This content was published in the period between 21 January 2019 and 8 July 2021
Right of UK nationals to continue living and working in Sweden under the Withdrawal Agreement
Here you find more information about the right of UK nationals to continue living and working in Sweden under the Withdrawal Agreement.
The withdrawal begins with a transition period
The UK left the EU on 1 February, but up to and including 31 December 2020 a transition period applies when EU law still applies to the UK. This means that the situation for UK nationals living in Sweden will not change during this period. Up to 31 December, they will thus be able to continue to work and live here, and enjoy their right to freedom of movement within the EU in the same way as before.
It is envisioned that at the end of transition period, the future partnership between the EU and the UK will take effect. Negotiations on the future partnership are currently ongoing. The transition period may be extended if the parties agree, but not beyond 2022.
Following the transition period, the special provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement on citizens’ rights will apply
The right of all EU citizens and their family members to live, work or study in other EU Member States is one of the cornerstones of the EU, and many EU citizens and UK nationals have made their life choices based on this right to freedom of movement. Protecting these people’s life choices was an important priority during the negotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement therefore contains special provisions that protect the rights of citizens who have taken advantage of their right to freedom of movement within the EU.
These special provisions to protect the affected citizens will come into effect after the transition period. In Sweden this means, in brief, that UK nationals who have taken advantage of their right to freedom of movement within the EU to move to Sweden before the end of the transition period will have the right to continue living and working here, essentially on the same terms that applied to them while they were still EU citizens.
Therefore, this not only concerns those who were living in Sweden at the time of the actual withdrawal, but also those who come to Sweden during the transition period.
The Government proposes that UK nationals must apply for a new residence status
The Government presented a bill to the Riksdag containing proposals for provisions that supplement the Withdrawal Agreement in Sweden with regard to the right of UK nationals to continue living and working in Sweden. The proposals mean that, among other things, UK nationals and their family members living in Sweden at the end of the transition period, and who want to continue living here, must apply for a new residence status in accordance with Article 18(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement. Residence status confers the rights included in the Withdrawal Agreement.
Residence status will be granted to UK nationals and their family members who at the end of the transition period are living in Sweden under the terms for freedom of movement that apply within the EU. It is not necessary for applicants to actually be present in Sweden exactly at the end of the transition period. Temporary absence that does not affect right of residence is permitted.
A person who is granted residence status will have the right to live and work in Sweden on essentially the same terms that apply to an EU citizen. These terms mean, in brief, that the person in question must:
- be employed or self-employed;
- have sufficient assets and sickness insurance;
- be a family member to another person who meets the requirements; or
- have received right of residence (i.e. have legally lived in Sweden for more than five years, therefore no longer needing to meet any requirements).
A person with residence status who has legally lived in Sweden for five years will, just like an EU citizen, have permanent right of residence here. A person who has received permanent right of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement can only lose it if he or she is absent from Sweden for more than five years.
The Swedish Migration Agency is proposed to be the agency responsible for making decisions concerning residence status. In the ministry memorandum ‘Supplementary provisions to the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union concerning citizens’ rights’ (Ds 2020:5) it is proposed that those affected should apply for a new residence status within 10 months.
An equivalent system is in place for Swedes and other EU citizens residing in the UK.
UK nationals who come to Sweden after the transition period
Unless otherwise decided during the negotiations between the EU and UK, any UK nationals who want to move to Sweden after the transition period will have to apply for a residence permit here in the same way and on the same terms as other people who are not EU citizens.