Residence and work rules for United Kingdom nationals in Poland after Brexit
7 February 2020
Last days of 2020 saw the completion of the formal process of passing the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. After 47 years of membership, the United Kingdom formally ceased to be an EU Member State. With the actual advent of Brexit under the approved withdrawal agreement, the UK and the EU now enter a transition period. They now have at least until 31 December 2020 to negotiate a new agreement on their future mutual relationship.
- Residence of UK nationals in Poland
- Residence after the transition period
- Social security for UK nationals
Most importantly for UK nationals, the UK remains in the EU’s single market and customs union until the end of 2020. This allows free movement of capital, persons, and services. Given this, the residence and work rules for UK nationals coming to Poland after 1 February, and those who have been residing here for a longer time, do not change. UK nationals and their family members still have the same rights as EU citizens in Poland with respect to entry, residence, employment, and economic activity.
Zasady pobytu i pracy obywateli brytyjskich w Polsce po brexiciePolska wersja
Residence of UK nationals in Poland
Pursuant to provisions on the residence of EU citizens applicable in Poland, UK nationals and their family members who stay in Poland for longer than 90 days have to register with the Voivodeship Office competent for the place of their residence in Poland. This is significant in the context of their residence status after the transition period. The withdrawal agreement specifies that UK nationals have the right to continue living in EU Member States (including Poland), if they:
- continue to reside in an EU Member State (Poland) after the transition period;
- exercised their right to reside in an EU Member State in line with the law applicable in that state before the end of the transition period.
Furthermore, the withdrawal agreement stipulates that British citizens acquire the right of permanent residence in the given EU Member State if they have lived there legally for a continuous period of five years. This includes the time both before and after the transition period. The residence or permanent residence rights are confirmed with a document bearing an annotation that it was issued in accordance with the withdrawal agreement. Vice versa, EU citizens who begin their residence or reside in the United Kingdom before the end of the transition period enjoy the same rights.
Residence after the transition period
Since the withdrawal agreement was passed only in late January, and there have been uncertainties as to the process of UK’s departure from the EU, no Polish local laws have been adopted that would regulate the situation of UK nationals after the transition period and govern the procedures of obtaining local residence documents. Soon we can expect that legislative procedure will be started on provisions allowing UK nationals and family members to continue living in Poland and obtain relevant documents. The provisions adopted in March 2019 in the context of an impending no-deal Brexit do not come into force.
Since Poland has no relevant regulations implementing the withdrawal agreement, if UK nationals currently residing in Poland wish to retain their residence rights after the end of the transition period, they should register with the competent Voivodeship Office until 31 December 2020 if they have not done so. They should proceed with the registration as soon as possible, so that they have no problems with exercising the right to continue living in Poland. Statistical figures on residence registration of EU citizens in Poland presented by the Polish Office for Foreigners in January 2020 (at migracje.gov.pl) show that almost 6.2 thousand UK nationals have officially registered their residence in Poland as EU nationals, 930 of which have the right to permanent residence.
Social security for UK nationals
With respect to social security, the EU regulations relevant in that matter remain binding within the transition period, i.e. until 31 December 2020. These, in particular, include the Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2005 on the coordination of social security systems, and the Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems.
As a result, posted workers from Poland coming to the UK will still have to obtain A1 social security certificates, confirming that they pay social contributions in Poland. At the same time, workers posted from the United Kingdom will have to produce the A1 certificate, issued by the British authorities, to avoid having to pay contributions under the Polish system. The applicable provisions concerning treatment abroad (including EHICs and S1 certificates of entitlement to healthcare services in the UK/Poland) also remain in force.
What the state of affairs will be after 31 December 2020 depends on the negotiations between the EU and the UK, the agreements they conclude, and the potential bilateral agreements between Poland and the United Kingdom.