of January 1, 2021.
What effect will Brexit have on the validation of professional qualifications?
Recognition of education, regulated studies or professional experience with formal titles or certificates, will be based on national regulations and conditions. That is, they will no longer be applicable to Spanish residents in the United Kingdom or to British citizens in the EU legal system.
How will Brexit affect Social Security coverage?
The agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU reflects the continuity of current EU Social Security regulations. That is:
- Health care for Spaniards in the United Kingdom will be the same as for Britons within the EU.
- Spanish students who also work in the United Kingdom can make contributions there and have the right to claim corresponding benefits.
- If, after studying in the United Kingdom, citizens remain in the UK for employment, future retirement will entitle them to a British pension in accordance with local law.
For Spain and the rest of the EU, Brexit means a change in relations that implies important regulatory changes. Complex times are coming in economic, commercial and citizenship affairs.
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